Last night I saw Andrea Gibson and it was as if my entire existence lead up to that moment. I stood toward the back beside Lauren with no one in front of me. I held on to her nonstop throughout. I had the clearest line of vision and the perfect amount of distance. Any closer and I think her words would have punched actual holes through my chest. I remember holding my breath for the longest sentences and only remembering to exhale when she stopped speaking.
I first knew her through her love poems and I was pleased to hear some of those. However, the most important thing she does is dismantle the patriarchy and educate about white privilege among other topics. I loved every second of the roller coaster. It was painful and I laughed. It was lighthearted and I cried. It was so important. I felt like Jack Kerouac the first time he heard Howl. My heart was beating out of my chest as I was constantly drawn out like a long thread.
I am rarely so inspired, but I have never been more discouraged. I felt meaning and passion and at once worthless. I don’t deserve to breathe her air. I don’t even deserve to be here (actual thoughts). Then panic: I have nothing important to say with my art. I may be talented, or whatever, but I don’t do anything important with my work other than indulge my own feelings. Seeing performance about social justice and things that matter really puts you in your place.
It left me changed for the better. I can only hope to become part of something much, much larger than myself. No, I can also try, even if it hurts. After all, if there’s one thing we know, it’s that it hurts to become.
I began this project in 2013 after I met Lauren. I was unemployed and still traveling. I kept several sketchbooks from that time and scanned almost every single page. This book is volume 1 because there are, and will be many others to follow.
It is a big deal for me. Finally publishing something so personal and something that is so close to me. I almost didn’t go through with it, but I’m glad I did. I find that I rarely regret making art out of my best moments, and I definitely never regret making it out of my darkest moments. This bound volume includes a little of both. Okay, a lot of both.
You can download the PDF version or a hard copy. In any case, I hope you like it.