Posted by: jeanne | April 20, 2017

well, it’s groundhog day. again.

i’m going back out.  i’ve been home barely a month, and i have barely a month before i leave again.  the empty rolly bags are lined up in the back hall.  the woolens and boots are in piles waiting to be cleaned and repacked.  things are just getting back to normal here, i’ve got things i have to do and things i want to do, and things i need to do, and every day represents a significant portion of the time left in which to do them.

this time all the boys are coming with me for part of the summer.  i’ve just spent two months writing about jim and connor acting up in venice, and i’m fixing to get ready to do a bunch of writing about doing nothing much at all every day in iceland.  remember last year when i took all the boys for a four or five day camping trip thru south iceland?  that was just a test run.  this time i’m going to be in one spot for three whole months, and while i’m sending jim and avery home after three weeks, connor and i will be there until it starts getting dark at night again.

this has been years in the planning.  after my first art residency in olafsfjordur i kept up the friendships and kept the enthusiasm i had when i was there, and kept thinking up more things that i wanted to do and making more contacts and generating interest and yougogirls.  i always want to go back to residencies where i’ve had a good experience (and that’s all of them), but with the exception of the hambidge center, which i attended two years in a row, i’ve never repeated one because something else always came up.)  but i knew i wanted to go back to iceland.  i had friends, and not just in the north but good friends around reyjkavik.  i felt a real draw to the land, and i kept meeting elves and having them smile at me.  other shit kept happening as well – i kept getting injured or sick.  it’s a very active place.  iceland can kill you.  it is also magical f’real.

so the opportunity arose for me to get more involved, and so instead of coming back for a single month, to rent a room in one of three artist houses and spending all my non-roaming time in the studio making paintings, i’m going to be living for three months in the director’s house and doing all the things it takes to run an art residency while alice goes off and does something else for the summer.  and it will cost me next to nothing because i’m trading the job for the house.  just food and transportation, and i’ve got friends who will take care of much of the transportation, including the planning.

it’s a strange career path i’m on, but i’m now in the hospitality business because of our apartment downstairs, and this summer i’m going to get a good taste of the arts administration business.  i started out in food service decades ago.  then corporate hell.  with artist meandering in and out thru all these phases.  where does it lead?

right now it leads to a lot of hurry up and wait.  there are some things i can’t do until the fall, when i get back from my travels.  like starting to deal with the paintings in the attic, enough to fill a half shipping container.  so i’m not even thinking about those things.  there are some things that are vital, like getting another housesitter.  and that isn’t being easy to do.  (and when it’s easy it’s bad.)  i think about those things rather a lot.  and there are things i’d like to do but are so far down the long finger that if i do them in the fall i’ll think that soon enough.  like getting these ancient silk dresses given away to whom they were intended.  like having another dinner with the art friends.  like my friend jennifer’s plan to go to the zoo.


i’ve only now started painting on a work i need to take with me when i return.  it’s a painting of connor being made much over in the food truck at arnarstapi.  siggy practically told me to paint it, so i’m doing it.  so i’ll be working on that a little bit each day and staring at it every morning, propped up against the chimney off the foot of our bed.

what i’m not doing is packing.  or panicking about the housesitter (people aren’t traveling to here from europe right now for some reason, and that’s where most of the housesitter service’s clients are located).  i’m not taking on big jobs, i’m sloughing off little jobs, i’m trying to enjoy being in atlanta in the springtime (the mosquitos have just begun, and the heat seems a long way off)  for diversion i’m researching the south of france and taking duolingo french lessons (not very diligently) and playing with the new google earth release.

this winter, i noticed that my thought patterns were different depending on where in the world i was.  in venice i slept quietly, with none of the noise and chatter, the endless racing thoughts.  in iceland on the way back the thoughts started up, but here they try to surface constantly.  but i have caught myself at it often enough that i have begun mentally dropping the thoughts like bowling balls and letting them fall away from me.  these habits of mind are not me.  that’s what travel does for me.


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