All original images and text are copyright 2008-2018 Liz Sweibel


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The being and thinking and doing are opening up.  A breakthrough.  Protecting my time (and 24 million other things) has opened up to new ideas for work.

Saturday I visited  the Reanimation Library Midtown Branch at MoMA.  I found I used it like a library rather than a workshop, and settled into The Rural Studio, a book on the architecture of Mockbee.  His work and impact were (and are) profound, how he integrates creative work with layers and layers of helping.  Paired with The Power of Limits, architecture has come forward without any real intention on my part, and helped me push through.

I know what to do, and it feels like it will absorb and move everything important I've been struggling with, hurt by, and pissed off at for years now.  Thank God.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I'm uncomfortable with how I left this journal, as I've muscled myself out of that flatness (no exaggeration), largely thanks to daily writing - using pencil on notebook paper.  It suits me better in some ways, including and maybe especially the physical experience, and of course the privacy.

Daily writing is impossible with the semester under way, but I've set better limits to protect weekend time from student e-mails and, to the extent I can, schoolwork.  I start my Saturday mornings with my paper, pencil, and coffee.  Today I want to capture my handwritten words here, exactly as written on page 41, and align my public self  more closely with my private self.  I wrote:

Just opened my new book, The Power of Limits.  Scanning, flipping through, I arrive at The Greatness of Little Things (p. 123).  Of course I stop, and in reading, "bump into" Zen Buddhism, Golden Mean, music, haiku (this, in two pages).  Drew me back to Introduction to Architecture at UF, where I learned about the Golden Mean and have never forgotten that (or recalled anything else from the course).  I have been telling students about carbon paper.

My trajectory has felt so meander-y, and to the extent it has been, I pay the price (e.g., no PhD).  At the same time, the patterns and connections all point to something coherent (or at least coherent in its vagaries).  My struggle, which has become increasingly clear in and since art school, has been to locate ways to integrate in my life what is integrated across the universe.  Or, to find an existing coherence (which I seem to be doing) and get it out of me into the world.  It's so subtle, yet I'm wanting to make it powerful.  The subtle mark is too easy for me, even though it does everything I want.

Some backstory:  Last weekend I took a keyboard apart (thanks, Mo and Adrian) to make a collage for my nephew Daniel.  That opened the floodgates (mine are small, of course), and the ideas that started coming are very much about integration - not in the universal sense of the journal references but in the possibilities for my work, which should connect with the universals if the work achieves what I'm after.  (I'm sure I'm drawing distinctions that don't exist, in my endless restating of the obvious to get to what's just beyond my reach.)  I've been researching and attempting haiku.  My other new book is The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis (thank you, Justin); her stories have the economy of haiku.  All this to say that I keep bumping into a collection of objects, ideas, and processes that is all the same, or leading to the same.  It is a relief and a comfort, and explains my frustration at making work that gets at what I'm after.  I do have ideas, so now I'll turn to them and hope for the patience, the time, and the tenacity to pursue them.