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Space between friends

Relegated to the closet

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Lord Jesus God, I can't believe Grant is relegating me to the storage closet of his loft during the Telephone Factory annual studio tour so he can devote his entire gallery to his "Sister Louisa" craptastic, trailer-vangelism artwork. That's right, his storage closet! His full-of-crap storage closet, from which he wants me to move said crap in order for there to be room for me to show my wares – and I don't even have wares. All I have are books, the covers for which Grant designed in his Sister Louisa motif his – own goddamn – self!

"You don't seriously expect me to empty out your STORAGE CLOSET and then put all that crap back afterward," I shriek at him. "I teach a seminar there every month! I don't think I'll detract from the atmosphere if I actually get to sit at the table in your goddamn gallery instead of being relegated to the goddamn CLOSET."

Our friend Lynn is showing in Grant's space, too – or I should say his storage space, since he can't part with any of the 1,750 square feet of his actual gallery to give us any real room. And neither of us are even visual artists – I'm an author and Lynn is a filmmaker – so it's not as though we're hawking anything that competes with his Sister Louisa ode-to-anti-folk-art art. Treating me this way is one thing, but Lynn? We both owe Lynn our lives. She is the one who undertook me as a charity project to design my website so that the publisher, when he heard my NPR commentary – which was probably about GRANT – could track me down and offer me a book contract, which led to my Jay Leno appearance, which led to the film deal, which led to Grant getting his goddamn life rights bought by Sony Pictures and his subsequent actual-in-person conversations with Mitch Hurwitz of "Arrested Development" during which – I swear to God – no one but me laughed when Grant announced that, if he couldn't play himself, he would like to be portrayed by Rob Lowe. As far as I'm concerned, Grant should fall over backward and foam at the mouth in gratitude every time he lays eyes on Lynn.

And further insult is his insistence that we move the storage stuff to the studio area of his gallery, which is way nicer than the storage closet he relegated for our use. It's like telling us we're not good enough for the house OR the garage, but we can have the trash can, but first we have to take the trash out of the trash can and move it to the garage, where it's OK for trash to be but not us.

"Bitch," Grant huffs, "I wouldn't let Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior in the gallery during the art show. Don't take it personally, but I'm creating a Sister Louisa vignette. You are welcome to use the storage space, that's it or nothing – and have I told you lately that I love you even though you never learned the word 'boundary'?"

"You selfish ass-tard, you have 1,750 square feet. Vignettes, by definition, are small," I remind him. "Give us the kitchen area at least. Open up. Let us in. Trust the universe, like you keep fucking telling me."

"Don't take it personally ..." he tried again.

"Oh, I officially take it personally."

Let me just take you back in time to the very first Telephone Factory art show ever, when I lived there and Grant was the outsider. Did his ass not show up at my door with a hammer and a bucket of rusty tetanus nails? Did he not set about covering my walls with his "folk art" that essentially consisted of every rusty rat-crap-encrusted bacteria bomb he dug out of the garbage that week? Did he not totally commandeer my whole space, leaving me, literally, five square feet on one wall by the bathroom?

"And the worst part was the spackling afterward!" I remind him. That's right, he left white spackle patches over every single one of the 10 million nail holes he pounded into my green-painted walls. If I did that to him, his whole sphincter would implode like a giant sucking supernova, taking entire city blocks with it. "Did I even complain or care or even make you feel for a second like you were unwelcome or that I didn't want to be associated with your ass or your art?"

In response Grant starts referring to his storage space as his "office," because back when I lived in that exact same loft, that adjoining space was used as an office, as opposed to the eyesore Siberia it now represents. "Forget it, Grant, it's a closet," I say. "You can't keep me in your closet. I need my space."

"And I need my space," he insists.

And that's how it still stands. I have no idea how it will turn out. For all I know, the date of the show will arrive and there we'll still be, the same as we've always been; two old friends jostling for space from one another.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).

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