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

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Turning Over a New Blog Leaf for the New Year?

This blog might be the most underused tool in my social media kit.  Seven months have passed!  Each time I think to write here (at least weekly), I somehow sidestep or dismiss it as "not the best use of my time."  I'm undervaluing the effort it takes for me to put words here - and the edge that effort adds.  There is value in the work it takes me to articulate the private for the public - even if no one reads it.  So I'm declaring a new era for this blog.  Day one of era two.

I feel a tug to wrap up 2017 in some way, to find a few words to summarize a year that was terrifying, wondrous, productive, and deeply educational.  The revelations about people that this year's political and global climate has produced in me are jolting and tragic, and I'm questioning human nature from new angles.  Where to place trust?  How to live with these new fears, and reconcile that their very newness reflects my life of privilege?  The shock!  Never, never, never did it occur to me that the events of this year could happen in this country.  My age - sixty - helps explain that.  My first "world memory" is Kennedy's assassination; I was six.

The year forced me to examine myself as a social and political being.  While self-analysis is one of my favorite sports, it became urgent to try and acknowledge my biases, vulnerabilities, and fears with more courage.  Being an educator fed the urgency.  It also became clear that the sport itself itself is a privilege:  the resources that allow me to ponder my thinking, feeling, and actions are not available to most.

Equally - though very differently - impactful in 2017 was my visit to Japan.  The experience was more powerful than words (which is why I didn't write any then), and is still.  It has begun informing my artwork and that pleases me.  This morning, I stumbled on some photos from the trip and was so moved to revisit them.  My memories are vivid.  Also, I realized that I'm mourning the trip: I no longer have it to look forward to. It is done.  I also get sad when I think about it.

Untitled (After Japan #1), 2017


I'm starting in a strong place.  My winter break and the Excessive Frugality exhibit have left me fueled up in the studio.  This year I will engage more with the business end so that the work can get seen more.  I have some momentum and no excuse for not chasing it.  The first part of my semester is lighter than usual, and will allow more time for making and marketing.

The world climate is only worse.  The men (mostly) running this country are running it into the ground, destroying its place in the world and in people's lives.  Are these men conscious of the choices they are making or is their thinking so partial that they can only experience their own needs?  What kinds of mental cartwheels does one do to sacrifice the world their children will inherit to ... money?

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