#2053 | Watercolor girls

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Once upon a time we went painting in the botanical gardens and @martinhong.mov watercolored a very flattering and totally inaccurate portrait of me which has been stuck to my dresser ever since. Today I have a piece out in @nocontactmag about the ways art suffers from unconditional love, which is totally not a passive aggressive statement on our friendship tehe love u boo x ⠀ ⠀ This issue of No Contact begins with a brilliant editor’s letter about the state of America right now, accompanied by a comprehensive list of resources where you can support the Black Lives Matter cause through donations, petitions, and time, as well as a list of linked Black-owned restaurants you can order from if you’re NYC based. Please start with the editor’s letter before the rest of the issue, and thank you for reading x⠀ ⠀ All digital illustrations in the magazine by the wonderful @hi_fidelliot ✨🌱

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I was invited to write a piece for No Contact Magazine, and I did, to which my girlfriend said: I can’t believe you wrote about deviantartists and one of my boyfriends said: the sad thing is nobody takes watercolorists seriously, like compared to oil painters and such and I said: I cant believe no one got the joke that when you use too much watercolor the paper tears and the artist is perpetually crying and my other girlfriend said: but jem your jokes are not funny.

Tough crowd.

Anyway, I do have a favorite watercolorist, thank you for asking. His name is Marcos Beccari and Shane who is far more cultured than I am introduced his work to me.

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Segunda-feira, #aquarela #watercolor.

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I personally have no artistic talent, information I feel compelled to lay on the table, because someone read Watercolor Girls and reached out to ask if i were depressed, at which point I had to explain the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

Read Watercolor Girls here.


#2052| haze

I got sick, real sick the last week, which thickened the cloudy haze of my mind to the point where I wasn’t sure where the line between dreaming and waking lay. Of course, then I got better, and it became all too clear that reality had taken a definite turn for the worse.

There are so many resources floating around the interweb right now, but here is one specifically catered to Southeast Asians, with language/culture specific resources further down on how to open and frame a conversation about racism, especially given existing misconceptions and shifting ways of thinking: The Southeast Asian Anti-Racism Toolkit.


#2051 | dirty

A few things:

1. Corona has messed with my hair real bad, not even going to pretend this is a look anymore so much as it is a sign of the times.

2. All i wear now are various sets of pajamas – I now have a rotating wardrobe of fancy pajamas, chill pajamas, and i’ve-given-up pajamas. This old star wars t shirt and pj shorts are basically part of the last category.

3. the other day, as i was working in the living room, my dad looked at me and asked why i type like im fighting enemies off in some video game. so i guess i know now why my back hurts all the time. it’s because my posture sucks and i left the orthopedic love of my life in new york.

4. i was sick all weekend – not pandemic sick, just stress sick i think – and so hibernated nonstop, essentially, and just emerged from the haze of slumber to the very happy news that i’ve been awarded the Felipe P. De Alba Fellowship at Columbia University, which is the first time i have been a fellow of anything, except for maybe when i was 10 and sorted into Yellow house in primary school, and all my friends in the Green house laughed at me for being a yellow yellow dirty fellow. Well, now i am the dirtiest fellow of all, so jokes on them.


#2050 | Athena: A whole mood

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My cat is doing a very good job of channeling the grouch in all of us right now. I suppose one can get accustomed to anything: frustration, exhaustion, misery, claustrophobia, the like. For example: when I got back from New York over a month ago, I was at Peak Depression, a total nightmare to be around, not that anyone was, you know, around, since we were all on lockdown and I was quarantined, squirreled away in solitary confinement for two weeks. But my friends showed up magnificently, like Harry Potter’s friends who sent him cake and letters when the Dursleys locked him in without food, and to be honest, the misery was quite cushioned with love, at least for me. Slowly I have graduated from plain and perpetual wretchedness to my current state of fluctuation – ping-ponging between optimism and total incapacitation. Is it like this for everyone? I imagine it is, worse, better, who knows. The problem with despair is that it is myopic. The problem with me is I find this unacceptable. I cannot fathom a situation I cannot muscle my way out of with sheer pigheadedness, though of course when you come up against an invisible enemy there’s not much you can do. Instead I have thrown myself into pantomimes of productivity, doing exactly three sit ups then curling into a ball, reading voraciously to make up for my inability to write, cursing people who are quite happily writing and posting about it, cursing myself because I am not. Everything is so slow. My brain, my body, the world. Except for time, which goes, without regard for its occupants, spending months of our year frivolously. And my cat, for whom at least the world has caught up to speed, finally meeting her on her wavelength of irascibility.


#2049 | Word of the Year

I am so sick and tired of the word unprecedented. Who would have known that when history arrived, it would look like this, take this shape, coagulate into this slimy, stale form. Who would have known that the war of our generation would have come so quietly to arrest us like this. Here we are, facing down the invisible enemy; it has arrived, we are tense, our backs ache, yet we cannot move.

Here we are, waiting, waiting, locked in this neverending game of chicken.