Riley Cook


October 11, 2020

“Gradually the waiting began to feel less like waiting and more like this was simply what life was: the distracting tasks undertaken while the thing you are waiting for continues not to happen.” Sally Rooney, Conversations with Friends.

I am a spool of thread. I’m a thin wire, wrapped around myself over and over. I spin and build my recognizable form.

My undoing started years ago. The minutiae, the little inconveniences. Tugged on my ends. My threads were cut and frayed. Trimmed to satisfaction.

In March of 2020, I was wrought and pulled out of my studio. Unwillingly bound to the domicile. Cast into a state of suspension. How much time has passed between March and today? Is it October? I sit now in a cold room with greenery celebrating autumn’s arrival outside my window. Rain passes with thunderous applause.

Twiddling my thumbs. Alone. I wait for inspiration to strike. I’m imagining the places I’ve been and where I long to return. The people I haven’t seen are vanishing from my eye. I stare in silence at my blank canvas, wordlessly. It exists outside of me. My mind clawing for reprieve. I sit alone, waiting quietly to be interpreted. Every day I’m turning over in my head the ways to get out. Where to find my people, my comfort, my home.

Still I can’t move. Stuck.

My eyelids are pulling half-closed, fully-conscious. Preoccupied but fast asleep… or disturbed and wide-awake? Vacillating between uncertainty and desperation.

Screen capture of a 22 year old woman who stares vacantly in a zoom meeting.

Waiting feels like my soul is being pulled through my fingertips, out into the grey static abyss of space and time—beyond control. My fingers are thin grey bones. Wispy and fluid and distorted, floating and resigned to the wind. I am threadbare. My spool has only a few rotations left. So I scavenge for moss and leaves and twist them into some grimy rope and fashion a thread for me,


I’m spinning in circles, sitting in one place

Stirring inside

Cupping my cheeks

Fitting the days into nothing


Wispy hand like willow branches

Worn thin

Pressed flat

And stretched a mile long

Crunchy fingers smash on the keyboard. Snapping hip, sitting all day. Anxiously pacing in place with my thoughts, dull and numb. The code I write is null and dumb. The words and sentences formed between my mouth and keys…



  The Inimitable Chaos of The Present  

October 11, 2020

Tabletop covered with takeout garbage, beer cans, and old milk jug.
Large group of protesters in the distance, marching down a Seattle street
Bathroom counter with various toiletries strewn about, and sink/basin.
Woman and man sitting at a table with a Macbook laptop
Plants, stacks of garden pots, and metal lanterns
Woman sleeping in a bed


“Sexual Portfolio”. 2019. Graphite on paper.






  Entre Cada Palabra  

October 23, 2020

"Trust Your Very Instincts", Hand-Lettering"Resistant", hand-lettering"Fixed Gaze" Drawing
Sketchbook Scan Untitled Abstract Painting Untitled Abstract Drawing Untitled Abstract Drawing Cork Board Drawing Concepts

Curvilinear forms are expressive of the people in my life. They represent human urges and natural will. The curved forms don’t operate by rules; instead they move of their own accord. They indicate many contradictions and tensions in life, including connections and disconnections; causation and effect; growth and decay; creation and consumption; love and neglect.



  Capture, Frozen in A Moment’s Time  

October 29, 2020

Untitled, Self-Portrait Photo Series
Portrait of Sister on Minnesota Screen Porch


"Focused Boy I"


"Beast", 2019.




  Modus Operandi  

November 7, 2020

My Process
when a thought strikes, marry it to an action immediately
keep notes of ideas that pop up
List on Paper Iconfree associate, write poetry
Sketchbook IconPhone Icon


Sketchbook Page


sketchbookIcon of Open Sketchbook
collection of concepts, ideas, dreams, stories, imagesBocetos, IconsSketchbook Doodles


Upcycle Plastic
DSLR camera & phonephone icontake photos of notes & sketches
Color Sketchcapture moments in a photo, photograph my work
cork board
Cork Board Iconpinned ideas, snippets, images & text


scanner to laptop
scan notebook pages, journals, & artwork


Microsoft Word literary moments
Laptop Icon
arrange thoughts into something comprehensible
Photoshop machinations /Google Drive master document
orchestrate a larger composition of words & images
Cayuga Ducks by RC



Media Attributions


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Riley Cook by Timea Tihanyi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book