Before I got my current fulltime job where I get paid to write creatively and research Internet memes all day, writing creatively and researching Internet memes all day was my hobby. Alas, now that that’s “work,” I’ve decided to pick up a new hobby—painting. I won’t lie: I don’t have a lot of experience. Besides elementary school, my only grown-up level art class was Ceramics 101 at Grinnell College. I was OK, but I don’t think I ever excelled. What I have always done, though, is doodle. At my old, boring job, where I was forced to sit through numerous Congressional hearings about mammoth radiation detectors (that is to say large-sized radiation detectors, and not detectors to find radiating prehistoric mammals—that would’ve been much less boring), I used to fill my notebooks with shapes, things, portraits. I drew ex-Senator Norm Coleman so many times that if I consolidated all of them, I could probably make a coffee table book no one would want. But I digress…

I still draw, but not like I used to, probably because I don’t have boring events to sit through anymore. Plus, I’m pretty sure because of those boring events, my brain subconsciously associates drawing with the feeling of being dissatisfied. It thinks, “Well, if Marissa is drawing, it must be because she’s busying her hands so not to take that pencil and stick it in her ear so far it would wound me.” Drawing for me makes the shitty parts of life just bearable enough so I don’t kill myself. It does not take me to a truly happy place.

But abstract painting does. Something about the freedom, the color, the fact that I find myself standing on a chair and humming nonsensical songs to myself while my hands move around the canvas making shapes into scenes… it makes me happy. It also makes me look crazy. But, if I may mouth-trumpet my own mouth-trumpet, the results have been pretty cool so far.


“One on One” — 2012 — Acrylic on canvas — 16 x 20 inches


“Cover Up” — 2012 — Acrylic on canvas — 20 x 16 inches

I posted these on Facebook and was pleased to read that people who are not just my close friends and family think I might actually be good at this. As of right now, I’m not selling any work (although someone made my life by actually asking unsarcastically!), but I may entertain the idea in the future, but I’ll have to think it through. If I repeat past patterns, the second this ever becomes “work,” I’ll have to take up a new hobby… Fire eating? Machete juggling? Ice road trucking? The list of possibilities is endless, yet really dangerous.