Art, bloggity blog, writing

Does art have to say something?

As I return to my pour table this week after our many travels, I have found myself asking myself “but what does this piece say?”

My art normally says nothing unless my medium is words, because I choose not to use living subjects. But this is of course not what I fucking mean, is it? What I mean is “what am I trying to say?”

And what is my answer? I dunno, Amberley, what the fuck do you want to say?

I think, most of the time, my art doesn’t say anything. Sometimes, you can see the emotions I was feeling when I made the piece. Sometimes, it is a reflection of my personality. Sometimes, I just liked the way those colours went together or they were the only colours I had.

I think the same can be said for writing too. Sometimes we write something because we want to say something else. Sometimes we directly write about a subject so bluntly it is like getting smacked in the face with a giant dildo. Sometimes, we don’t want to say anything. We just feel like writing an entertaining blood-fest starring jungle pirates and cowboy faeries.

Does it make our work any less valid?

Does it change peoples perception of our work?

And does it even fucking matter what the author/artist wanted to say?

I did a painting a couple of months ago. I completely abstract one. I just liked the colours.

Someone really liked it and wanted it. But they liked it cause they saw a frog in it. I couldn’t see the frog. But they could. I didn’t paint a frog. But they saw one.

So, do we really need to be saying something or expressing something if others will only interpret it their own way anyway? Or is this the point? The sharing. The differnt views.

I dunno.

Love

Amberley

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Milk

Milk – chapter 2

Chapter 2 – Don’t

*if you haven’t read chapter 1, you can do so here. Don’t worry… it’s short.

Two paracetamol. One glass of Gatorade. Followed by coffee. All of the coffee.
I lean against the kitchen counter and stare out over the dust-laden house. That’s how small this place is. I can actually see all of it from in the kitchen.
It looks less like a house and more like an old photograph of a house. There is so much dust on everything, it’s like I am looking through a filter. If it were a filter on Instagram it would be called “dusty hangover.”
On the kitchen floor is a patch of red wine, sticky-fresh from the night previous.
I hadn’t exactly woken up in a puddle of vomit on the floor but I hadn’t not either.
I nudge my booted toe at the mess, trying to work out if it is mostly spilled wine or regorged wine. And does it matter? Not really. It is not the first time I would have to clean up my own puke. Not the last neither.
Thinking of Instagram, I take out my phone. There is a new crack on the screen. I must’ve fallen on my arse at some point last night. I run my thumb over the screen. It still responds. I will go online later and buy a new one.
I open Instagram and scroll through the notifications.
“Missin u”
“When you comin back???”
“Yo! Where are you at, Ms. C!”
The comments go on and on.
I smile at how much they all miss me.
Then.
It all comes back to me.
My brother. The accident.
I couldn’t have given him and open casket if I’d wanted to. Not that there would have been anyone else there, besides me, to see his mangled, unrecognisable corpse. And I sure as hell didn’t want to see it again.
I walk to the sink to refill the kettle and kick something along the floor. It skittles toward the kickboard and I hear the crack of breakage. Bending down to pick up the two pieces of the wine-stained mug I kicked, I realise I had used my brother’s favourite.
“Don’t do that,” says the memory of my brother. “You can be so careless, Conny.” I would purposefully use his mug and then place it on the edges of tables, teetering on the brink of destruction, just to get something out of my ultra-calm brother.
I place the broken mug on the counter and step back from it.
I feel like the king who would turn everything to gold with his touch. Except, I turn everything to broken.
I run out the front. I want to just sit and stare at the garden for a while. Even though I never understood why he lived the way he did, I always loved to look at that garden.
“Because I like living this way, Conny.” My memory of my brother said.
“But why? You should move to the city with me. Get out a little more. All you do is sit here with your garden.”
“I like my garden, Conny.”
“Why do you have to be such a fucking hippie! Did we even come out of the same vagina.”
I turn the old door knob and go out onto the porch, anticipating the green, the new growth, the scents of herbs and earth and flowers.
My stomach turns cold. Suddenly last night’s wine wants to regorge again.
Brown.
That is all there is. Brown. Ochre. Umber. Tawny leaves, crumpled, crumbling.
I don’t feel my legs as I walk down the steps toward the devistated garden.
As far as I can see. The rows and rows of once flourishing broccoli, twisted pumpkin zines, spinach, tomato, tall rosemary, basil, plum trees, peach trees, apricots. All of them.
Dry stalks. Brittle leaves.
What the actual fuck has happened here.
I feel my chest clenching. Bile at the back of my throat.
I turn and run back inside. I will deal with this situation. But not sober. I just … can’t.
My fingers shaking, I tip the coffee out of my mug and look around for the wine bag.
“Don’t drink so early,” says my memory-brother.
I look around the floor. I cannot remember where I put down the bag.
“Don’t be such a fucking hippie,” I said to him in retaliation.
Always in retaliation.
I see the bag by the door and I can barely wait to pour it into a mug.
I drink. Long. Deep. Sweet. Hot.
I see my memory-brother rolling his eyes, sipping camomile tea he has grown himself.
Pulling the empty mug away from trembling lips, I look out the back window. There is a post-it note on the glass, written in my brother’s hand.
“Don’t follow the lightning bugs.”

Milk, writing

Milk

Prologue

As my hand passes through the barrier it begins to melt and change. Skin turns to shells. Bone to tiny legs. Muscle and nails to wings and light.
I scream.
All I want to do is go home.
Why won’t they just let me go home?

Chapter 1 – the Cottage

Once the will was read and the papers were signed, there was no reason to stay another night in my apartment. I could have gone back, picked up a few of my things, but why? It was all junk. Useless shiny objects, a collection of wealth. What was the point? I couldn’t take any of it to the grave. No one would mention my collection of Franck Mullers at my funeral. “Here lies Conny, owner of many pretty watches.”
The only stop I made between the city and the Cottage was to fuel up and buy a dozen bottles of red wine.
My brother had lived in the Cottage for nineteen years and I had only visited him eighteen times. Once a year, on his birthday. Except this year. Not this year and never again.
And now, I drive. Bottle of red wine clutched between my thighs, open and slushing around – the sound of my irresponsibility. The smell of it in the car is a foreign, sickening sweetness.
The road towards the Cottage is barely worthy of the name. No lights. No markers.
My headlights illuminate only several feet in front of my car. Trees; white trunks and black tops, stand still and straight like funeral goes, solemn as the big metal coffin on wheels glides past. No pole bearers for me.
Fog hangs in cloudy formations slightly above the bitumen. Like suicidal ghosts waiting to be decimated by a passing car. Their wish is granted as they dissipate at the touch of my grill.
“Left turn ahead,” says the British sounding woman on my GPS.
Seeing no sign of any road, I slow my car to a crawl, inching my way through the darkness.
But then it is there, an apparition. A road that is no more than the absence of trees and grass. It is both nothing and familiar. Needlessly slamming on the brakes, my wine sloshes between my knees and I stop short of the corner.
I shouldn’t be driving. I push my foot harder on the break to reassure myself that it is down firmly.
Leaning forward to get a better view of the corner, I realise that my seatbelt isn’t on and I cannot remember taking it off or putting it on for that matter.
My brother’s street is a formidable beast, a conquest, an outstretched hand just out of reach. It is so far away and too close. And I realise when I drive up there and find his house, he will not be sitting on the porch waiting for me.
I turn off the car and the world is snuffed out.
Darkness so thick it forces me to feel.
Feel my heart, a frightened animal trapped behind my rib cage. It scratches at my bones, knaws on my flesh, trying to dig it’s way out only trapping itself further.
I feel the heat and stink of my life pressing on my skin. I’m in a pot of boiling water, my head is being held under by my past, face pushed under the bubbling surface.
I want to scream. I want to peel off my burning skin. I tear open my chest and free the thing dying inside me.
But I only sit, fingers gripping the steering wheel. Knuckles white … probably… if I could see them.
My eyes rest on nothing. Unfocused. Turning my head, I look up my brother’s street. Up on the hill, near where the Cottage would be sitting (at least where it is in my imagination) lights dance in a line. Spinning and twirling. Blues and greens and pinks. Like a string of animated christmas lights, they move upwards. Not into the sky, but upwards still. Meandering, rainbow fireflies heading up the hill.
I blink so hard I have to swallow at the same time.
I should not be driving. I’m an absolute fuck knuckle.
I open my eyes and the lights are gone. And I am left in that state of firmly believing that I have lost my mind.
I pry my hands from the leather steering wheel, one finger at a time. I’m sweating, sticking to the seats. I am a dropped lollipop on a summer sidewalk. I am a tongue in a parched morning mouth. I … am drunk.
Throwing myself out the car door, I gasp in the cool night air. On hands and knees, bathed in the yellow glow of my car’s open-door light, I wretch onto the bitumen. Not for drunkenness but from something else. There was a deep pit inside me both empty and heavy. It was the sadness my body was trying to purge… or maybe it was just the wine and I was being a melodramatic fuck head.
Leaving my car but taking all the wine I think I can carry, I stumble up the street. It takes a drunken lifetime. It is funny how malleable time is and alcohol only makes it more so.
The driveway is the worst part. No I’m lying. The light illuminating the front door is the worst part. Left on as if I am expected. And I guess, in a way, I am.
My brother left the Cottage to me. He died knowing he was dying and so there for knew I would be here soon.
“Carl, you piece of shit,” I mutter as I stumble up the driveway that is less driveway than the road behind me is a road.
In the dim yellow glow of the porch light, I cannot see the front yard which is not a front yard, not really. In my memory it is lush, fruits and vegetables and herbs. There is no room for lawn. There is no room for useless, water-suckers. But, in the dark and drunkenness, I see none of this.
Ambling up the front steps, I am already reaching out to ring the door bell. My hand falls to my side. There is no one inside to answer my call.
On the front step, there are dozens of empty plastic bowls. Stacks and scatters of them. I stare at them for a moment. Staring and staring the towers of them. Artistic sculptures of used plastic, random configurations. I wonder at what they mean. What they symbolise.
I look up and the front door is open. I blink hard again. Opening my eyes and looking down, I see I have the keys outstretched. I do not remember opening the door but obviously I must’ve.
The bag of wine bottles clunks loudly as I put it down in the doorway, open one under my arm. I go to have a drink straight from the bottle and hear my brother’s words, memories dredging up, “Conny, use a glass at least, a cup, a coffee mug, anything.” “Fuck off,” the me in my memory slurs.
I pull the bottle away from my lips.
I flick every light on in the house as I make my way to the kitchen. The place is unchanged. Small. Wooden. Dirty. Dark. Old. Cheap art on the walls. A box TV in the corner that is dustier than the not-road and the not-driveway combined. I can almost hear the bugs scuttling over the scarred floorboards. They are what I hate most about the place. I could never sleep sober here, for fear of the bugs. Not that sleeping sober was an activity I partook in enthusiastically anytime.
I’m still just standing in the empty kitchen, bottle swinging limply in my hand.
I can’t remember what I was doing in there. I go to take a sip and remember. Glass.
I open a cupboard, the one I remember being for dinnerware and it is packed full of longlife milk.
I scrunch my face up at the milk-filled cupboard and my weirdo dead brother.
I open another, but it is the same thing.
The pantry. Milk. Fridge. Milk. Shelves. Milk.
What the actual fuck did my brother want with all this fucking moo juice?
I get a mug off the counter instead. All booze consumption holders should have handles. The Germans were bang on with that part. It is the Germans, isn’t it? Steins… sounds German.
I “pour” the wine into my mug, letting the last few drops drip slowly into red lake below. Slow sluggish dollops like paint or blood.

And I’m out.

Art

the. project. Part 1.

Holy flaming fuck balls this is actually happening. (Is “fuck balls” a hyphenate?)

Okay… So… I have decided to go easy on myself for part one. I think in the wake of “the non-denominational, gift holiday, fancy pine tree, (& in Australia, xmas beetle) season” I must treat myself kindly and pick an easy topic and an easy time frame.

The challenge will be “bugs.”

I know, I know… it is not as exciting as I wanted either but I picked a shitty time to start trying to get my life back on track… or as I told my psychologist “I don’t think I have ever had a track… I may need to build one of those first…”

So… (I start a lot of sentences with “so”) I will probs be painting and writing but you can do you. If you wanna join in the fun of a community art project, you can sketch, sculpt, knit, poet, sing, film, photo, crochet using cat fur, garden in your underwear, spread butter on concrete with your privates… I don’t give a rat arse. All I do care about is that something is made that didn’t exist yesterday.

On the (I’ll give peps a day to recoup) 2nd of Jan 2018 I will be posting my own submission and I will be accepting subs from you. (Yes… you, mother fucker!) You can sub with links in comments below or in the post with my sub. Or on social media. Hopefully, by then, I will have my shit together enough to manage a Twitter account. #brokenbeatenandscarred #metallicareference but we will see. People still use Twitter, right?

I have these big plans of becoming a community and meeting a bunch of you cool,weird, arty folks… I also have dreams of (mayhaps) publishing a book of all our arting together… but I think I need to put the breaks on.

Amberley needs to calm the farm and take a step back…

I am rambling now anyway, so if you want to join in, please do so. If you want to have a peak at my day to day arting and cat problems feel free to check out my instagram… yep… I got instagram. Holy fuck, aye! Otherwise, I’ll see you sometime… 🖤

Love yall

Amberley.

Art, bloggity blog

the. project.

The beginning is always the scariest part.

That blank page, that dry canvas, that lump of un-moulded clay, they just sit there and stare up at you as if to say, “well … What you gonna do?”

That is this blog, right now.

So, this is the project. A blog to help heal. A blog to help me find myself. A blog to bare my soul. And why a blog? Because, dear reader, hopefully you (or at least some of you) will decided to join me on this quest. Not for you to find me … But for you to find you…

The plan is a loose one.

*Baby steps, Amberley, baby steps*

I will post what project I will be doing the next week/month/day/decade/whatever and then post it on (or round-about) the day it is due. If you would like to follow along, please either post them on your chosen social media/website/blog and then comment with the link or tag me.

I will be wrangling Twitter, Instagram and (maybe) Facebook accounts in the coming weeks and hopefully this blog will be in full swing soon. Yep. That is how fresh from the womb of life I am, still bloody and screaming and I haven’t even Tweeted yet. Fuck, aye…

So, if you would like to join me on this journey or maybe you are sick and just love to watch people scrambling to get their lives back on track … (I dunno, I don’t judge.) … but please feel free to subscribe or follow or whatever it is you do to blogs. Gosh, I feel like a fucking alien… How to internet? Show how plez …

Love,

Amberley Griffin