This is a collection of random questions asked of me. And I also randomly drew a person from the questions post. And that number EIGHT and that winner is SARA from Heart Heal Hope, who I adore. YAY! You get to choose either-- They Were Still Born, which my essay "Mothering Grief" appears in, In the Midst of Winter, or GNOMES. Just email me, love, and I will get it off in the mail to you soon. Onto the questions...
Monique: Who has been the kindest to you in your life? Pre & post loss, b/c I imagine there is likely a difference.
Wow, Monique, this is a great question. And really difficult to answer. I have had many kind things done for me. Stuff that still give me chills, breathtaking one time incidents done by people who had nothing to gain. Currently, I have someone who is anonymously sending me awesome things to read--an event flyer to an art show in San Francisco by Yoshitomo Nara, one of my favorite artists, and Francisco Goldman's new book. While those incidents are great anecdotes, I have been surrounded by kindness and love in my family for my whole life. And so, I think I have to go with my family, both before and after. Their kindnesses are so usual and daily that I tend to just see their kindness as part of the fabric of my life.
My twin sister and my mother are there unconditionally for me and my family. They both mourned Lucia’s death deeply and still mourn her. So, even if those I feel uncomfortable in the rest of the world, some days, in my family, my sister and mother treat Lucy like a normal part of our family. We had some difficult moments, my mother and I, after Lucia died, because my mother was so grief-stricken and so was I. We are a little too similar emotionally. Too self-reliant. But we moved through it, somehow, and are in a good place.
I talk to my twin sister every day at least once. Most days, three or four times throughout the day, and we play Scrabble on Facebook, and sometimes we even email. If I have an event, she always offers to go with me, just to hang out and drive with me, or soothe my nerves. She also makes me granola every week or so that is gluten free and delicious. She sews for me. I drop my children off whenever I need, and she is always enthusiastic to have them.
In fact, both my mother and sister act like I am giving them a gift when they watch my children or do me any favor. If they find me difficult, they never let me know. And I must be difficult. I also talk to my mother at least four times a week, I think. My mother is incredibly generous and loving. As an adult after my divorce, we became quite close and spent most weekends together drinking wine and gossiping. I can’t catalogue all the things they have done for me. But let’s put it this way, if I wrote a blog post complaining about my mother (And she does drive me crazy some days.) and she read it, she would probably say, “Oh, Angel, you are such a good writer. You really should write a book.”
Nerissa: My question is this. I vaguely remember a post in glow shortly after I contacted you. Did you date a boy named Holden in high school? And if so did you mention his name just for me? I felt like you did. Just because we love to see and hear our babies names so much.
Yes, I did date a boy named Holden when I was in college. He was a wonderful guy--smart, handsome, funny. He was on College Jeopardy. I loved his name because I loved the Catcher in the Rye and was vaguely obsessed with J.D. Salinger. And maybe I did mention his name because of your Holden, Nerissa. Your Holden and my Holden are the only two Holdens I have ever met. Beautiful name. Beautiful boy, yours I mean.
Mary Beth : OK, this is a random one: I love your Lucia tattoo and have been contemplating getting one myself (well, a Calla one, obvs!). ANYWAY, how much did it hurt to get it in that particular spot? I have no other tattoos, andI like that spot, but I think it's going to really be painful.
Actually, it wasn't that painful at all. I have one other tattoo on my back in between my shoulder blades. I see tattoos there quite a bit now, but when I got it done in 1995, I didn't know anyone with a tattoo there. That was painful when it went over the spine. I played chess the whole time I was being tattooed and every time the tattooist hit my spine, my hand would make this weird involuntary movement that knocked all my chess pieces off the table.
I know we aren't talking about that tattoo, but I never get to share that little weird anecdote.
My wrist tattoo took ten minutes, perhaps less. It cost me $50, and it hurt like it hurts when you get a sunburn, only concentrated in one spot. I have a high tolerance for pain, so perhaps I am not the person to ask. But I can only say this, I love it. I love having it. I love seeing her name right there. I only wish I had figured out a way to do all my children. I only have two wrists.
Angie: When are you coming west?
How I wish I could. Can we set up an Angie out-west fund?
Maddie: When are you coming to Australia to visit? Loving your wise words always.
How I wish I could. Can we set up an Angie to Australia fund?
Heather: Do you have any pictures of Lucy that you display openly in your home?
No, I don't. Well, I have one little itty bitty one in a Dia de los Muertos ofrenda-like frame that I have in my studio. I close it up when I am not painting, but when I paint, I open it up. I have a picture of me pregnant with Lucia, the one in the about Lucia section, framed and in my bedroom. But my husband feels like he can't see her picture everyday, and I have tried to respect that, even though it breaks my heart into a thousand pieces.
loribeth: I'm curious: did you ever study art at school, or is it simply something you do?
I did go to art school from the time I was in second grade. Everyone I knew had their thing. My sister loved ballet, but I just didn't know what my thing was. So my mother sent me to the local Art Museum's classes, and I did that for a few years until I found gymnastics and that became my thing. In college, I first majored in Film, then I dropped out and traveled around. I moved to Tucson, Arizona, and began working with an artist there as a kind of assistant, finisher. I painted the mural she designed, or she did the lettering and I painted. I also worked with her to come up with freelance designs of logos and other things. I designed a band logo, and then they tattooed themselves with my design. It was cool. I think about five people have tattoos with doodles I made. I designed a logo for a dude who invented a home coffee roaster. I was paid a hundred bucks and got a free roaster, which I still have. I always did art in one way or another. When I finally finished my degree, I did take a few more drawing classes. I always thought deep down I was a potter, even though I have never thrown a pot in my life.