Back in Bmore, glad to be here. I'll start regular postings within the next two weeks. No mishaps on the drive cross country, it was actually fun thanks to books on tape (some truly horrible, how do these things get published?) and a strong sedative for the dog.
One unusual highlight was an incredible bathroom at a Shell Station in Van Buren, Arkansas. Hey, when you're stopping to pee on the road for five days, you see a lot of disgusting bathrooms, a clean one is cause for celebration! This one was done all in black, even the toilet. Black lacquer floor, brown and black speckled marble countertops. Special scented soaps, black and white framed prints of Paris on the walls. I needed a taffeta dress and a tiara. I felt so frumpy in there. If you're ever headed anywhere on I-40, check it out. Thumbs up. The owner was Windexing his gas pumps, if that gives you any indication about how clean the place was!
So....the apartment looks like one giant storage space because of the boxes, but that's where the comparison ends. The 30 foot high ceilings, steel beams criss crossing the upper portion of the space, and the ladder to the loft alone kill off any similarities. When I got there one of the other resident artists had hung her trapeze in there and was practicing in my space, so I got a chance to meet her for a few minutes. Another tenant, a painter, invited me to his studio for tea and a hello chat, which was also a nice introduction to the place. There are monthly resident meetings where I will get to know the others (they seem like ghosts right now. I hear voices and footsteps in the hall, but never see anyone...). Collaboration is encouraged, and with all these unusual artists at my fingertips (one is a welder), I'm going to take full advantage.
We also have dry erase boards on our doors for messages, and I immediately reverted back to high school, feeling sad because I didn't have anything on my board yet, while the others had messages from each other. So I wrote: "I dwell in possibility" (Emily Dickinson) on it, and this morning found a note from the painter on my door, with a drawing inspired by our discussion of poetry, art, etc. I know I'm being ridiculous, but it made me feel that I'm starting to become part of the group. I'm ten years old, I know.
As for the building - gallery and theatre downstairs, apartments upstairs. Skylights, art everywhere, semi-industrial looking. Very much not my type of space, which I'm hoping will spark something interesting in my work. Creative Alliance is located in Highlandtown, a terrific, working-class, eccentric, down-home, artistic neighborhood. I'm two blocks from a huge park with a pool, where this year's water ballet will be performed in a matter of weeks. Saw 'Antony and Cleopatra' there five years ago. Not to be missed, if only for the old men in speedos and the tattoos. The streets could use a few trees, but it's a very welcoming, friendly neighborhood. No b.s. Park seems to be the gathering place - have seen picnics, croquet tournaments, soccer, and lots of dogs.
Also saw a magical descending of hundreds of fireflies on a balmy summer night a few days ago (in the park). Was totally transfixed at the little blinking lights skimming over the grass everywhere. Is this the end of their life cycle or a mating ritual? I'll now have to investigate. Of course, just to balance things out, there were dozens or birds flying down to feast. Makes me think of Keats, though there's no way to make that connection except maybe through "Ode to a Grecian Urn." Beauty is death. Beauty exists because we love something/someone. We love these things/people because they will die. Pretty simple.
It's hot as hell here, but it's real.
As soon as I unpack, buy a desk, and work out a class schedule at Creative Alliance, I'll get back to more regular, more writing-focused postings. Am almost finished the second novel, and will get back to poetry next in prep for the retreat in August.
I'm feeling that I lack wit these days, so I'll try to be funnier too. Lots of adjusting right now which is forcing me to conserve any energy that might be directed towards hilarity and/or sarcasm. I'll work on it!
I'll leave you with the message I saw on a billboard in Checotah, Oklahoma, our new American Idol's (gag me) hometown. It's a decent one: "Reach for the stars!"