Creativity PIQ

My creativity is expressed in everything I do––from the blog posts I write for journalism, to the way I dress, and even how I move along a wave when I’m surfing––but ceramics is the place where my creativity is communicated best. It wasn’t always this way, though… 

From the time I started in fourth grade, all the way until junior year, I believed that the ceramic pieces I created needed a function. I thought throwing a cup, bowl, or vase made more sense than making a sculptural piece. It wasn’t that I didn’t see the value of a sculpture or a piece of art, rather, I did not believe myself to be an artist, and so, my job was to make utilitarian items. I didn’t know it then, but how I treated my ceramics tied deeply to how I thought about the world. I believed that utility was more important than beauty. 

The shift occurred after a new ceramics teacher came to my school––she pushed me to use ceramics to express myself. I began to infuse my pieces with creativity, and, just like that, my life became full of creativity too. I created pieces whose sole purpose was to be viewed: teapots that would never hold tea and bowls that I’d never eat cereal from. I put concepts into my work, and my pieces or collections meant something—they didn’t just fulfill a purpose, they stood as a physical representation of an idea. This allowed me to better understand what a piece will mean rather than what a piece will do. The saturation of creativity in my ceramics changed how I thought about the world. I now understand that there is value in something that is simply beautiful. 

We all are artists inside––all we have to do is add a little creativity to the many mundane tasks we complete. Now, even when I write a regular essay, or get ready for the day, I push myself to instill elements of creativity into my presentation.

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PC (your mom)

light

At the end of each day, when I get out of the shower and brush my hair in the reflection of my steam-coated mirror, I contemplate quite possibly every decision I’ve ever made. I feel the water trickle down the arch of my spine and across my lower back. I let it drape over my shoulders, forcing together flexibility with stillness. I look at myself and no longer criticize. My head turns to the right side as I study the curvature that makes up my exterior. Every night a light seeps into me, it gives me the ability to feel and describe. I feel everything, every drop of water or word spoken. They mean something to me, my mind feeds off of the ability to experience a sensation. My vertebrae twist and my chest crawls outwards, My feet no longer touch the ground and I levitate upwards, the light carries me. My fingertips fall numb and the air expands. A million particles and breaths fill the vastness of the atmosphere. I am nothing and everything all at once. The light swarms me and slithers across my surface. It intertwines with my fingers and the crooks of my neck. It mangles my hair, stretches my skin. It opens my eyes and locks my jaw. It wrenches my shoulders back and opens my throat. I am not me, not without my light. I can’t control her, she flows within me. Her essence seethes through my bones and brings life to my nerves. Her glow leaks out of my mouth and ears, dripping off the tip of my tongue. The layer that separates the world from my organs melts away and leaves me with only a soul. My body means nothing, the only truth I know is my mind and soul. She festers within me. At the end of each night, I look into her hollowed eyes, and thank my tired light. She lets me feel.

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dravin

Everyone has that one person who propels you forward, who supports you when times get tough and it seems like you are drowning. To me, that person is Dravin. She has been my life preserve, my oxygen mask. I do not think she knows how much she has changed my life, how much she means to me.

Dravin helped me when no one did. She helped that young 10-year-old who thought life was not worth it and made it her mission to make sure it was. She helped that twelve-year-old girl who almost let the bullies win. She helped that fourteen-year-old who moved away because she knew it was best for herself. She helped that sixteen-year-old try and gather the pieces of a broken relationship. She helped that almost eighteen-year-old with her first breakup and told her that life will go on even if it does not feel like it right now.

From the beginning, she was the most understanding soul. She would give me paint and crayons and tell me to “create masterpieces for me,” so that my mind was at ease. She knew how hard it was for me to express my feelings, so she distracted me. She created this safe space for me. A place where I could speak freely without any judgment. A place where I could have a shoulder to cry on. Even when she was with her family, she would take my calls and help me with my breathing.

Dravin saved me. I owe my life to her, but I know that she would just say that she is doing her job.

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pc: me

home

This is a part of my Home essay for AP English.

I love to read. I read romance, mystery, horror, and post-apocalyptic novels. Every corner of my room is coated in books that scale about halfway up my wall. I have nowhere to put them. 

Ideally, in the future or in another life, I would have a beautiful living room painted white with cream sofas and high ceilings. The windows would take up the majority of the walls, letting sunlight flood the room like maple syrup drizzling over the top of a pancake. There would be a big fireplace that would provide warmth throughout the winter. 

There would be huge bookshelves that would match the size of the redwoods outside, filled with stories and characters. Hundreds of different realities would exist in that room. Making me feel as though mine is not nearly as big as I like to think. There would be many different places that I could settle for the day as I crawl into an alternate universe. Plants would perch around the room granting oxygen and life. 

My kitchen would be dark green with walnut counters and an antique stained glass chandelier glowing amongst the space. Windows in the kitchen would open letting in the warm evening air that swept across the orchards outside. My bedroom would have a huge fluffy white bed that would swallow me with sheer curtains that would flow like waves merging with the sand. 

Trees would shower the land surrounding my home creating a never-ending forest. A place where my mind could drift endlessly. My yard would have an old pool like the ones in Italy, they are like springs built with mossy stone that hold countless memories. 

I would have a big dining room with a long table that way every person I love has a seat. A large wooden record player would sit atop a mid-century modern cabinet. All of my favorite songs would echo throughout the walls that held me up.

I dream of a place that is serene and isolated from the business that infests the world. A place where my mind can slow and breathe the air that roams across the surface of the earth. A place where the world can be perceived similar to the way it once was before humans imprinted on it. I dream of a place where I can take a deep breath because I feel at ease rather than anxious. 

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pc: me 🙂

Reading Journal on Dr. Faustus i was kinda proud of

Beginning in the 1500s when Dr. Faustus was written and spanning to the modern era, the human race has pushed the boundaries of what is natural and tried to become gods. We invented the astrolabe, conquered the seven seas, built nations on the destruction of entire peoples, and constructed skyscrapers which seem to defy every idea of what is possible. Our health has improved, we’ve made life convenient beyond belief, but despite all this achievement we, like Marlowe’s arrogant celebutante “yet art thou still but Faustus, and a man.” 

For the past few hundred years mankind has become increasingly involved with the same internal struggle as Faustus. Each new level of knowledge we acquire we become more careless and ignorant. Everytime some new process or physic principle is discovered we slip deeper into the Faustian bargain we call progress. This rat race for discovery becomes paired with this nonsensical notion that we are the only important thing on the planet and that we deserve everything which we can fathom and more. This is the mindset which sent Faustus to eternal damnation, and this is the mindset which plagues the modern world. Regardless of all the power we may accumulate over the natural world we still are humans, flawed forever by stagnant ideas and held to earth by the unrelenting and unstoppable march towards death. 

 As private school educated students from generally wealthy families, fiscally or situationally, it is easy for us to fall into the Faustian mindset. I’ve been at fault of this, my friends, my family, and classmates––all at some point have looked at the world and thought “I deserve more”. This mindset ruins the last humanity which wisps gently between us, we become stale, ignorant, and spoiled, unable to understand that there are other people around, and even more so, other things. We all too easily divulge in the trap that we can do what we want to the world without consequence. 

Just as Faustus enjoyed his twenty four years of power which ended in a no bit unexpected end, mankind is still enjoying its twenty four years marching towards an end we can all see and yet choose to believe is not real. Like Faustus, humans are just people who happen to be in situations of extraordinary power. 

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My Dark Vanessa (TW)

Im going to give a fair warning that this topic is very triggering and revolves around sexual abuse. You do not have to read this.

I am going to give a few quotes from my favorite book, it is about an abusive relationship between a 15 year old girl and a 42 year old man that is meant to be romanticized. This book is beautifully written and incredibly alluring. It is also twisted and deranged and made me question every single person in my life. The ability to manipulate as well as a sexual abuser is terrifyingly fascinating. This book made me nauseous, and can be painful to read but i think about it everyday and in no way regret a second of the time spent reading it.

“Because even if I sometimes use the word abuse to describe certain things that were done to me, in someone else’s mouth the word turns ugly and absolute. It swallows up everything that happened.”

“It’s strange to know that whenever I remember myself at fifteen, I’ll think of this.”

“I wonder how much victimhood they’d be willing to grant a girl like me.” This particular quote made me sick and furious because it is clear that he manipulated her into thinking every situation was her choice.

“Kneeling before me, he lays his head on my lap and says, ‘I’m going to ruin you.” I cried during this chapter, this feeling was so claustrophobic especially when having to watch Vanessa know nothing of what was being done to her, that was the most painful feeling.

“He touched me first, said he wanted to kiss me, told me he loved me. Every first step was taken by him. I don’t feel forced, and I know I have the power to say no, but that isn’t the same as being in charge. But maybe he has to believe that. Maybe there’s a whole list of things he has to believe.”

“He’s always going to be old. He has to be. That’s the only way I can stay young and dripping with beauty.”

“He’s the only person who ever understood that desire. Not to die, but to already be dead.”

“An older man using a girl to feel better about himself – how easily the story becomes a cliché if you look at it without the soft focus of romance”

“It’s easy to pinpoint when it all started, that moment of walking into his sun-soaked classroom and feeling his eyes drink me in for the first time, but it’s harder to know when it ended, if it really ended at all. I think it stopped when I was twenty-two, when he said he needed to get himself together and couldn’t live a decent life while I was within reach, but for the past decade there have been late-night calls, him and me reliving the past, worrying the wound we both refuse to let heal.”

“It’s just that I’m depraved, my mind so warped by Strane that I misinterpret innocent favoritism as sexual interest.”

“I think we’re very similar, Nessa,” he whispers. “From the way you write, I can tell you’re a dark romantic like me. You like dark things.”

My mind screamed throughout the entirety of this book, it begged for her to run, it wondered if she should stay. And in the end, I realized what this book was meant to do. It is meant to show you how hard it is to say who did it.

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carolina

I’m choosing to write about my best friend this week. Most of my friends know who she is because she’s a pretty common topic of conversation for me. Carol is 17, she was born on May 31st, 2005. She is 5’5 and has long dark hair. Her eyes are the color of molasses and her cheeks are always pink. I’ve never loved someone outside of my mom, dad, or brother as much as I love Carol. Vaughn and Carol are good friends, she’s always nice to him even though he’s younger. She helped me see him as more of a friend than a sibling and I will always be grateful for that. My mom and dad love her, they always say that she’s the best friend I’ve ever had and if she ever needs somewhere to stay they will have her with open arms. Carol sleeps at my house every Friday after school and we haven’t missed more than two weekends for an entire year. We like to eat with my family and watch movies and play with my kitten. She never brings clothes and keeps a toothbrush in the cabinet. She smells like peaches. She makes me laugh harder than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. It often hurts because of how hard she makes me laugh. Her smile makes me want to cry because I know that she doesn’t always see how beautiful she is. I tell her, I just hope she listens. She makes me feel better about myself and showed me self-respect. She will always be honest even if she knows it will hurt your feelings and I wouldn’t trade that about her for anything. I can always count on her to defend me in the case that I need defending. We share a closet and go to Starbucks almost every Saturday. Carol will give you her whole heart, and it takes a lot for her to take it back. She always gives me second chances even when I feel like I don’t deserve them. She is amazing at volleyball and going to her games every Tuesday makes me so so proud. She is passionate and smart and kind-hearted. Carol is the strongest person I know and I often stay up at night wondering how she does it. I love her and I would give my life so that she could live hers. Nobody makes me feel as loved as Carolina.

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scraping

There is one word to describe the feeling that I’ve had all day. Scraping. my soul has been aching to claw its way out of me. I know what it wants, it wants to rip my chest open and thrust its way through the bars. My mind is filled with serrated lines shooting across the interior of my skull. I shake because I am so trapped in here. When I look in the mirror I can feel my eyes fall back into my head as they drown in the screams that shatter throughout my brain. I can not see myself. Why can’t I see myself? No matter how hard I glare at myself in the reflection I’ve trained to stay still, I can see my face morph and melt into the person I try so desperately to hide. I like to imagine my hands pulling my face as they slide across my skin, dissolving the only thing that is truly there with me at the end of each night. My skin tingles all the time, it radiates through me like small bursts of electricity stopping the beat of my heart with each one. It was supposed to be easy, “crying doesn’t make things better” I was trained for this. I was trained for this straight face and beautiful smile. Why can’t I see myself? “No one will feel sorry for you with that look on your face” I’m sorry, the tears burn their way through the gloss that shields my emotionless face. They leave scars you know, the tears, they ruin the smile. I was taught to cry only in front of a mirror, that way I can watch them disintegrate my complexion, I force myself to watch as I express the most basic human emotion and torture myself at the very same time. This is how I was taught to feel so excruciatingly uncomfortable in my very own skin.

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A little thing on Judy Chicago

Judy Chicago is a feminist artist, whose work, although initially rejected, pushed the art world to accept feminism and has defined feminist art to this day. 

Judy Chicago was born in 1939 in Chicago (initially with the last name Cohen). She was raised in a wealthy Jewish family who supported her career in the arts, this support allowed her to begin pursuing art from the age of 5. As a result of this early start, each of Chicago’s later pieces is defined by her adept artist skills and technical feats. Being a woman in the art world hegemonized by men pushed her towards her radicalized artwork. In 1965, Chicago released a modern art piece of a series of rainbow beams leaning against a wall, when art critic Walter Hopps saw the piece he largely ignored it and talked to the other male artists in the room. Years after, Chicago and Hopps met again and he told her, that his ignorance was a result of surprise at the high level of her work. Sexism from the world and critics was and continues to be, the major inspiration for her work. The most famous of these pieces is “The Dinner Party” 

In 1979 Chicago revealed an enormous project that covered over 1,100 square feet and marks her most influential piece. The piece consisted of a tile floor, three 48-foot-long tables which created the perimeter, and 39 ceramic plates which gave a spot to an influential woman in history. This piece required years of work to complete and the help of over 400 volunteers. In order to complete this feat, Chicago and her team threw, handbuilt, slab built, and slip-cast the pieces. They also employed painting, sewing, and building skills. Inscribed on the tile floor were the names of 999 influential women whose names were largely unknown or forgotten. The piece is both a respectful homage to the powerful women who came before her and a satirical understanding of the nonsensical notion of man’s power. Each of the 39 plates took a vulvaic form, this, although initially thought of as pornographic and unnecessary, defined the piece as a straightforward and “audacious” piece of art that holds a firm grip on what it means to be a feminist in art. The New York Times described the piece in 2018 writing on Judy Chicago as “a repository of women’s history” and remarked on the assumed humor of the piece had it been released in the modern world: “The audacity of “The Dinner Party,” its rhetorical energy, its humor (the vulva plates are, among other things, a play on what it might be like if women took as much pride in their anatomy as men did)”. 

Despite its initial rejection from the art world Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” has been tremendously influential to art in its category and marked the first of its kind of feminist art piece. Chicago trailblazed as a leader in the largely male art world of the time and continued to this day as a radical artist and strong feminist. “The Dinner Party” is now a permanent exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and continues to inspire the feminist movement and female artists and non-artist alike. Judy Chicago and “The Dinner Party” remain the unambiguous “Godmother” of feminism in the arts. 

Pc: New York Times

NOW

Honestly, I don’t know if I like Charles Bukowski but I love his work. I first discovered his poetry a year ago and I was just smitten with his spot-on/blunt observations of life. It’s funny though because he has this ‘don’t try too hard kind of attitude that I really don’t empathize with and he’s also kind of gross and offensive, yet I’m totally enamored with his humor and wit.

I can’t tell you what my ‘favorite’ poem by him is, because that changes all the time. They’re consistently clever and I could read his work all day. I thought of his poem “NOW” though, while I was thinking of what to even write today.

NOW

I sit here on the 2nd floor

hunched over in yellow

pajamas

still pretending to be

a writer.

some damned gall,

at 71,

my brain cells eaten

away by

life.

rows of books

behind me,

I scratch my thinning

hair

and search for the

word.

Obviously, this is about writer’s block, and yeah that just resonated with me while I was thinking of what to even write this afternoon.

If you want to laugh, I recommend his poem “Flophouse”, if you want to be inspired, I recommend “Roll the Dice” or “How is your Heart”, and if you want to think, I would read “The Genius of the Crowd” or “Dinosauria, We.” Also, all the poems he wrote about his cats are fantastic.

PC: https://www.thegreatcat.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Bukowski-and-Black-Cat.jpg