Friday, September 4, 2015

To Live On


I always feel a bit of bittersweetness at the close of August. I have a bit of nostalgia concerning shopping for school supplies and returning to classes ( powerful lectures are a favorite). I'll miss riding my bike around out here in the Mid-west, searching for thistle and spider webs, watching for bats and the dark birds that perch on the tall summer grass. I truly enter a weird period of mourning at the close of summer. Despite living in a very dark loft, I love long days of light and nights perfumed by the day's residual sunshine Yet, Autumn is a favorite time, teeming with an unnamable magic. I'm sure some of you may feel this too, even if you are a night crawler as well.

September is the hardest month for me to get through, as it concerns the sea of grief I have carried inside me since 2008 when I lost someone important in my life ( which subsequently, as some of you may know, brought about the birth of BloodMilk).
Which brings me to this series of work, 'To Live On', by Korean born, Berlin based artist Ming Jeong Seo. His work flares with that same electricity of opposites I'm always drawn to; the beautiful and the grotesque shouldering against one another in the same narrative space. Death is being challenged here, perhaps even cheated, for a while anyway.

I was reading an essay in the new issue of 'Creative Non Fiction' by writer Suzanne Roberts, concerning her personal analysis of grief. She likens grief to having the texture of water, describing it as a well that only more grief gets poured on top of, something I've noticed myself when trying to describe it, although as she says, grief seems only fitting for metaphor:

"The way we recognize a musical score-by its scales, the repeating notes-is similar to the way we recall grief. A musical score can transport us to another time and place, as if the music has always lived inside us; in the same way, one grief recalls another"

 I do not like having to carry grief around, or the knowledge that I will be piling other griefs onto this deep one I already have like a black hole inside me. However, as Suzanne mentions, "All life leads to death, so why is it so hard to imagine?."

I think these roses, temporarily suspended between life and death, explain my personal struggle so perfectly. This netherworld, this liminal space, is rife with sorrow and the knowledge of our fragility, but it is also teeming with beauty. Here, death is creeping up those shriveled stems and yet, still hard to imagine when gazing at those waterlogged blood clouds of petals.


Ginngi Doll said...

I love your writing so much. I don't remember how I stumbled onto your blog but it was years ago and I have been frequenting your world ever since but have not commented until now.

September used to bring about really intense feelings of anxiety and sadness for me. I hated going back to school due to my very low self esteem. I too am drawn to "dark things", have been since I was little but have been enjoying a lot of light as well :) it's good. Anyway I love your work and blog and hope the black hole slowly dissipates and that your grief softens soon.


bloodmilk. said...

Thank you Ginngi. <3

Naomi said...

I have been reading your blog and admiring your art (I am somewhat impoverished now, but someday I will unwrap the Ariel spyglass necklace and The Prophet) from afar. I turn on my computer and say, "I wonder what she has for us today."

I am sorry for your loss.

Death is natural, perhaps the one thing any of us can count on, yet it seems absurd, doesn't it? That someone can cease to live?

Five years ago I watched my grandfather die, every day there was less of him to hold. A deterioration.

Death is death, I suppose, but the shock of a sudden death is what kills the survivor—or so I imagine. One can never prepare, and yet....

Again, I am sorry. Thank you for sharing the work of Ming Jeong Seo. I swear I can see those roses trembling...a trick of the light?

And thank you for being such an inspiration. I know you never set out to become one, but you are, you truly are.

40f882b0-5723-11e5-98bb-97c1d2e1ab51 said...

Until today I have been a silent reader. I sit in my small room at my rickety desk and blink in every word. You have a special relationship with words, a language uniquely your own. I am also an admirer of your jewels. I am rather poor now, but one day, one day I hope to own the "Ariel" spyglass necklace and "The prophet" owl claw necklace. They speak to me in describable ways—I apologize for being vague, but sometimes words fail me. Sometimes they are simply not enough.

I am sorry for your loss. Five years ago I watched my grandfather die. Every day there was less and less of him to hold. He did not go willingly at first, but after some time he surrendered. Death is the one thing we can count on, yet it seem absurd, even cruel, that one can just cease to exist. Death is death, I suppose, but when it is sudden, the shock is what kills the survivors. That someone was taken without warning, without permission. Again, I am sorry.

Thank you for sharing Ming Jeong Seo's work with us. I swear I can see those roses trembling, see them fighting to live. To me, that's what makes them beautiful—their willingness to survive. And that's what makes you beautiful, too. To have lost someone so dear, and be left behind to mourn, is unspeakably painful. But look at what you've done with your pain, the wonderful work you've created and continue to make. You inspire me. I wish you all the best.


Amanda Graham said...

Though an older post, it was one I needed to read today.