Monday, April 30, 2012

Game Consolidation

Game Consolidation

Duck, duck, goose, heads down
on desks, lights off. Games
need the dark, a blindfold,
fingers over closed eyelids.
Sit in blue plastic chairs,
hold your neighbors’ hands,
wait to feel if you get tapped
on the scalp or neck or arm.
The stray rubber ball that
slaps your calf signals you
are out, but do not leave. 
From across the room,
a woman shouts, Never have
I ever left this country,

drink if you have, from
the dixie cup in the upper
righthand corner of your desk.
Keep asking questions of
your neighbors about who
you are, yes or no questions.
No, you are not a famous athlete.
No, you are not a politician.
Yes, you know your own name.
The room is not encased in
a giant beach ball, but the
ceiling is a parachute. Around
the periphery, hands clutching
the edge, tugging, One, two,
three, pull!
You feel the room
sliding forward, but don’t let go.

Friday, April 27, 2012

On Creativity (featuring Meghan Willis, TsuruBride)

States of Undress No. 3
I met Meghan Willis through a mutual friend who lives in Vancouver (hi, Louisa!)--one of those, “Wow, the world is teeny-tiny” moments. I feel fortunate to know of her work, which she often creates under the name Tsurubride. Meghan is a Columbus-based textile artist. I’ve been obsessed with one of her recent bodies (ha! get it?) of work, States of Undress. Her art is both delicate and bad-ass (I mean, she gives us embroidered nudes--and sometimes includes skeletons), ladylike and rebellious. Her pieces remind me of subversive pin-ups or stills from a screen test--the women in her pieces dare you to look at them, and enjoy being watched. 

Q: States of Undress plays with images of the female body, anatomy, and clothing (that is often being removed); what I like best about this series is that you explore these ideas with embroidery. What inspires you about the body (especially female), about stitching on clothing that is coming off? Where did this series begin, and how has it developed for you? How do your materials factor in?

A: I’ve always been more drawn to the female form than the male form, artistically-speaking. I went to school for fashion design, focusing primarily on women's wear, so drawing women is very natural to me. I love the curves: sensual and sinuous. The clothing also goes hand-in-hand with my background. Instead of just nudes, I like how they add a playfulness to the images, making a celebration of the women.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Traveling Light

Traveling Light

How little can I bring
with me, that is a game
I enjoy. Not nothing
but very few things
is the goal. Begin with
time and a bag. A week
or less, and it’ll be a tote,
just a carry-on and a purse.
I make a deal with myself
that I will wear what is
packed. Two pairs of shoes,
two dresses, two pairs
of pants, and shirts that
hold their stomachs in
when I flatten them.
I like to bring one thing
that I can throw away
before returning.
If I forget one item,
how might I adapt.
I want to surprise
myself. At home,
abundance, options,
twenty dresses, purple,
black, red, blue, neon
floral tights. But for
travel, scarcity. I am
leaving room. I am
willing away all that
I do not need.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Division of Labor

Division of Labor

Think of the last time your brain
handed over the car keys to your body,

Here, you steer. Where did your
mind go, a city with an ocean where

the air should be, an empty bridge.
When your mind returned, where had

your body taken you. Don’t blame
your hands. They can’t think, even if

they can drive. What other logic
could you will away, then. Try this one:

while driving, imagine that you
don’t know where your car is. Where did

I park, ask yourself that, and see
if you don’t provoke a few anxiety-birds

to shoot into the air, screeching.
The next experiment: imagine you are

alongside those birds, looking
down from the tree branches at your car,

you can see the gray roof, and
the dusty windshield, and through that,

the driver of the car, sunglasses,
a face. Yours. Watch yourself for a bit,

observe from a distance. Keep
driving. Put the operation of the vehicle

in the “Body Functions and
Operations” task list. You have places to be.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Two Shopping Carts

Two Shopping Carts

In the freezer aisle,
flanked by broccoli

and waffle fries, two
shopping carts. The one

near the vegetables
holds Roma tomatoes, 

lemons, dark roast
ground coffee, brownie

mix, peanut butter,
wheat bread, paper towels.

The other has only
eggs, vanilla cupcakes

from the bakery, and
frozen peas. A purse

sits in the fuller cart,
near the handle, where

a baby could go. As we
approach the carts,

the bulbs in the cases
on either side of us

stir, cough up light
one case at a time,

like a sidewalk that
responds to feet by

glowing where we
step. In a big country,

dreams stay with you,

the song is “In a Big

Country” and the band
is called Big Country.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012



The stick and pink petals and
fallen needles that rain can’t reach

and owl that drops from a branch
and drifts, like a hang glider

within his own body. All of these
are the tree. Plus the hardwood

flooring in your old apartment
that you gouged with a nail

from the base of your old dresser.
And the evergreen seedling

you carried home from school
on Earth Day, damp paper towel

cupping its roots like a diaper.
You planted it near the other

evergreens, already full-grown,
taller than the houses on the block.

In your mind, each one is the baby
you held, is the sail of a pirate

ship, with a rotating sprinkler
tied on with rope for the wheel.

The tree is what grows beside
the house you lived in until you

were twelve. It has not known the
top of your head for decades.

Monday, April 16, 2012



Light is shone through you,
and from the shadow and
light that leaks out, another
human is formed. Or you
spring from what they are
missing, your body and
talents are their shadow. This
is an efficient way to create
life, variation begetting
motion and an idea in you
that there is a thing out there
you have been made to
find. You might encounter
each other while you live.
What I am good at will fix
, you will say, keep
saying, even when the grip
with which you fit together
causes fractures, bone spurs.

Friday, April 13, 2012

On Creativity (featuring YOU)

Art by the wonderful Macha Suzuki (via Sam Lee Gallery). For more of Macha's work:

Pardon me; may I please borrow your brain?

I’m currently developing ideas for a series of creativity workshops. I’ve been thinking recently about the relationship between fear and creativity. To that end, I wanted to invite you to answer a couple of questions, in the comments below.

As an artist, writer, or creative thinker, what are your fears? Do your fears inhibit your work, or are they useful to you? What allows you to overcome nervousness, worry, embarrassment, or fear in order to create?

(My answers can be found here and here and here [this poem was initially inspired by the beautiful piece above]).
The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.