Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were happy ones. I wanted to share the last photos of my trip out west before I mentally head into 2017 (I'm still catching up!)...
FRIENDS. Portland was just a jump away from Seattle, and I've been wanting to visit a long-lost friend who now lives there, and also visit extended family members who I knew existed but never met. So I rented a car and drove down.
Jeremy and I became friends forever ago at a local Vermont production of West Side Story (He was a Shark; I played Anybody's). From tromping around Burlington at wee hours to opening Bristol's infamous teen dance club, the memories go back a looong way. Jeremy's now making films and owns more cameras than I ever will. And -- funny -- he showed up for our reunion with a Minolta x370... my very first SLR happened to be an x370.
We had lunch and walked around the waterfront. When I talked about plans for my book Jeremey mentioned that Portland has a co-op that lets members use their space and equipment to work on self-published printing projects. Turns out we were standing right in front of it: the Independent Publishing Resource Center. I bought a few zines and poked around. It is so great to know that spots like this exist! One of my goals this year is to reach out to places to give readings and workshops and it would be an honor to work with the IPRC. I hope they say yes!
FAMILY. When I was growing up, it was the four of us: my brother and I, my Mom & Dad. Turns out we have more family than I really thought about, and over the years someone turns up on Facebook or mentions another relative during a phone call and I'm thinking: Why don't we know this person? A big meet-and-greet reunion would fix that, I suppose, but who can get all these people in one place at the same time? ANYway... I LOVE my niece and her family. We took a late-night trip to their cabin in the mountains & spent the night. I fell asleep right in front of the fireplace. It was such a treat!
I love waking up in the morning and not having any idea what the outside scenery looks like, as if I've been magically teleported to some random spot and have to figure out where I landed. The view was beautiful, and I was sad to say goodbye.
MONTANA. I drove through Montana years ago on my crazy trip around the country and I fell in love with Missoula and its surrounding landscape. Little did I know that last year I would make a friend who lives there! Right in the middle of this:
Again, I arrived at night, and when I woke up in the morning, the light was glittery. It was the first frost of the season and the sun was making everything sparkle.
My friend Elizabeth is a photographer too. We spent the two mornings I was there having toast and tea at her big sunny table and inspired each other to do great things with our projects. I think -- at least from what I've experienced -- that we artists are a solitary bunch when we're doing our work, but need a good dose of visiting so that we can bounce ideas off each other, share our progress, and get re-inspired. I never went to art school, so maybe that's part of the reason why I love my artist friends so much. I think community is important, even if it's one that's cobbled together with people from all over the place via phone calls, Skype, emails, and visits whenever possible.
Elizabeth's place was so photo-worthy. I couldn't put down my camera. My guest cabin was perfectly decked out with cowboy artwork over the bed and little animal skulls on the windowsill.
Her studio was an amazing collection of books and mementos and works-in-progress pinned to the wall. Visit her website if you'd like to see her portfolios and projects.
I have to say, one of the best things about my visit was that Elizabeth's horse laughed at all my jokes:
I don't know what 2017 will bring as far as artist get-togethers go, but I hope it includes another (much longer) trip to Montana. I love the beginning of the new year because there are twelve big wonderful months ahead to daydream about. Here's to great things in 2017!