Block 64: April 22, 2013



Today, in the interest of “improving” my product, I tried pressing my seams in different directions. The hope was to get the Crane to raise it’s profile naturally a bit, to see if it could be elevated from the background.

While it seems to have helped in some areas, I think I’m going back to my tried and true (i.e. formulaic) pressing technique. Some of the angles and intersections got a bit bulky for my tastes.

Lesson learned.

Date: April 22, 2013

Crane: 64

Days Spent on Project: 64

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: After yesterday’s break, we’re back to Middle School.

Today’s Crane is for Phillip K.

I have a cloudy memory on when exactly I met him: was I in sixth grade or seventh? He transferred from out of town, new blood, and he was just funny. He fit into any group easily, just because of his sense of humor.

We were friends, not great ones, but I remember enjoying his company. I feel that I invited him to birthday parties, like you do when you’re that age; surely that meant that we were better than casual friends, right?

Like I said, Phillip was able to float amongst the social strata of Middle School; the cool kids liked him and accepted him, I needed his friendship and he accepted that.

Phillip also dealt me a blow, not a purposeful one, but one that in hindsight changed my opinion of myself and sent my confidence level spiraling downward for one of the first times.

Name-calling in Middle School isn’t an unknown phenomenon. It still exists today, and with our easy use of things like Facebook and Twitter and social media, I’m sure it can get nastier than what I experienced over two decades ago. However, name-calling is only effective when the “victim” knows what they’re being called.

Because Phillip also hung out with some of the people calling me this name, I wrote him a letter and hand delivered it to him at his house. I was so embarrassed by *not* even knowing what people were yelling at me, I couldn’t even ask a person I considered a friend.

In his front yard, he held the note and looked at me.

“They’re calling you a faggot.”

He went back inside at that point. I went home.

Not only was I being labelled in the most pejorative, hurtful word known by my peers at the time, I wasn’t even “with it” enough to know what people were calling me.

Yes, I am gay; it’s a part of my identity that everyone in my life accepts and knows about and I’m proud of that. Being in my mid-30s now, I’m aware that I always was and, growing up in a small rural/suburban environment, my differences were most likely pretty obvious. Why would I think, at that age, to camouflage who I was?

In ways, I was clueless.

Music I listened to while sewing: This morning, I’m listening to the Music Drama/Operetta From the Realm of the Shadow. The dance workshop of the piece techs next week, and plays two “performances” over the weekend. I have a tenuous grasp on what the clothes will be; I just need to get myself into that world a bit more.

I’ll be listening to it on my iPod all day.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Saw Then She Fell last night. It was a truly hypnotic theater experience (you can read the NY Times review here), and I enjoyed the world they set up. For two hours, you were walked through a building that was converted/designed into a turn of the century mental hospital by nurses and characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Inspiring, yes. Thought-provoking, of course. If tickets weren’t so pricey (and in short demand), I’d head back.

But it’s interesting that I couldn’t detach myself as a costume designer from being an audience member. I spent a fair bit of the time in my head, looking at the choices they made with their clothes and evaluating what worked for me and what I would design on my own. Because I spent time drawing in my head, I’m sure I wasn’t as present as I needed to be. But I still liked it, and still really crave more Immersive Theater experiences.

This is one reason I don’t see much theater anymore. I have a difficult time being an audience member and removing myself as someone who designs for theater; I look at all the choices, re-design things, re-stage scenes, sketch in my head, and mount my own production by the time the curtain drops. I’m a bit judgmental at times.

I suppose that’s a good thing. It inspires me to make my own choices and work. It does mean I’m invested.

Anything to keep moving forward, right?

Let’s keep walking, friends. Together or alone, let’s keep the journey going.

Cheers and happy Monday.

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