I told my boss I was taking the day off to rest and regroup. Ask anyone who’s had the pleasure of socializing with me this week. They will tell you that a) I was not a pleasure, and b) I needed to rest and regroup.
Last night was craft night. We were making fascinators to wear to Veronica’s wedding. As a creative person, I know that you can no more force creative productivity when the moment is wrong, than avoid it when an idea takes hold of you. Last night, the moment was wrong. My parting words from craft night were something like “I HATE FASCINATORS AND I HATE FEATHERS AND I HATE POSH SPICE.” I don’t usually type in all caps, because it’s rude. But that’s exactly how it came out. I owe some people some bottles of wine this weekend.
It’s been like this all week. I wrote an angry rant earlier in the week, after I went to a Nasher event at Fullsteam. It was a screening of old 8mm films about women in the workplace, and the objectification of women in advertising. They were fascinating. My response veered wildly between “Woah, did people ever say things like that out loud?” to “Hmm, is that why there are men in my industry who have known me for 18 months and still won’t look directly at me?” The thought bubbles were particularly telling.
It was a pretty good rant I wrote, especially after some creepy guy told me to “Smile, darlin’!” at a sidewalk table at Morning Times. He’s lucky to have departed that exchange upright, considering I was two days past my patience at that point in the week. Luckily, I had the wisdom to table that rant for a day or two, then hit “delete.” Thank you, eight hours of sleep. When you’re angry enough to be yelling at your hand sandwich, it’s always better to choose “save draft” over “publish.” Poor hand sandwich. It was a really good one, with beer jelly, from Will and Pop’s. It was a good listener. And possibly the highlight of my Tuesday.
Anyway. After yelling at my fascinator last night, I realized that I was frazzled, to the point of being fragile. (Craft Anger was not my first clue.) So today I got up, took the day off, and had accomplished more by 10 am than I had in the last several days. Dishes washed, laundry folded, packing done, correspondence corresponded, I went to the NCMA. They were having a free day at the Rembrandt exhibit. Go, please go, to the Rembrandt exhibit. It’s worth it.
I thought for a minute I was going to get all teary-eyed, because bam, they start you off with the self-portrait, where he’s got that wise, beautiful, good-times-and-bad-times face, and it’s like you’re seeing into his soul. It’s arresting. See if it doesn’t hit you like a ton of bricks. The rest of the exhibit backs you up and walks you through his artistic development, with all of those gothic-lit, deeply human portraits. There’s a lot of talk about which works are the master himself, which are his circle, which are his followers, and so on. Once you see them side by side, it’s pretty obvious which ones are truly his.
Leaving the exhibit, which I loved, I was guided to another exhibit which I loved even more. It’s a series of self-portraits, inspired by Rembrandt’s style, all created and curated by college students. Some are haunting, some are a little tongue-in-cheek, and all of them give you a window into someone else’s experience. That might keep me thinking longer than anything else I saw today. I’d love to hear what you think.
And so: frayed nerves, a little soothed by masterpieces and coffee and autumn leaves and down time, and the prospect of celebrations and good friends ahead. There’s plenty more fall fun to be had, y’all. I plan to slow down, rest up, and enjoy it.