Frivolous Universe

Modern Art in the Writing Room

All below photos (except one) are by the unstoppably awesome photographer Will Jones. See the full slideshow of Modern Art 2012 at Boise Weekly.The Modern Hotel (and Bar!) is a boutique outpost in Boise with posh, mod rooms, and drool-worthy historically-infused cocktails. Every year, the hotel hosts Modern Art, a single night in which artists of every breed and ilk are allowed to take over every single room and make do what their imaginations will make do with each space.

Everything from topo-bedding…

to 70s disco dance parties (this room was off the hook, btw. Boogie down, Drydens)…

to courtyard dancing backed by a giant concrete wall entirely hand-crocheted using old VHS and deck tape vinyl. Just, you know, express yourself. Cover surfaces. Then cover ground.

Because who says art doesn’t draw an audience? Modern Art is a zoo. A fun, crazy, arty, experiential zoo.

This photo is by the fabulous Whitney Rearick

So, of course I somehow got involved. The talented writers Elisabeth McKetta (pictured beside me in her signature red cowboy boots) and Elizabeth Rodgers invited me and fellow word-maker Kim Warren to join them in room 214, the sweatshop…er…spontaneous writing room.

As a group, we decided we would go neutral on clothes, letting the writing speak the loudest and what not. So I just had to wear this Liz Clairborne vintage silk dress with black comma print ($6, thrift store). [SIDENOTE: This dress is like my writing. I want to wear it so bad but something always tears me away. In this dress’s case, that something was actual tears, right up the seams in the ass. So on the day of Modern Art, my boyfriend Dan Costello handmade a replacement part to fix a handheld sewing machine, then hand-sewed the ass of this dress. Dude. Seriously. That is a good man. Also, Kelly Lynae sewed it back together the first time. Both of you. Seriously.]

In this writing room, we would get a word or a phrase from people coming in. Then write out a full page story in a composition notebook, tear it out, hand it off to that person, and let them do with it what they will. No rereading. No cross-outs. No editing. Just do it.

I admit, I was skeptical of what both the writers and the readers would gain from such an experiment.

But what an amazing experience. The 5 hours flew by, as did my limping hand. The daily fear that every writer faces of the blank page (I call it the abyss), and of disappointing both yourself and your audience, just had to be wrestled with, over and over. It was like all the mini-little anguishes and delights and epiphanies of writing a complete work packed into 2 to 3 minutes and one sheet (after another).

I learned there are whole worlds inside me, inside all of us. Just clawing at the door. Waiting for it to open up. Just say the word. Start creating.

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