Sunday, November 23, 2008


I have the aquiline Costich nose, the Costich fingernails and am starting to get the Costich strawberry-colored moles too.  When Mimi was alive, she was very good at observing how my genetic composition was faring me.  Of course, after she died my family members started telling me that I looked very 'Wiseheart', that I was the spitting image of Mimi, and that I had always been her favorite grandchild for all of these reasons.

Everyone knows it to be true-- that we grow up and start unconsciously exhibiting the same behaviors and bodies as our parents.  I think about this a lot with this project I'm working on right now, because it was during and after grad school that my parents started raising me, and for the first time I feel like I can put my experience into a different perspective.  

The drawings I'm working on are object-based, but hardly nostalgic.  I'm drawing objects that conjure stories of how I learned about the feeling of disappointment when I was small-- how I disappointed my parents, how they disappointed me, how we were disappointed by our circumstances of being overworked and tired in urban/suburban New Jersey.  And I think these moments have shaped me monumentally.  When something disappoints me, sometimes I get terse, tight-lipped and stonily silent like my mother and other times I sputter and explode, wide-eyed like my father.  I don't think it is any coincidence that I started stealing things when I was 4 or 5 years old (I remember the first, a small glass bear from the elderly mother of one of my dad's friends, the second, a toy from Danny Meagher's house) around the same time my brother, Will, was born and when it started mattering that our family didn't have any money. 

Of course, when I look at pictures of when I was small I can see both things-- our desperation and our aspiration.  I like this picture because their family-ness is undeniable, but knowing how different my brothers and I are, I like to question all of the potential pursuits these people faced once they left their red-headed home.  I think I might start redistributing my photo collection or my own family photos back into thrift stores with stories (maybe fictional, maybe not) written on the backs.  

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