Re: Turns


I’ve just not been in a very blahg-ish mood lately; this may be the longest I’ve  gone without writing something since I started. It’s a quiet and introspective time right now; I am beginning to rethink many, many things, have been paring things away and making plans to rid myself of more.  I’m working steadily but not at all madly on upcoming shows and events, as well as the house, which makes an enormous and (at least currently) welcome change of pace from, oh, say: the past thirty years.

I don’t have very many friends who are my age, and never have had; they’re either a number of years older or a broad range of years younger.  But I do have one friend I’ve known for over thirty years who’s only a few months older, and I heard from her this week.  She’s doing exactly the same things (and has also recently ended some major connections in her life).  Oddly, or perhaps not, our shared second Saturn return begins in a few days.  This will be interesting.


A while ago, just for the hell of it, I looked up the exact dates of the first one (the Saturn return is a concept of passage I was completely unaware of at the time), and then l read through that time period in my old journals.  I moved six times (at one point, completely across the country), had two breakups and three intense relationships, and during the final move, gave almost everything I owned away. I also wrote my first grant and my first large show proposal (both successful), and created my first ‘residencies’, by working extra jobs to buy myself six-week slots of time to devote entirely to my artwork; I set the structure for regular prolonged investigations and a productivity that has rarely been interrupted since then (though it has fluctuated). I also began to teach (yes, I taught steadily well before deciding to get an MFA), and established two other regular freelance sources of income. I was a bit surprised to realize that, while I kept consistent journals for years before the first return, they trickled off during it, and were only periodically resumed.  The Blahg is one of the many things I’m re-thinking. Yes, this will be interesting.


For now, this quiet still suits me completely.  Today, I went for my first long walk in  days, thanks to several days of continual rain, and having my lower back go into spasm and treating that during the wet days.  The walk helped my healing back, very much, and the crunch and smell of crisp fallen leaves was delicious. I saw three young kids completely absorbed in what kids have been involved in every fall since time began: shrieking, laughing, chasing each other with armloads of leaves, diving into and scattering a huge colorful pile of leaves.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve slowed down enough to notice that.


A rose that climbed through the front porch this summer; I let it stay.

“How many of you, I asked the people in my class, which of you want to give your lives and be writers?” …”And then I tried to tell them what the choice must mean: you can’t be anything else.  You must go at your life with a broadaxe…they had no idea what I was saying. (I have two hands, don’t I?  And all this energy, for as long as I can remember: I’ll do it in the evenings, after skiing, or on the way home from the bank, or after the children are asleep…).  They thought I was raving again. It’s just as well.”  – Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm.

The spotlight, the shameless eye which she obligingly operates, always explores the same sector of a woman’s life, that sector tortured by bliss and discord round which the shades are thickest.  But it is not in the illuminated zone that the darkest plots are woven.” – Collette, Break of Day

“If it is an illusion, it is still my own.”

(Quotes from my journal, 1980-83).