Power Me

One week, recently, I shook hands with myself over my life in the studio.  Or maybe it was with the devil.  I was behind on deadlines and overwhelmed with what felt like a mountain of video editing in front of me.  

On a Wednesday morning, in the middle of working, I lost power.  I checked breakers and all that, but mostly, I kept going to the light switch,  flipping it over and over, staring into a bulb overhead, hoping that with one of these flips it would blind me, even if only momentarily.  Nothing.  I went running into the street crying, "Where is the power?"  I went to the gas station next door and their power was out, too.  They had called the power company who guessed it was a squirrel nesting and didn't know when power would be back up. 

I called people for distraction.  B suggested that I take a walk.  I flipped the dead switch a few more times then took a walk.  Then, I played with the rabbit until he grew bored of me.  (Which is pretty quick.)  Then, I ran errands. At a demolition site, I almost bought a massive, 15 foot tall sign shaped like a bowling pin with neon letters that read "BOWL" down the face.  I would need a crane to move it, I thought.  And where would I put it?  It's as tall or taller than my house.  Would I plug it in?  More likely, it would sit like a dinosaur bone in my yard.  The whole day I was struck with how dependent I am on energy for my work, now.  I know 'we' are culturally, but when I left grad school at UW, my creative agenda was directly opposed to this dilemma.  I made everything with my hands.  I barely even used a tool beyond my hands.  In fact, I made tools with my hands to use.  I felt more free.  Should I take up knitting or weaving professionally?  I'm not that great at either, but heck, I'm no virtuoso computer queen either.  Start felting and papermaking again?  How can I fix this?

Well, yeah, I recovered.  The power kicked back on at almost 4:00 that afternoon.  And the minor identity crisis began to fade.  I began to see the power outage as a gift.  A mini vacation for "t".

Then, the next day, I started an upgrade to my operating system.  I was about to start a new set of video edits, and it was the perfect time to do it.  Details aside, I nearly lost everything. And I mean EVERYTHING:  business invoices, address book, iTunes library, documentation of my artwork, book marks, editing notes...  Nobody dare say the word "back-up" to me.  It only reinforces what I already know:  I am not cut out for this work or this world.  I was a wreck.  In tears.  All of that work lost.  The sky was falling.  My friend, Hank, said he saw that the sky was falling, but also reminded me that the earth was still here.  My reply, "Yeah, but I am smashed in between."   After some calm steps backward and B's wave of his Computer Demystifier Wand, now, the pixels light up in all the right places and everything is 'fine'.  Or so it looks.

I can recall with ease how it feels to make things in the studio with my hands.  In my experience, few things are as satisfying as building tangible beautiful things.  But, I also remember the isolation of it.  In a few conceptual leaps, I have landed back in my own shoes in the here and now.  I relived my decision to work with video.  So now I try to embrace it.  I am still seduced by the moving image. Nothing compares to movies when it comes to communicating on a larger scale.   I renew my commitment to collaboration.  And the potential to communicate with a greater audience.

So, this blog, is a small gesture to reinforce my commitment to the precariousness and possibility of technology.  The question, for me, remains: How do I find the balance between precariousness and possibility so that once again, I feel free creatively.


trena said...

Welcome to the blogosphere! I have linked to you from my blog.

I remember, too, when you were pretty much adamantly against technology. It's been interesting to watch you change and evolve as an artist over the, oh, TWENTY ONE YEARS I have known you.


trena said...

That means our friendship is now legal! It can go get hammered at the Willard!

dig this chick said...

Toni! Great to see your blog. It is wild how things that seem to make life "easier" really don't in the long run. But having that easier stuff becomes essential and puts in perspective how much we want to need things like macs and digital cameras and...blogs! Welcome to blogging. It's addictive.