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There is a brokenness
Out of which comes the unbroken,
A shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
Beyond all grief which leads to joy
And a fragility out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space too vast for words
Through which we pass with each loss,
Out of darkness we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
Whose serrated edges cut the heart
As we break open
To the place inside which is unbreakable
And whole,
While learning to sing.

-Rashani

Lately, I have become captivated by artist Yayoi Kusama and her work. After her collaboration with fashion house Louis Vuitton was announced I wanted to learn more. What caught my attention was of course the polka dots– I love everything polka dot– but, delving deeper into the work, I became interested in her as the artist and person, almost more than the work itself. Kusama was born in Japan but came to New York in the late 1950’s where she thrived in the avant-garde art scene. She returned to Japan in 1973 and began writing surrealistic poetry and prose. At the same time she became ill and checked herself into a mental institution where she still lives and produces her work today. Currently, she has an exhibit on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

images and more reading via huffingtonpost.com

Currently reading:

Ah, but poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life. You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a long one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines. For poems are not, as people think, simple emotions (one has emotions early enough)–they are experiences. For the sake of a simple poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else–); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet, restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars,–and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very well blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves–only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.

– Excerpt from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke

A few weeks ago I was introduced to the work of photographer Alexandra Valenti when her photos of model Leslie Crow starting showing up all over the internet. After browsing her site, I’ve definitely become a fan. She is one of the more creative and interesting contemporary photographers I’ve come across in awhile. The subject of her work ranges from fashion and travel to portraits and album covers but all of it is lovely.

images via Alexandra Valenti

Something to read in case you need a little kick in the butt/dose of motivation from time to time like I do and especially on a morning like this when you couldn’t help but hit the snooze button repeatedly.

How To Kill Your Creativity

Quiet your own voice. Don’t do or say anything even mildly transgressive for fear of looking, sounding, or feeling ridiculous. Don’t make any definitive statements; keep your sketches and bad poetry confined to a journal and shake your head vehemently if someone asks to see. Suppress your good ideas because what, they wouldn’t make a difference anyway. Second guess yourself at every turn and make yourself believe you have nothing to offer.

Have every day, month, and year planned out to the letter — treat life like an endless to-do list and leave no room for deviation. Feel like you always have to be doing “something productive” before you feel like you’re worth anything. Get crushed under the insistent weight of small things. Feel weird about having free time and feel at loss for what to do with yourself when you actually get it.

Have no idea what the hell you’re doing, ever — treat life like a giant question-mark-shaped water slide and slide down it without a prayer. Cave under the unavoidable facts of things; surrender to the vast senselessness of the universe and feel too small, too insignificant and so give up trying and just coast on. Spend melty hours smoking joints making vague plans and nodding in agreement; promptly forget what was said the next day.

Go out all the time because being alone in an empty house makes you feel stagnant and cold-sweaty. Purge your thoughts and feelings, drug your frustration drown your apprehension and repeat the tired “you only live once” mantra to make yourself feel less thrown. Put your own goals on the back burner and promise yourself tomorrow to block out the sticky vagueness of subterranean anxiety.

Stay in all the time because going out takes too much effort and there’s nothing new to see out there anyway. Plod around in dirty PJs from the sunken couch to the kitchen and back, turn on the TV and flip through the channels hating absolutely everything even though you’ve got a half-finished novel or project sitting right there, but meh. Sigh and chew something without tasting it, drop your feet on the table so heavily your heels hurt.

Have a type and stick to it. Only read books that agree with your ideology, only date people who share your background, opinions, interests, and schedule. Treat potential partners less like people and more like furniture; judge them on how well they fit into your life and complement what you’ve done with it. Stop being curious and start feeling very tired and fed up.

Buy into things. Take advice from self-righteous self-help books and diets that tell you to eat less fruit and more chemical protein powder. Follow trends, adhere to standards, bleach your teeth your hair and your asshole because that’s what it takes to be attractive, maybe. Get personally involved in people who have no knowledge of or interest in you whatsoever. Buy clothes that don’t even fit, sweat and ache over them and curse your genetics and your higher power.

Categorize and trivialize. Classify yourself and everyone, stay tight in your comfort zone and be the first to point a finger at people who move from theirs. Reduce human expression and emotion to gifs and blanket statements, drop things you don’t understand instead of trying to understand them, rely on cards to express your sentiments and songs to express your feelings. Buy everything pre-made and pre-packaged because you’re too damn busy to create your own life. Forget what handwriting looks like. Forget what ecstasy feels like. Forget you are capable.

Source: Thought Catalog