brainy, brainy, brainy

As you may have read on my Twitter, I’ve been working on a collage project based around one song. Brainy by The National is quite dark and sombre, in one sense, but I have always related to it and projected my own experiences onto it. Its lyrics are cryptic, and can be twisted around in lots of different ways, to make different stories. I chose three of my favourite lines, and made them into a trilogy. This song has strong associations for me - as do a lot of other tracks by The National. They are a melancholic band, in general, but if you don’t mind that, and want to listen to something that can sum up the whole wasteful, razor-sharp joy-explosion we call existence, then do check them out. After Brainy, listen to Start A War, and then Anyone's Ghost.

Anyway, after my recent journal-style collages, I wanted to do something based around Brainy, simply because it feels natural and necessary to me, at this stage in my life. Its words are quite close to ‘the bottom’ of it all. I am hoping I won’t have to dig much further, and that I will exhaust myself soon. I hope some of you might be able to relate to the words here, and see a place to use them in your own mind and life.

‘Brainy 1: You’re The Tall Kingdom I Surround’

Art Bloggers Holly Cassell
‘Brainy 2: You Might Need Me More Than You Think You Will’

Art Bloggers Holly Cassell
‘Brainy 3: You Keep Changing Your Fancy, Fancy Mind’

Art Bloggers Holly Cassell

you know my darling I can’t stand to sleep alone


DSCF9226DSCF9236DSCF9242DSCF9235DSCF9224DSCF9241

So yeah, I’ve just been rolling around on my bed and whatnot. It is so warm in the evenings now that I can hardly sleep. During the day I keep busy, and am calm, productive, and sane. But at night it becomes so much harder to keep memories from haunting me, and destructive, masochistic fantasies from crawling through my skin like the heat. I don’t know why I torture myself by imagining painful things that might never happen – it is hard enough, surely, to cope with the things that have? Perhaps I am trying to re-write history, and create  new endings in my mind. Sometimes an ending just doesn’t seem to ‘fit’ what came before, and so we keep going over it in our minds, seeing it differently every time, until we find a version that we can live with.

It got me thinking about Juliet, and how she waited, and waited, and waited on her wedding night, full of fear and apprehension. I am not really waiting for anybody, in that sense. But I think I know how she would have felt, imagining the violence that could be keeping her beloved away from her. She would have tossed and turned, and refused to eat dinner, and bitten her nails until they bled. And most of the time she would have looked like a hollowed-out version of herself, her eyes not seeing, her ears not hearing. But then in moments she would remember what night it was, and smile.

it's in my honey, it's in my milk


DSCF9183


























I have been told it is simply a standard of the human condition to feel inadequate, or as if we are all somehow lacking. I would definitely agree that most people experience jealousy, envy, self-doubt, self-hatred and fear in their lives (in fact it’s probably a rare person who doesn’t experience at least one of those on a daily basis) and yet we still feel so isolated from the rest of the world when we do. It is easy to imagine everyone else’s life as being perfect, and everyone else’s mind to be free from despair. We like to glamorize the lives we cannot really see, or the things we haven’t got, because that feeds our own pain, our own ‘lack’. It keeps us constantly thinking and acting like wounded people, who can never really accept love or praise, because some part of us believes that we do not deserve it - that love, at best, is a mistake, and if people could see who we really are, how boring/ugly/talentless/stupid/ordinary, then they would think differently. We like happiness best when it is just out of reach.

When I started blogging I was scared about the kind of things people would say. I had premonitions of hate mail filling up my inbox, and nasty comments about my looks, or my artwork, or my writing. I expected very little from myself, and from the world. But the response I have gotten for just being me has been beautiful, and humbling. I have had nothing but kind words and generosity from all of you, and I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am for that. And yet, despite this amazing, welcoming response, there is a part of me that feels detached from it, the way I do when someone gives me a compliment in person. It feels surreal. When I read comments, sometimes it is like you’re all talking about somebody else. When I started I would have believed that having as many followers as I do now would make me feel confident, satisfied, validated. But of course it hasn’t. It doesn’t really work that way. We are always looking ahead towards a time that never arrives. The truth is that when we do arrive at such-and-such a place – when we have 1000 followers, or graduate, or get skinnier, or find the perfect lover who will make us feel perfect too – it feels exactly the same. Because we are exactly the same.  And deep down, we still believe that who we are is nothing special.

Too many times in my life have I been with my friends, or at a party, or laying on the grass in the sun, and felt a terrible wave of melancholy come over me because of someone, anyone, who happened not to be there. The one thing that I do not have becomes the centre of my universe, until it is all I can focus on, all I can see. A part of me knows it is an illusion, but sometimes it is too strong for me to break, and I lose myself in imagined suffering, that can never be healed because it is not real. This constant yearning for something unobtainable is a paralysing emotion. It eats up your whole life.

Lately I have been trying to keep busy, and use all my energy. But I have reached a point where I’m not really sure what to do next, both with my blog and with my life in general. I feel in a bit of a rut. I have ideas about printing a zine, compiled of past posts, artwork, and photos. Or maybe writing a photo-book, or printing my collages. I am very drawn to studying Art Foundation, although the logistics of that might be complicated. I know that if I do any of these things, I’m still going to feel like me. I’ll still have the same problems, the same doubts, the same fears. But the more we try to understand how there is nothing we could do that will make us feel like a success, the easier it is to let the whole idea of success just disappear, and start wondering what it is we really want. Not because it will make us happy – but because we are happy, and need not search any more.

I won’t treat you like you’re oh so typical


Art Bloggers Holly CassellArt Bloggers Holly CassellArt Bloggers Holly CasellArt Bloggers Holly CassellArt Bloggers Holly CassellArt Bloggers Holly CassellArt Bloggers Holly CassellArt Bloggers Holly CassellArt Bloggers Holly CassellArt Bloggers Holly Cassell
This group are called Pupil, Angel, Pain, I’m Too Old For This Shit, Siren, It Scares Me When You Go Quiet, Virgin: 2, Alice, I’m Being Very Grown-Up, and Miss Artist.

The text in Virgin: 2 (the title of this post) is from Closer by Tegan and Sara. The ‘tears’ in Pupil and I’m Being Very Grown-Up are made out of rhinestones that I glued on individually. A little tip to anyone considering doing that – to allow good time, put aside at least the rest of your natural life. Yeah.

It’s still all about sex, let’s be honest, but it’s becoming more like therapy than anything else. Some of the words are ‘mine’, and some of them are ‘his’. I set out to explore role-play, but now I just want to purge myself of thoughts/memories that I believe will harm me in some way if I leave them to digest, or fester (emotional bulimia is the driving-force behind everything I do, apparently *sigh*). I was worried that if I stopped making them I might fall into a pitiful heap on the floor next to a bottle of vodka, start crying uncontrollably, and maybe never get up. At least… not for a couple of days. Or until I needed to pee. But instead I am sunbathing, smoking in my garden, trying to eat healthily, and making sure I’m never too far away from my acid-free glue stick. I’m also trying to keep up with the whole shaven-legs thingy, just for the sake of my own self-esteem. That’s probably a good idea, no? I would hate to have to do another major-deforestation. That would make me feel less-than-special.

Also, gorgeous Bianca from Lo-Lee-Ta inspired me to set up a page for my artwork, which you can find by clicking the new picture in my sidebar. From now on, whenever I post new collages or drawings, they’ll be added to my artwork page afterwards, so if you want to view a specific piece, or browse, you can just go there rather than look for it in my archive.