Saturday, October 5, 2013

Negative Space


As I begin this post, it is 2335. I have spent the day running from place to place, getting work done, in class, homework, college essays, all sorts of schmutz. We just got our envelopes of raffle tickets to sell for the band fundraiser, so the next three weeks I'm going to be wearing my salesperson hat a lot more than I'd like. These are the same weeks in which I'm going to be getting all my EA materials ready.

Oh, and I got home at around 2230 from the first home football game of the year. Extremely fun (lower brass <3) but exhausting. Spending time with people all day today has not been good for me.

What I need: space and time and peace and quiet.

Space: a door to shut. No one around me, no one even near me, no one even thinking about intruding on my domain. A locked door that no one can touch and live. Do I sound extreme? In all honesty: I feel, truly and completely, as though I would be happier if I had a tower to which I could go, a tower with a barrier around it. Anyone who tried to contact me while I was in the tower - anyone who would bother me - would die, instantly, and never trouble me again.

Time: I need to be able to sit down with something to do, no deadline, no other pressing concerns, nothing and no one to intrude on my mental space. I need to be able to focus completely on one thing without worrying what other important tasks are getting shafted while I do the first thing. No deadlines (less than a month to do all the EA stuff...) (also my permit expires in February).

Peace: no worries. No one trying to talk to me. No need to be anywhere, to walk quickly, to frown. No war with myself, either, second-guessing and criticizing everything I do and say and think and feel. No war with others - because there are no others.

Quiet: no one talking. No one placing demands on my time, my energy, my emotions (which, by the way, exist). No one. What I need is solitude, solitude of the Rilke kind where you can "walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours." The kind where everything external falls silent and the small quiet things within you can relax. When you can just be yourself without having to defend what that is; when your border guards can put up their arms and go to sleep.


Negative space is underrated.

Every week in Lit we have a "weekly poem" on which we practice close reading. This week's poem was "Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock", by Wallace Stevens:
The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches Tigers
In red weather.

My Lit teacher had us write on the symbolism of the colors and the clothing in the poem, and practically everyone who he called on said, "The white night-gowns represent a lack of imagination in the townspeople and their conformist mindset."

Me: wait. No.

White is perhaps the default color (I'm not talking about race at all in this post, don't take it that way). People who choose colorful things are obviously making a choice, taking control of how they want others to perceive them. White, as the default, tells you nothing, so people like my classmates assume that choosing white - choosing the default, the simple, the plain - is saying nothing.

Me: wait. No.

I choose the default regularly. My favorite soda: clear. My favorite ice cream: vanilla. My favorite bagel: plain. My walls: practically bare. Etc. People have told me to my face that I'm boring. And yeah, it sure looks like that, doesn't it? Maybe I am boring - but choosing color does not automatically create a personality, and a clothes drawer full of black and blue does not automatically disqualify me from being not-a-robot.

Negative space is powerful. If you don't believe me, look at this painting, or this illustration, or this papercutting image. White space is important. It makes for lovely images, as evidenced above. It makes code more readable. Negative space is room in which to breathe, and reason knows that is what I need now.

If I write anymore right now, it'll turn into (more of) a rant. So good night, or good morning, as you prefer.


On repeat recently:

Ride - Lana Del Rey

Yes, it's Lana Del Rey. Judge me.

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