You know you’ve reached a seminal point in your writing career when readers worry about you…. (in a good way!)
This morning I’m settled in to write my column for Fine Art Views (LINK). But of course, I had to check my email first (insert here the sound of precious time draining into the eternal bathtub of life in the internet age…)
And found a lovely note from a reader who wonders why I haven’t written anything for awhile. She’s worried about me!
I started to write a long reply and realized, hey!!! This would make a good blog post!
So Fairy Godmother, this is for you!
Our Big Move to California is the reason. Because we’re STILL in the process of settling in.
First there was The Call, that moment where we realized we both wanted to reboot our lives. Then there was the interminable stage of packing up our life, our possessions, and all our critters. Then there was the dreamy stage, where everything seemed to fall into place–everything happening just as we needed it to happen.
And now, the next stage. This past year has been the “…and then she woke up and it was all a dream” stage.
This is where the realities of life show up. Where we realize that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Where we realize that no matter where you go, there YOU are. That a life reboot is empowering, exciting, refreshing, inspirational. But also frustrating, exhausting, and more of the same.
Part of it is the political climate. (No matter what your politics, there are simply a lot of scary things going on around the world, let alone our country.)
Part of it is, literally, the climate climate–the near-Biblical rains and floods this California winter has brought. OK, yes, it’s not ice and snow and blizzards and sub-zero temps. But it’s rained almost every damn day since OCTOBER–44 inches of rain, and about 7 sunny days. Flooding (indoor flooding!), mudslides, highways and roads closed for weeks. Millions of treeas, especially redwood trees, with root systems compromised by the lack of rain, now standing for months on end in water-logged soil, now falling across roads, even houses, and killing people. The extremes of a vicious 3-year drought coupled with record rainfall has wrought ongoing havoc on the California landscape. (No, grapevines are not really aquatic plants.) Even I am now officially “Under The Weather”.
And part of it is our social climate. Both my spouse and I are going through some puzzling social issues, at work and in our private lives, that feel overwhelming. Even when people are being difficult, there’s something I can learn from the situation. And I’ve had some astonishing clarity about this lately. ButI’m not at a point where I can write or share them easily. I usually wait until things are settled, so no one in my personal life can say with certainty, “Hey, she’s writing about ME!!!”)
But the biggest factor for me personally is the overwhelming confusion that comes from having….THREE STUDIOS.
Please don’t judge. In my entire life as an artist, I have always only had one studio, either inside or outside my home.
Now I have 1) a studio in our basement that is in no way accessible to the public.
I have 2) a studio in the
SOFA arts district. In addition to my actual rent, I have other expenses associated with it, which add up quickly. It’s a sweet space, with a display window and good light. When things go right, it has the serendipity of people who happen to walk by, who go on to become wonderful customers.
But it is off the beaten path from the rest of the artists, and I’m here by myself down an alley (a dark, dark alley in the evenings.) And it has its own complicated social scene.
I have 3) a friend with a fantastic studio at Fulton Crossing, an up-and-coming artist collective, who is now sharing her DISPLAY space with me.
It has the added benefit of am excellent salesperson who works the three galleries on the weekends. There are no “passer-bys” during the week, but many people drop in during the weekends. My work can be shown–and sold–even if I’m not there.
But it’s not my working space, and it’s not MY space. I’m a paying guest. I’m on the wait list, but it may be awhile before the right spot opens up.
Remember, I’m the person who had 23 pairs of scissors in ONE studio, because I kept losing them, right?
What do you think my life as a creative is like now??!!
Every morning I make my “to-do” list. Every morning I collect stuff from home, load it into my car, go to SOFA, unload, get stuff from there, load up, go to Fulton Crossing (LINK), unload…and realize I left this, that, and the other thing at home, or at SOFA. Or the thing I need for SOFA was at Fulton Crossing, or vice versa, or whatever. As in OH-MY-GOD-I-AM-LOSING-MY-MIND
AND, yes, there’s a sudden demand for my work with a few area galleries–and for the first time in several years, I HAVE TO MAKE MORE STUFF!! Which is a good thing, of course. :^)
Except…when I go to “make”, I’m usually missing something. Which could be at studio 1, or studio 2, or studio 3, when I’m at studio 2 or 3, or 1 or 3, or 1 or 2. OR IT’S RIGHT WHERE I AM, BUT I STILL CAN’T FIND IT!!!!
So it’s all good. But a lit-tul overwhelming. No, we don’t regret moving to California. It’s been an astonishing thing all around. Good for our souls, good for everything.
But the three-studio thing, I hope I get some insight into that, SOON.
Thank you for asking, Lori. And please send up a few prayers to the Goddess of Clarity, that She make take pity on me and make Her presence known.
In the meantime, here is my new studio sign, for open studio events.
Note how I’m using the studio door color of South A Street. But no address.
I’m ready for anything!
(Thanks to Dennis Bolt, who designs my postcards and my new A-frame sidewalk sign!)