Turning trash into art is like meditation.
MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE ART OF MARITA DINGUS BY STACY LAWSON 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 34
In 1988 I purchased a necklace from my friend Jacqui’s boutique, Jordan, on Fifth and Pine Street in downtown Seattle. It was one of the few things in the shop that I could afford. Fifty dollars was a good part of my weekly budget then. I fell for this homely piece–a loose-limbed female figure made of wire, beads, and scrap fabric with skinny plexi-glass arms and legs that dangled from its body. The pendant hung on a chain of leather cord and odd-metal links. I loved the way it moved as I walked, clacking softly like a small wind chime. I loved its expression of surprise drawn in ballpoint. Unfortunately, I lost it before I understood that it was more than just a quirky necklace made of junk. It was a Marita Dingus original. It was the start of my love affair with an artist, her work, her process, her philosophy, and her drive to speak about difficult subjects in a medium other than words.
Now, 25 years later, Dingus–a thin youthful woman turning 60 with coca-colored skin, a warm smile, and an array of graying dreds–is a well-respected assemblage artist. Since childhood she has made art from found objects. She is a dumpster diver, an environmental steward, a human-rights activist, and a librarian of human waste. In her own words, “I use things that people no longer see value in.” Stuff most of us would call trash. A wad of soiled electrical tape becomes a black rose when straightened and curled around itself. An empty plastic spool from thread becomes the torso for a doll. Dingus has a sensitivity to wastefulness that is common for those who survived the Great Depression, which she didn’t but her parents did.
NOGALES, MI by HENK HOPMAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 34
UNIDENTIFIED BRIGHT OBJECT BY JOHN MARTIN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 34
Let my mother tell it, I’ve been writing since I was a kindergartener. I would write on everything from napkins, to cereal boxes, to letters given to her by my great grandmother. There’s just something about getting lost in a writing world that I create. Wherever that world takes me there’s no stress, no recollection of time, just a pen, a blank sheet of paper, and my thoughts.
I’m Jimmy. James Prenatt sounds more writerly. If you know what it’s like to be in that white room, I’m here to talk. A few adjectives, or whatever: sadomasochist, sometimes model, frequent people watcher, student loan in-debter, mover of people’s useless stuff.
Facebook: Jimmy Prenatt
I was born in São Paulo, Brazil in 1972. As a child during summer vacations on my paternal grandfather’s farm, I would play with the workers’ children and was fascinated by the stories they told. Bone is set in a fictionalized version of the farm, where the gulf between the workers’ lives and that of the owners was wide and sometimes insurmountable.
I have a BA in English from the University of California, Berkeley (1994), an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University (1998), and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park (2006). My writing has been published in two anthologies, Luso-American Literature: An Anthology of Writings by Portuguese-Speaking Peoples in North America, edited by Robert Moser and Luciano Tosta (Rutgers UP, 2011), and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourteenth Annual Collection, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (St. Martin’s Press, 2001). I have had stories published in such journals as Nimrod, Colorado Review, and the Berkeley Fiction Review, and have had poems published in 1 Over the 8 and the Berkeley Poetry Review. I have also had a couple of scholarly articles published in symploke and The Southern Quarterly.
The fact that I’ve led a parallel existence as a writer in high tech, writing dry documents for technicians and bureaucrats, may be in part responsible for my skepticism around the creative process. As a writer in business there is almost always an outline to follow, and the content to be communicated, the ideas to be conveyed, are always known in advance of the act of writing them down. When compared to this sort of writing the act of creation can seem almost profane.
My work has been published in Per Contra, Bias Onus Quarterly, Black Lantern Publishing, The Externalist, Curbside Splendor, Work Literary Magazine, and The Common. email@example.com
I am irreverent–yet a good woman, wife, mother, daughter, citizen, teacher. And, I can be awful too. Let’s not count the ways. Leave it that I frustrate easily, have no mechanical aptitude, and I have a mild case of oppositional defiance disorder. I will not stop arguing if I believe that I am right.
My written work has been published in Under the Sun, Drash Northwest Mosaic, r.kv.r.y quarterly literary journal, Raven Chronicles, and Sunday Ink: Works by the Uptown Writers.
Writing forces me to look closer, to look again. Writing reminds me of the fact that people can be cruel or humane when the situation calls for it, and are capable of performing both horrifying and beautiful feats when inspired.
I have published a collection of short stories and two novels in Dutch. My story Early Bird is published in 34thParallel Magazine Issue 25. firstname.lastname@example.org
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