A Cold Day In Hell…?

I just came upstairs from my basement studio and shot this.  It’s snowing in Chicago today.

In two days, it’ll be May.  There’s some grand metaphor here, but I’m too astounded to think of it.

Enough, already.

My Real Life

It’s time to look to the future:

I’ve wasted way, way, way too much of my leave of absence on jobs: applying for jobs, interviewing, preparing materials, and dealing with…well, let’s just leave it at Too Much Time Wasted, so I can stop, here and now, wasting it.  A return to the studio, and significant progress on the next 22 copies of (S)Edition is a return to my Real Life, to what’s truly important.  Here’s what my summer Real Life holds for me:

Two weeks from today, I will wake up in Edinburgh, fully recovered from the previous day’s jetlag, to truly begin not-quite three weeks of wandering through rural Scotland by train, bus, and on foot, taking ferryboats to the Orkneys and the isle of Lewis, possibly renting a bike here and there.  Because of the awful exchange rate, I won’t be able to spend as much time there as I’d like, but I know, beyond a doubt, it will be rich.

(I’ve been asked if I will blog from Scotland. Absolutely.  The question is when and where I will publish, as I won’t know the internet access situation until I arrive at each destination.  But I’ll write often, and publish when I can, even if that’s not till I return. And I’m buying a gigantic photo memory card). 

I’ll have a week at home, then I’ll head to my first residency.  I’ve just received the info from there, and it looks absolutely superb.  It’s a 65 acre estate in the Catskills, on the Hudson, very near the settings for the Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, and the story of Rip Van Winkle.  I’ll be living in The Tower, a literal tower with a small, three-story apartment containing a galley kitchen, bedroom, small study and bathroom….with a staircase leading to an octagonal workspace, four stories above ground, with windows on all sides! It looks like a lighthouse. I can also have one of the sheds on the property for papermaking.  It looks to be just perfect for what I want to do there: to begin to process the images and info I will have gathered in Scotland, to write, draw, make plans, maquettes, tests, and possibly to  begin some smaller works. 

Back to Chicago for two weeks in July, and then I head to Wyoming, to the very different but equally delicious environment at Jentel (see for yourself!), whose staff has been cheerful, professional and great fun to communicate with, till mid-August.  I’ll have a full studio (with sink!) there to begin making some of the new pieces.

Though the new work will be based on what I experience in Scotland, I’m sure that the Catskills and the Big Horn mountains will lend their influence as well.  I will be a very rich woman, in the ways that truly matter. 

It’s going to be a great summer; an ideal time for change, for embarking on my new life, outwardly in my artwork, and inwardly as well.  I’ll be able to carry it with me into whatever job situation I return to, to come to understand fully in my bones that outside of the classroom and my interactions with students, where my Real Life spills over and continues to extend its bounty, a job is just a job.