Monday, March 3, 2008

The Chronic Chronicle Online Zine

I recently had an essay and picture of the accompanying sculpture included in The Chronic Chronicle Online Zine edited by fellow OWCA member Katie Simpson. Check out my contribution which will also be included in the printed version of the Zine!-

Destination: Migraine, Colorado

Living in the valley, I arrive a day early to acclimate my body. The summer is hot and dry; the air is thin. I walk and my body feels heavy, like in a bad dream. I walk through the thick, opaque cloud. I remember last time, feeling as if I was drowning in the desert. I know I have to create the river inside. I begin to drink water like a thirsty puppy after a hike. I have looked forward to this week all year with a feeling of overwhelming excitement and dread. When I sculpt in clay, I find myself by losing myself in the dense, cool, moist wonderful chocolate. The moment I open the virgin bag and touch its smooth surface, my insides release. I stop thinking about the heat, the thirst, the rules, and the outside world. Fifty pound heads is the daunting challenge; two heavy 25 Lb. bags of luscious clay. I dive into the darkness. Day three and I can no longer see clearly. The once tolerable altitude now becomes so oppressive that I can no longer function. So much for hydrating myself. I continue to sculpt so I won’t lose any of the precious week. I can’t bear to lose a moment. The more I panic the more I hurt. The sounds of the dining hall are too much to hear. My ears, my eyes and my brain become so sensitive to every stimulus that it is unbearable. My classmates keep a safe distance as they can see me fading. I feel like I am falling off this mountain near Aspen and am being crushed by the chair lift that continues to operate over the dry mountain. I build and I sculpt and I carve and I refine and I feel like I am going to die. I just want it to end. I can’t run from it, so I surrender to the clay. I take every pill I have to no avail. I concede and go back to my room and try to rest my head on the pillow that has somehow transformed itself into a cement block covered in thorns. So I return to the studio determined to work through the pain. Ben Harper’s lyrics ring in my ears. He says, "They say that time kills the pain, I say pain kills all time”. My head begins to feel as if it has now become 50 Lbs. as well. I look at my sculpture and I cannot see, yet I trust that it is being created. Clay is my solace, the only time I feel whole. The day and night finally end. The fog lifts; the vice that once owned my head has fallen away. I prepare to meet the sculpture I could not see the day before. The head and I work together for the next two days until the collaboration feels complete and the workshop has ended. She spends the next day drying and then she takes her proper place amongst the other heads in the kiln. I wait for her to finish becoming. She finally reveals herself to me as she emerges from the fire. I am able to see how my pain has somehow been transmuted into a woman of tremendous power and strength. I aptly entitle her "Time Doesn't Kill the Pain, Pain Kills My Time. We return home together to the valley forever transformed.----------Jo Grishm

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