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2012 Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon, United States
The heart of a printmaker
I made the determination to go to last night’s print-your-own-Valentine party at Atelier Meridian. I didn’t realize where the place is exactly, and there’s a bit of sadness that it turns out to be in the neighborhood I’ve come to think of as belonging to the person I was hoping was going to be my Valentine. But I set the bit of sadness aside. “Deep inside me,” I kept telling people at the gathering, “there beats the heart of a printmaker.”
My first monotype couldn’t have been more encouraging. I stayed away from the heart motif, letting something stranger inspire me. I shared a station with a friend, and we chose many of the same colors, though she had been thinking of what she was going to do for days, and I for two hours. She went for representational, and I for abstract.
I let the color guide me, taking such delight in it that I couldn’t resist putting my fingertips all over my freshly-inked plate. I didn’t have an urge to lick the ink, but that could still happen. First I mixed pink and gold inks for the background, and next, starting at the bottom, I began to remove that background in quick, short motions with a little piece of matte board. Finally I added a darker red and a transparent blue as I began to think of the image as fire. (Someone else thought of it as fish, and I was reminded of poetry critique groups and how people were always finding wonderful stuff in my poems I could swear I hadn't put there.) I was stunned by how little time the inking took and how clear it was to me when I was finished with that stage, and ready to print. I wasn’t stunned by how beautifully it turned out. I may have gotten lucky. Or I may have good printer’s intuition. I printed a first impression so glorious I didn't want to let it out of my sight, and a four-times-through-the-press ghost (my new printer's word for a second impression made with ink left over after the first impression) that wants embellishing. My friend suggested sewing. Silk thread, I'm thinking. Silken fish.

2011 Phsar Dey Hoy, Siem Reap, Cambodia
I think there was a gecko in my dream, think we startled each other when we found each other closer than expected. Back in the waking world, there was a tiny dark lizard on the mat by the door that I shook out yesterday. This morning, there’s a long black beetle in the kitchen. I haven’t seen the scary spider in days. Dare I hope it found its way out?
If you're crazy and you know it
A few weeks ago three visitors to my class taught the students "If you're happy and you know it." Yesterday, another visitor expanded the song to include angry (stomp your foot) and sad (cry boo hoo), then the students made their own modifications: crazy (turn around) and hungry (rub your stomach). They wanted to keep singing, so we taught them "Kookaburra," "Give Peace a Chance," and "All You Need is Love." It must have been the topic of love that inspired them to sing a song in Khmer, which led to raucous giggles. Asked to explain what the song was about, one of them gave it her best - "a boy and a girl and a flower" - before she doubled over laughing.

2010 Banglamphu, Krung Thep (aka Bangkok), Thailand
I’m feeling pretty crummy. I guess this is the beginning of grief, and I wonder if grief over a disappearance is a very different thing from grief with the details included. I’ve been known to disappear, but usually immediately after someone did something they might conjecture I was uncomfortable with, not following a message like his last, “Meet you in Delhi. It’s a date.” But it has been three weeks since that message. I may have known him only as a voice on the phone, an email address, and a Facebook page, but I thought of him as one of the threads in the fabric of my context, probably well after that ceased to be true. I didn’t expect this of him, whatever this is.
Notes from underground
In a dream I suddenly remembered, I was travelling with several other women. I didn't know if I had all my luggage, and I wasn't sure when the plane left. One of my companions was carrying my backpack, and I was wondering if I’d packed everything into it, or if there was still another missing piece. I remember fuzzy spheres similar to the ones I’ve seen occasionally on bags here, but larger. I liked them, wondered where the owner had got them, found out it was a faraway place, difficult to get to. Finally, there was motorized equipment in confusion in front of and below me, as if I were on a loading dock, and someone was wheeling away my piece of equipment by mistake. I called out to him - or someone else did - and we got the items sorted out. My dreams reflect the confusion and uncertainty I feel in my waking life now, yet they also remind me of my creativity, which will surely see me through this.

2009 Tarnow, Poland
I not only cleaned up the back room yesterday, I sewed the hem on my dear old black velveteen jumper. Now I’ll get some purple thread and do the same with my new purple corduroy jumper, while it’s still chilly enough to wear it. It was actually fun, the way I find a lot of things I procrastinate are, when I finally get around to them.

all rights reserved Josephine Bridges ©2012-2013