Posted by: | January 1, 2011

Two Thousand Eleven

I stayed in last night.  Gone are the days when I walk down the street to a friend’s apartment to watch fireworks shoot from the Space Needle.  But, here are the days when my new webcam gets set up and I join Skype!  

Last year to ring in the New Year I walked two blocks from my place to the home of my friends John and Susan.   We drank wine, played Celebrity, took in the fireworks from their expansive patio and watched R.Kelly’s (gross) Trapped in the Closet (so, so awesome).  I have never laughed so hard.    John and Susan have since moved just north of Seattle,  out of their condo and into a home with a yard, and they were blessed with a  son, McIntyre (Mac) Featherstone, in early December.  

Susan & I, NYE Seattle 2009

Two years ago I was in San Francisco, bringing in the new year with my friends Michelle and Kyle in Michelle’s Tenderloin apartment.  Very cozy and mellow.   I knit and drank beer by candlelight, Michelle painted and Kyle told stories. 

Michelle & Kyle, NYE SF 2008

NYE SF 08, beer & knitting

Kyle is now in Antarctica and Michelle lives in Astoria, New York,  and I am in Illinois.  Much can change  in a year (or two). 
Last night I used Skype for the first time and toasted the new year twice with my friend Michelle – New York time for her and Illinois time for me.  Wow.  Skype blew my mind!  We are officially in the future.  At midnight I was fielding texts on my phone from friends and family while talking to (and SEEING!) my friend in New York through the computer.  Really?!  I am always a few steps behind when it comes to technology, and its amazingness is not lost on me, but how ‘ bout we  just rest here for a while.  Two years from now will I be able to smell Michelle’s perfume or touch one of her paintings through the computer?  That freaks me out. 

Tuesday and I waiting for Michelle on Skype, NYE 10

Michelle and I spoke for a long time – about home, love, creativity and whether to call this year “two thousand eleven” or “twenty eleven” – I am of the mind that “twenty eleven” sounds too much like abbreviated texting language – LOL, TTYL or an emodicon – and that business makes me absolutely bristle.   I prefer that we take the time to say the words, write the words.  Sure, I never said, “Happy New Year!  I can’t believe it’s one thousand, nine hundred ninety four!” But these days, taking an extra fraction of a second to say “two thousand eleven” means much more than it did back then.  At least to me. 

While I have you here, if you’ve got the time please check out Michelle’s art.  When she’s not working in her Astoria home studio, she’s reading tarot or walking the streets of New York taking amazing photographs. 


I have taken a break from painting during the holidays.  For two months it was pretty much all I did and I was beginning to lose zest.  Michelle reminded me that this is how it is – fever and obsession have to give way to rest, and then naturally, fever and obsession take over again.  I used to panic about the rest phase when I was younger.  Oh, no!  I’m not really an artist.  If I were I’d never want to stop, I’d always have ideas.  About a year ago I stopped freaking out about it entirely. 

Last February I had the good fortune of seeing Patti Smith.  She read from her memoir, gave a brief musical performance and answered questions from a salivating Seattle audience.   First off, I want to be her – with my own touches of course, but dear god this woman is amazing.  You know she won the National Book Award recently – with her memoir, the first book she had ever written, at 64.  I have never seen a person so obviously comfortable with who they are.  As honest and authenic as I have always believed myself to be, I realized I have a lot of work to do.  I can’t explain it, but you’ll know what I’m talking about if you ever get the chance to share a room with her.    Anyway, someone in the audience asked her what she did when she felt stuck creatively.  Smith said that a long time ago she used to fall into a panic – “That’s it, I’m done.  That’s all I had in me.”  But time after time it always came back.   She finally realized that if it’s in there, it will always be – even if years pass between creative endeavors.  What a liberating realization.  She went on to say that these days, when she seeks inspiration, she fills a big thermos with coffee and walks along the beach. 

I don’t know if I’m making any sense, I feel like I’m all over the place.  But to summarize: so much can change in a year, technology is beautiful and strange, my friend Michelle is an amazing artist,  Patti Smith is a personal hero, creativity is a boomerang. 

I won’t be walking along a beach anytime soon, but I’m sure I’ll pack a thermos of coffee for my train ride to the city for this bit of inspiration:

Lori Nix - makes miniatures, photographs them.

The work of Lori Nix at Chicago’s Catherine Edelman Gallery from January 7 to February 26, 2011.

 A year moves quickly.  Hold on, make the most of it. 
Hope to see you around. 


  1. Hey! I am on Skype as jackmtoy. Skype me to watch me say Happy New Year. Dad

    • I just tried you. No answer. I am still working out the bugs. I will master this mechanism!

  2. sniff, you make me cry the good tears. i am lucky to know you, and your art and creative spirit is always inspiring me. you bring to this world what never existed until you created it. thank you for that.

    • oh dude. i am lucky to know YOU! last night was the awesomest. love you sissy. big time.

  3. jessica…you look so pretty!!!!! i mean…so pretty!!!!!! hapy new year!

    • Nikki thank you so mucy for saying that! Happy New Year to you too. I hope everything is okay for you in Vegas. Let this be a beauty of a year for the both of us!

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