Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Fitzgerald Kinship

“…Blue and gigantic — their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald and I share the same birthday. I grew up watching The Great Gatsby. I devoured the book at age 12. I loved the cover and even tried to do my makeup like it, imitating the green light dripping down the face like a tear.

I had an experience last weekend that brought back the gigantic eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg back into my mind. For three hours I discovered sights and feelings and talked at length about them. I was the manager of all this beauty in the world. I had to catalogue it for posterity. I drew, I wrote.

4:40 AM, 4/24/10. The Sad Eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg
I see them. I saw them on Delancey Street in 2003. They drew me onto the street, advertising Triangle Optical. Black glasses on a yellow sign with a big red O-P-T-I-C-A-L in case the point wasn't made. But they were lifeless, eyeless.
I saw the eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg looking at me in the mirror every morning. My not-yellow spectacles passed over a nose that certainly existed. The eyes were full of life.
I saw the eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg staring back at me after my first flashback. The face they sank into was not mine. The body wasn't. It wasn't May 26, 2005 but September 24th, 2004. Nothing was as it seemed. The eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg caught me from store windows and makeup counter mirrors as I ran from imagined deaths during panic attacks. The eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg were certainly alive, but how aware were they?
Just now I saw the eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg regarding me from the mirror. The pupils engulfed the iris. In the early morning light objects still held an impossible magic lost since childhood. The face, certain to exist and wonderfully touchable, held a slightly parted smile full of a gentle ecstasy in drinking in the experience. The fog enveloped the landscape outside. If I wanted to I could have walked on it and slept.
The sad eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg are not imaginary. Their retinas are life-sized. They pass over the nose of a woman at least twice a day. The eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg belong to me--Erin E. Rinker, age 19 and 7 months.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sometimes I wonder about focus.

Sometimes I really wonder if I have issues focusing. Recently I've been completely unmotivated to work... that is, unless I enjoy the project. Everything else bores me to the point where I walk away. If I had issues focusing, I don't think I'd get my personal (fun) projects done. Maybe I am a selective lazy person. I find myself longing for my senior year where we had a month all to ourselves for an internship project. I spent my month sewing and churned out two dresses.

I can't wait until my final projects are over and summer is here. Free to do my own thing again. My eyes are drying up out of their sockets now. Thank god I gave up on contacts. My biopsy scar is hurting. I didn't realize a lump like that could hurt from typing so much.

But I can't complain. Life is good. My friend G went on a cleaning rampage Saturday afternoon. Thanks to him, dust bunnies and lint monsters have been eradicated and all my snacks are stacked up on my shelf. Classes are picked out for next semester--Contemporary Photo Practice II, Advanced Grammar and Translation (French), Turbo Kick/Kickboxing, Intro to Western Art, Basic Composition (Drawing).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Embrace it.

I have learned to face my aversion to West Side Story and embrace it.

If you grew up listening to nothing but version after version of recordings you'd understand too. Every time I hear a piece of music progress like a WSS song I go into defense mode and search it out. Case in point...

At around 1:10 it sounds suspiciously close to "Somewhere." I did whatever the aural equivalent to a double-take is. But not any more. Think of this as the Ludovico Technique, but for music.

Who would have thought? Two milestones in two days.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I no longer fear the city.

Up until recently (say, in the past 3 years or so), San Francisco was just that to me. San Francisco. I had my first job in the city. I felt important, commuting to work at age 13. I WAS cool. My friends were jealous. They did odd jobs, but I was officially on payroll. Payroll! At 13!

But then something happened the next year. I suffered through daily panic attacks with no knowledge of how to control them. The Victorians lining Geary Boulevard leaned in to swallow me whole. The cars plowed through crosswalks faster than usual. The City began to go after me. I ran from imagined, terrible deaths only to confront a new and even more terrible (and still imagined) death. Every morning for four months I woke up with my heart pounding. I wouldn't stop thinking about the End until I went to sleep, and even then it followed me in my dreams.

The next summer I got laid off. The workload dwindled and dwindled. I'd come in at nine only to be done at 11. I left the office to eat a pastry at Royal Ground, or to walk along the shining counters of Neiman Marcus. Death no longer chased me in my black patent shoes, up and into the golden day, but rather it waited in the envelope of my last paycheck. What followed was depression, loss of interest in photography, a friend getting hit by a truck, and finally hope. The next summer didn't bring a job, or the one after that, but I could traverse the streets once again. Despite losing a contact while driving in circles in the Mission and subsequently making it home in rush hour traffic without slamming into someone, I was okay. I had the occasional well of fear now and then, but it was nothing.

Today I remembered my old route home for work. The City and I are friends once more.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Good news - mole turned out to be just that--Mr. Benign Mole. Bad news - my arm is still unhappy. I've been putting an assortment of bandages on it since I got the mole chopped out. As such, I have a square frame of hairless arm and a hairless band-aid shape on my arm. Worse yet, it started bleeding (despite being relatively closed-up) after I finished developing some film. The motion from agitating the canister was enough to piss it off because I started to bleed through my band-aid.

Looks like I'm finishing up the year in digital.