Ann’s Birdhouse Muse

April 13, 2010

While creating this birdhouse I wasn’t thinking, What does an award-winning birdhouse look like? I wasn’t thinking, What will make the Bushwick Crafting Society go gaga? Truth is, I wasn’t thinking at all. You crafters in the audience already know this but I’ll say it anyway: When you’re consumed by artistic vision, you can’t think. You can only do. When a muse wraps her fingers around your neck and holds your face to the grindstone, you better not be thinking, mister. You better be doing. Last Valentine’s Day my muse tackled me to the ground and dragged me into my studio and put a saw in one hand and a 2-by-4 in the other and forced me to work all night. I was in a trance. I can’t recall how I came to use logs that are to scale to the ones Lincoln’s father would have used. And I can’t recall why I chose papier-mâché for the chimney or a button for the doorknob. But don’t give me the credit. Thank my muse, my birdhouse muse. I’ve often wondered: Does my muse inspire musicians and architects and poets and etc., or only craftsmen slash -women? Is she down in New Orleans some nights, whispering notes in a jazz trumpeter’s ear as he prepares to jam? Has she ever taught petits battements to a young ballerina? I wouldn’t mind if I had to share her. Well, I’d be upset at first but I’d get over it quickly. I get over things quickly because my father was an army man and he instilled a Midwestern resilience in his children and it’s stuck with me. Life is shitty, he’d say, so make sure you’re doing the shitting and not getting shat upon. You have to deal or be dealt to, and I like doing the dealing, which is why I’m up here today. Thank you, and have a lovely evening. Oh Simone, is the gift certificate good at every Michaels or only the one in the city? Every one? Great, because I like to get my shopping done after I visit my aunt in Forrest Hills and there’s a Michaels out there. That one closed? You’re positive? Shoot. Guess I’ll be going to the one in the city then. It’s on Columbus? OK. Shoot. This is a rare example of me being dealt to and not doing the dealing. The lesson: You can’t control everything but it’s nice to win awards for the things you can control. Ann tries so hard to look like someone who crafts, it’s disgusting. The clogs, the black corduroys, the ratty hair. When she first moved in she’d spend twenty minutes in the bathroom each morning putting on make-up and she’d wear skinny jeans and band T-shirts. Bands Jameson liked. Now she only listens to bird sounds CDs. They put her in the mood to build, they summon her crafting muse, she says. It’s hard for me to say crafting muse without cracking up. I try not to be too hard on her. She has to dress the part, and these awards are all politics and image. If she wore the sundress and hoop earrings I bought her in Montauk, the Society wouldn’t take her seriously. That’s her problem: she goes out of her way to make sure she’s perceived as a serious person. Problem is, if she’s always shifting from one serious persona to the next to suit whatever boyfriend or craft project she’s into, how can she can’t expect to be taken seriously by anyone who knows her for longer than one persona? When she was building model airplanes she’d wear nerdy outfits, sexy nerdy outfits. An I ♥ LIBRARIAN BOYS button was usually on her tote bag. Now that she’s won this award she’ll move on, hopefully to something that calls for sensible clothes. Like graphic design. Those graphic design girls always look sharp. Jesus H., of course it’s good at every Michaels. Who asks a question like that into a microphone?

Next: The Fox in the Garage Part 4: Our Game

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