Hi everyone! This is a story about being smart. What would you do if you could start again?
Day by day, she fought to stay awake. At night, facing the wall, she would see her breath come back, stirring her into place. Her gaze could only see an odd, black shadow.
It was the plague.
Napping feverishly on an ex-boyfriend’s mattress, my breath came to me, rousing my face like a messy mind. There was no odd black shadow, only the installation piece (University of Calgary, Faculty of Art, 2001) I completed about a red cross and red intersecting paint brushes. Over time the red morphed into a black matte surface, replacing the glowing red symbols with something different…
It could have been sound.
It’s taking years.
I gasped for air, clutching my heart as I stared into Kevin’s barren closet only to see me as a ‘doctor’, healing the world from every known pain of mankind. In that moment, my heart sung and I cried. I felt adorned, yet I was confused as to how this could have happened. How could this be a reality that I, Chona Fe, changed the world? Healed it, in fact. How could I be the charging force that put everything into place?
The only other time this happened, I was napping…again…this time at my aunt’s house in one of the empty rooms. (Note: Filipino homes always have empty rooms, they’re probably accommodating ghosts.) All of the 90s furniture, including a stark, reflective black master’s bedroom set had no meaning or design in that place. That place where I slumbered and was suddenly awoken by, myself. I think I was 13, sitting up abruptly on the right side of the bed staring at myself. Yelling. Screaming at the top of my lungs.
I wasn’t looking at a reflection of ours.
My brother (Alan Abad) and cousins (Ryan and Vanessa Skinner), ran home from the playground in the centre of the crescent. They heard me scream. They were horrified to think something terrible had happened. But nothing did. I was alive. I was not attacked or eaten by a monster in the middle of my slumber. Vanessa grabbed my shoulders, shaking vigorously and I blinked slowly thrice. “What. The. I…don’t know what just happened, but I think…I died and saw…a different person…in,” I couldn’t even continue. It was that bad.
Hi everyone! Remove the shackles!
Hi everyone! Try to decipher the duality I refer to throughout this story. It will make complete sense…both ways!
In university, I was fervently attached to impermanence and how it spoke to love and the meaning of life. My creative process started with a blank canvas, although it did not have to be canvas, it could have been anything.
Definition: Complete; sheer.
Purpose: To feel everything; to be whole.
And with that, I commence. Commence a process of removing completeness; commence a process of covering up visibility – to reveal something different. I utilize a very special skill set yet to be discovered…
What is this very special skill set you ask?
I’m not sure, you tell me.
I am simple. I am me. I am beauty in everything. I am everywhere you need to be.
Pushing down non-artistic capabilities; denying intellectual understandings. It was easier to pretend that I didn’t have drive, than to begin the self-exploration required to achieve bigger and better things. I hated that I lacked moral support. I loathed that I was just an ‘artist’. If only I had been shown empathy and was equipped with real world survival skills, everything could have been so different.
Everything should be unique. The space-time continuum moves forward and does not evaluate past failures, previous motivations or work.
My struggle with identity began as a young woman. I felt completely transparent and to make matters worse, my mom would try to help me by uncovering up my supposed weaknesses – piano, French, public speaking, pretty much everything. I just wasn’t at the receiving end. I did not know how to define it or how to get there with her help or by myself. By the time it would have mattered (from high school to university) my mom did not have the energy or input abilities to output my success on top of everything. She struggled with many things, and so I struggled with the same. Growing up was about resisting and playing, if safe.
We both lived in fear.
Fear of being; fear of leaving.
Fear is weakness. Be passionate. Be real. Be able to tackle everyday things with insight, knowledge and strength.
The past can come back to haunt us, but we choose to live in the present.
Who remembers the wallpaper in their baby bedroom? Who recalls the vibrant tones of shag rugs in every ‘box’ throughout the house – intense violet, indiscernible mustard, Oscar the Grouch green, rusty red and so on and so forth.
Definition: He has a green body, no visible nose, and lived in a trash can.
Purpose: To love my body, my style and the way I write.
Who recalls bubblegum pink mohair, fresh brand T-shirts from The Body Shop or Le Chateau. Things have changed so much in fashion; things have changed so much in our world.
We are united, we are technological. We are happy and we are digital.
Yup, listen to me.
In university, I obsessed over process to the point where I think it became my source of envy. I didn’t understand how he (Bradley Harms, artist, Calgary, AB) could make prints nothingly-ly.
How did he do that?!
I do not know; I am so worried.
Are you sure?
Listen, at the time, my inner artist screamed. It didn’t matter that I was making things with my own hands or that I was taking things that were already whole, erasing them and reconstructing a sort of murder scene using Exs and Ohs (Elle King, American singer/songwriter). It didn’t matter that I was mapping. What mattered is that I could have turned out. What mattered is that my mom loved my art. But it wasn’t enough.
I was meditating, frowning worries and heartaches away from medicated pens and BIC Wite-Out.
In my mind, I was substantiating Gilles Deleuze…and I quote:
“Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with land surveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come.” ―
Definition: The technique, profession, and science of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional positions of points and the distances and angles between them.
Purpose: There is already a movie about language saving the world. It’s called Arrival. Can we really still cure cancer with letters? Bubble letters at that (Blocks speaking of Bubble + Blocks, Calgary, AB, 2005)? This was my original thesis, you see.
Mapping the continuum can spark regret; so better focus on real world debacles.
I am something out there.
My trek is long and arduous.
What matters however, is living continually knowing that I am loved and spectacular.
I actually used an entirely different quote, which I cannot find online, but I do have it written somewhere in a sketchbook. All of this work transmutes the power of being and the power of regression through ignorance. The tale of Daisy emotes this vulgar clash, where love is thrown to sea, but the water is brown and murky. We do not see this however, we only see the elaborate underground scene beneath it made up of pink, green and other living things.
She is trying to objectify life. She is avoiding subjectivity.
The beauty is in interpretation!
Thanks to you, Chonie (my mom).
I had a semi heart attack when I realized I left my computer at work. Daisy folded her legs out of bed, throwing her white duvet towards her pillows in an act of defiance or something like that. For some reason, she could feel her forehead wrinkle as she quickly discerned, “Oh, just wonderful. I’m angry again.” She walked towards earth, sashaying in a banana yellow-toned gold.
She entered. Now, walking criss-crossed down the tree-lined, brick-rung park pathway, she hated this part. She knew they tried to conceal the portal at the ‘end’ of the line, but you could always see it. The air around it was crinkly and wet. It was also technologically Prussian, giving off data to Whom (a.k.a. Google Analytics). They were still around, you know. In any case, she supposed most disconcerted artists would notice it.
Daisy proclaimed with both arms outstretched towards the new entrant, “Hop right in!” She was stretching really. He didn’t notice it. He was a mediocre-sized weasel carrying ‘today’s’ paper and sporting a rather smart trilby hat appropriately coloured rat. Hmm, I wonder if he’s just come in from the races? Daisy adjusted herself, pulling her navy blue rayon skirt down her legs.
Filburt squinted quintessentially. She has to think I’m coming here from the 50s, otherwise this proposition just won’t work. “Ahem!” Daisy stopped daydreaming for one second. She was playing with the ‘quaint daisy design’, imagining days of lorn, when she was just a wee little cartoon. “Yes?” “What is your girth? And are you in a state of dominant Manipura?”
She didn’t even bother to reply. What a stupid statement. Of course she was. She always was. Especially in Free state. Daisy curtly ruffled her shiny snakeskin BCBG and answered him, “I am now going to roll my eyes and you are going to walk that way. In that direction.” Filburt trembled like a dandelion in new spring wind and promptly – disappeared. Goddamnit! Skirt?! Stomach?! For Christ’s sake!
I don’t have time for this patience. The Need paused. This is not something new. The Pause crossed long, lanky arms and turned his eyeballs in reverse. Training never ended, Daisy hated it. She had been through it a million and ten times. She was even beginning to seem like him. The father of all wrong doing. Addictions created them. Where found them. Elevententeen was their only solace. “Please come, spring”