Ethan Tate

- found a dead cicada, belly-up, on a charcoal drawing i left on the floor of my studio

- i offered it to Isabelle to add to their collection but we both agreed it should stay in its resting place 

- local headline reads: “Winery’s grapes ransacked on eve of harvest”

- co-owner posts on Facebook: “To the pieces of cowardly, human scum that came in the night and stole the grapes from my vines…”

- 8 charcoal drawings, 2 baskets, 3 sculptures, one tiny stuffed dog plushy w/ ears, legs, and face sewn together, dip-dyed black

- hope i don’t get burnt out

- i’ve possessed more mental acuity in the past two weeks than i have in the past two years

- they didn’t have anymore bottled water left at Kroger so we had to buy four 12-packs of seltzer

- riding it out, but together

- i’m going to sew us a table cloth for our group dinners 

- i can’t think of anything more beautiful than a group of people making a point to sit down and eat together

- possible dinner themes: Autumnal Tapas, Gothic Virginia, everything is brown mush, things that you normally cook in the oven but we can’t do that without an oven hmmmm maybe we could use the grill

- possible movie night choices: But I’m a Cheerleader, Scream, Election, Daughters of the Dust, the final speech of R. Budd Dwyer but slowed down so it’s feature length

- every city should have a bright star sitting on the mountainside above it

- my bedside reading table: the daily paper, The Orchid Thief, All About Love, The Gothic, The Body In Pain

- they say life in the south is slowed down but according to a recent poll only 50% of self-identified southerners consider Virginia to be in the south so i guess it makes sense that 50% of my time feels like the really right kind of slowness and the other half feels like i’m getting everything done that needs to get done

Bailey Connolly

It’s Thursday evening and my head is heavy with dread as I take on the role of blogger. I don’t enjoy writing for a public or doing much of anything for a public. When I read aloud at Sunday Supper I could hardly breathe, let alone articulate the text. 

Talk these days is all about disaster. A CBS news video interviews a tour boat captain who plans to ride out the storm on his boat while white birds in the background drop and are swept, struggling to maintain their airborne position. If hyperbole is the mode of Hollywood, what then, is the mode of Florence? Of Roanoke? I think of mean, median, and mode and then of Edna Mode from The Incredibles and how, in the shocking amount of times in my life that she has come to be the subject of conversation, someone remarks that I kind of look like her. A week ago, Ethan returned my green lighter and commented that my floor was pristine. I said that I knew and that I thought it looked like a stage. It also looks like a child’s rendering of the red carpet or a landing strip- floors intended for linear action. A floor for celebrities and for planes. Instead, there is now aluminum on my floor, as well as defrosted peas, dried pasta, some tools, my crocs, and a work in progress. I like peas because for dinner they fit nicely into pasta shells and in that way they are like pearls. I spent today placing peas in the crevices of folded aluminum while also working on some wall works, cutting windows and days into shallow boxes that have come to look a lot like advent calendars, at least the secular ones of today, filled with foiled chocolate gifts and snowflakes. 79 more days in Roanoke and 103 days until Christmas. 

Brandon Sward

Sigmund Freud coined the term Wunscherfüllung(“wish fulfillment”) in The Interpretation of Dreams(1899). Dreams for Freud represent unconscious desires repressed by the ego and superego. During my first week in Roanoke I was startled awake at 4:00 a.m. by a dream that contained what I thought was the idea for a short story. I wrote for almost two hours before I realized it was bad.

Why should a creative impulse be repressed? Indeed, our society seems to valorize creativity above all else, if the current fascination with Silicon Valley and other symbols of tech utopianism are any indication. On the other hand, however, creativity is the ultimate affront to capitalism, insofar as is a form of labor often not immediately productive in the sense of contributing to the purchase and sale of commodities. To create means to bring something into the world no one asked for. It is the purest and strangest activity, and for this reason the most personally gratifying and disconcerting to the powers that be.

And so, I’m conflicted about being a creator, apparently to such a degree that the psychic friction resulting from this conflict can carry me from sleep-depths to waking life.

Once I tweeted, “Do dogs get insomnia,” only to add a few seconds later, “Is insomnia only the product of a capitalist system in which ppl have to be at work by a certain time.”

Luckily I don’t have to be anywhere this month.

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