A friend of mine has been at the MacDowell Colony for two months. I've been trolling her Petersborough pics on FB, leaving motivated-by-jealousy, snarky remarks in the comments, Googling the names tagged to faces of artists and writers who are in residence with her there so that when she comes home to Houston, TX, I'll be able to relate to her again. I'm sure she's changed, been changed, because 1) I know others who have been changed by MacDowell and 2) because I stumbled upon this quote yesterday about
an artist who was suffering a serious bout of depression because she was transitioning from MacDowell to her “real life.”
So far, my research has revealed that the majority of artists Laura's befriended at MacDowell hail in one way or another from California, like Chloe, Caitlyn, and Hyla. I've never met these women, but I suspect my friend Laura believes they are super-cool. Judging from their sites, I have no reason to suspect otherwise. In real life, I hail from California. There: we're related again already.
The next sentence after the quote above is
The article these quotes come from appeared on Gwarlingo, linked on FB by my friend Andrea. It snags my attention this morning, as I sit bedside at St. Luke's Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, waiting as a nurse named Bong preps my husband for neck surgery. The patient from Humble in the bed one curtain over has been repeating that his blood pressure is so high because he "HASN'T HAD HIS COFFEE TODAY." No. Yes. My real life is not horrible. I have (Inshallah) a husband, two young children, a salaried job with benefits teaching English at an Independent Day School.It's not that our "real lives" are so horrible....
Yesterday, when my brother Carlos called from San Francisco to chat, he asked me what I planned on doing with my summer vacation -- was I going to write or just goof off? -- I dripped "I'm just gonna dick around," my sarcasm so thick, I could have stuck a fork in it. For what? Who, but myself, wants to eat this sarcasm? For the rest of the conversation, I struggled to stave off fat, confusing tears.
"What are you going to work on?" he asked.
"Not sure. It depends on how much I can outwit my self-esteem."
"What IS your problem?" he asked. "Have you figured it out?" Besides being a successful musician, my brother is also a therapist.
"I don't know." Now is not the best time to ask me probably, because of the student Google Docs bursting my bandwidth, waiting to be graded.
I used to say "I am a writer who sometimes teaches." In fact, I quit my first job teaching at Rushmore Academy because I wanted to stay a writer who sometimes taught, instead of turning into a teacher who sometimes wrote.
So I quit that job at the school where Wes Anderson went, but then I had two kids, boom boom. Then -- and now -- I have had a family, one I made. Now, I'm precipitously close to being a teacher (and a mother, and a wife) who sometimes writes.
I wrote something last summer, a play commissioned by my friend True Songs to premiere in three small venues in Kosovo. The play, called "Rock v. Threads," is about meeting my dead brother Marco in a parallel universe. Apparently, the play affected the Kosovars more than we could have forseen, because they are still reeling from the losses they suffered in the Kosovo War. I didn't go to Kosovo to see it, but when I let my mom, sister and brother read it, they sobbed; so I considered it a success.
I don't know what I'm going to write this summer; maybe I'll just write on this blog, up my digital footprint. Test things. Make soup. Steep some stuff. Run up that hill that leads to a residency at the MacDowell Colony, so that I, too, can change, be changed.