Make Believe

Happy Halloween, my pets. I'm clicking away at my keyboard with shiny red finger nails painted specially for the '60s housewife get up I sported on Friday. Black lace cocktail dress that belonged to my great grandmother and somehow fits me perfectly, with a curved neckline resting just beneath my collar bones, a high waist, and a layer of lace falling at my knee. Paired with a last-minute tailor-made plaid apron courtesy of my mom, black peep toe pumps (pain included), fake cigarette, luxurious feather duster, and of course, pearls. It came together deliciously and cost me a grand total of $13.
Dressing up is fun isn't it? Marching around in something that makes you feel like a million bucks but would never fly on a regular day. I secretly loved holding that cigarette -- so real yet without the poison -- bringing it to my lips and inhaling the make-believe. Filling my lungs with pretend. Meeting people at a Halloween party is sort of unlike any other social dynamic. You don't know what anybody is truly like in real life. They don't know what you're like. 

In a way I feel like I'm currently trying to put my life together the way I put a Halloween costume together. The image I have of myself living in San Francisco is so constructed that it's almost unrecognizable. I have this idea and to make it real I need a number of garments and accessories: a job, an apartment, a bicycle, maybe an iPhone, and Etsy shop, a favorite coffee spot. The costume is me living the life I want to live in the city I want to live in. It's like many Halloween costumes in that the idea is the easy part; you get all excited like "Yeah! It'll be brilliant!" and then realize you don't know how to make, say, a Marge Simpson wig or a Ghostbusters proton pack. The idea dissolves and you go with something you already have.

My friend Anne once told me to start acting and looking like the person I want to become, and eventually I'll just find my way there. Eventually it will no longer be a costume, but real. This is how we build our identity over time, isn't it? Some of it is organic, and some of it, calculated down to every detail. Down to fake cigarettes and red nail polish. At first it feels like you're playing dress-up, and then it becomes so comfortable and familiar you can't remember being any other way.

While I already have one element of my costume -- the job -- after a month I still feel like even that is somehow pretend, like I'm faking it or something. I walk through the Financial District every day and while I love it -- the industriousness of it all, looking up every block or so to where the buildings meet the sky -- I somehow feel like I don't belong, like it's a secret club and people notice me on the streets and think, what is she doing here?

Actually, though, building a new life for yourself is like a Halloween party also in that you really can be whoever the hell you want to be. It might take time, creativity, and 20,000 email responses to Craigslist room-for-rent ads, but in the end the costume is yours to wear. And if you really want, you can be something different every year. The people you meet may not know it, but you'll still just be you, whatever that is.



I'll tell you what, folks. The problem with my current situation is that I get up at 5:30am to commute to work, and by the time I get home in the evenings I have about 2 hours before I want to be in bed! Free time currently goes to (drum roll please): sifting through sales racks to boost my very meager business casual wardrobe, emailing people on Craigslist about rooms for rent, and blogging. Oh, wait.. no. Clearly not blogging, say the only two other posts from October almost over. Woe, guilt, etcetera.

But as it happened last night, some of my free time went to attending a super awesome cooler than I'll ever be monthly art event at the 111 Minna Gallery in downtown San Francisco. A good friend finally managed to get me to a Sketch Tuesday which is basically a bunch of established and emerging local artists sitting in a stylish urban space and making art while the rest of us stand around, drink cheap drinks from the full bar, and listen to the DJ spin tunes. THEN when an artist finishes something they'd been working on, they walk over with the piece and a piece of tape, and slap it up on a big wall with their name and a price (which ranged from one PBR to $45, though the max is supposed to be $30).

Anyway, I bought something that I love but cannot show you because it is waiting here in my lair (lair?) as an intended Christmas gift for one of my (many) readers, to remain unnamed. But when I bought it from the quiet fellow with glasses working away at his spot at the table, he revealed to me that he was this person:
Well, not that actual squid man on the escalator, but Josh Ellingston, the artist who illustrated this and two other fantastic scenes that are currently up in many of the BART stations around the Bay Area as BART's featured artist for 2010. I'd been seeing these for months and then lo and behold! I'm handing the guy $20 for something he'd just made with googly eyes. And he was so nice and you should totally go to his website and admire his work.

Another fave from the night was Mia Christopher. How quirky and charming is her style?! Check out her Etsy shop here. Watching her color in those tiny shapes with such precision was a delight.
And we were all ogling the work of Annie Galvin from 3 Fish Studios.
Couldn't you just cry? These postcards are similar to the absolutely lovely little pieces she was making last night. I didn't buy one, but I will be dreaming of them until I do. Especially the bottom left, and bottom right.. well, all of them. OH, oh.

I hope you also get to do something cool with your free time this week. In fact, it's almost over! Nice to see you, Thursday.


Swell Giveaway!

Anyone interested in a little Monday inspiration? Check out this awesome giveaway and interview with DIY star on Living the Swell Life! The artist/designer hails from Paper + Twine, and I don't know about you guys, but I'd love me one of these darling little notebooks.


All Aboard the Pubic Express

OK, I'm going to ask you to do something. Please scroll down and read the first sentence of the post preceding this one. Now, read this short email that I got from my mother today:
Have you ever been sitting on pubic transit...?!

You might want to take a different train!

Love, Mom
Folks, I consider myself a careful writer. Blog posts, emails, essays, tombstone inscriptions, whatever it is, I check it twice. I proofread diligently and yet somehow I managed to let "pubic transit" slip by me. PUBIC TRANSIT! Now, I realize most people probably wouldn't get their panties in a twist over something like this, but I live off catching other people's mistakes. (Well, I don't actually live off it because no one will pay me to be a copy editor, but you get the idea.) I can't very well go around telling everyone how they've erred if I can't get sentence #1 right.

Normally, when a mistake becomes apparent to me after a post has been published, I slyly make the edit, re-publish, and pretend nothing ever happened (kind of like when you accidentally let one go in front of your friends, cough conspicuously, and hope they mistook it for street noise). But this cannot be ignored. I mean, pubic transit. How many of you noticed that?! I am simply mortified, imagining you all throwing your heads back in the wicked cackle of a schoolyard bully. Me, my little baby blog with it's nice wood paneling and regrettably corny title, the laughing stock of the blogging community!

Of course it's a vain and lonely enterprise, writing a blog. People may have noticed my typo and laughed -- or, worse yet, hardly anyone has even read it. I am reminded of something my favorite blogger, Petunia Face, wrote in a post from the beginnings of her blog, which has since become the favorite and delight of many adoring readers.
"Blogging is a bit like going to a cocktail party where you don’t know anyone. You hang up your coat and stand there feeling a bit naked, hoping your dress is the correct attire. Nobody hands you a drink at first, there are no appetizers and you don’t really know what to do with your hands. All around people are laughing at other people’s stories. You feel fringe.
So you just open your mouth and start talking to the air. It feels funny at first, speaking into a void. You tell your stories and maybe someone smiles at you. Hands you a drink. A plate of bite-sized mushroom quiche even though you hate mushrooms so you just nibble around the edges to be polite. You keep talking and suddenly someone laughs. Someone else talks back. Introduces you to her friend. And suddenly you are not alone anymore, your words floating up into nothing. They are heard. You are heard."
Again, you may say the typo is no big deal, but if blogging is like a cocktail party, then such a mistake is like having a booger peeking around the corner of my nostril. Like having spinach in my teeth all night long, or walking out of the bathroom with my skirt tucked into my thong. Like any number of awful things when all you really want is for them to like you. When all you really want is to be heard.  And we all know that no one's gonna keep talking to the girl with a booger hanging out of her nose.

So readers, I hereby invite you to laugh with me (and please, not at me). The pube train is now leaving the station -- on or off?