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4:25 pm | 09 August 2004 | the foxes and Julian Schnabel

TWO BAD THINGS (by way of explanation)
i have been lost a lot. once in youth group when i was 11 or 12 we were playing capture the flag and i roamed waaaaay out in a huge circle behind the other team's flag, thinking i was going to be all stealth/ninja and sneak up from a complete random direction. i followed a stream for a while. i saw a deer skeleton half-lying in the water and was not afraid. after a while the trees started to thin but it was still dark. night was coming on. i wandered through some swamps for a while. the reeds and cattails were very high and the mud sucked up to my knees. i was singing to myself to keep from being frightened and the nightbirds grazed low in the air overhead. i walked forever and i swear to you that there was not one palm-sized chunk of exposed skin left unscratched; i looked like a crosshatched sketch or a shitty photoshop filter. i made it out of the woods three hours after youth group had been called off. the parents hadn't searched, but had been waiting in the parkinglot calling. i couldn't talk for days and my arms and legs looked like shit. later that week they found another little girl's body back there.


the bus i rode to school had to go down a long nearby street to pick up another kid and then turn around and go back to the main road. in third grade one autumn monday the kids started shrieking and pointing out the old ratchety windows at something. off to one side of the cul-de-sac were four foxes that had been skinned and left in a pile. we went past them every day that week and for some reason i couldn't bring it up to my parents; it felt so scary and savage and diseased and horrible that i don't know but i think i thought that saying it aloud would mean that all the bad things i associated with it would be true. the week wore on and every day i was compelled to look at them decaying. i was unable to sleep and just cried at night. on friday finally i went into my mom's room at night and just cried "the foxes, the foxes." she had to call the DNR to go pick them up and i think she got the bus driver in trouble for driving past them every day with a load of little kids and not saying anything. the foxes are the worst symbol of human awfulness i can think of.

a long time ago i said i would tell you about Julian Schnabel and his 1989-1990 paintings called THE BAD SEASON that say THERE IS NO MORE HORRIBLE PLACE ON THIS PLANET THAN A FOX FARM DURING FUR SEASON and i know they are about AIDS but i can't help but look at them thinking about my foxes, too. two years or so after the fox incident my dad and i were driving by a railroad track and there was a dead fox by the side of the road and her kit sat there staring at her body and crying. i pleaded with my dad to let us take it home, tame it, it would be a pet, etc., and he said "that's nature, that's what happens. it has to happen." i swear i am not trying to be macabre or dramatic but i am having a hard time explaining about the foxes. fuck. okay. so i would've liked Julian Schnabel anyway, because he's sort of weird and big and sexy and makes paintings with Bondo and broken crockery, and has this kind of Victorian Romantic heroism thing happening, which after all the cool advertorial indifference of 1950s-2000s art is amazing and visceral &c. he also directed Basquiat and Pollock and Before Night Falls, and is very talented in ways that are not all about spraying body-fluidy paints over broken surfaces, and his other work is very good too, but i am saying that 2000's "Kittens in Underpants" really doesn't have the soul-TKO punch for me that "The Bad Season" sure does. i've got more to say about Julian and more about foxes as well but here ends this weird, depressing entry. sorry! clm.


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unless otherwise noted, all work contained herein is claudia sherman, 2002-04.
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