Did you see the eclipse last night? I did! It was cold outside and I shivered in the winter coat I wore in DC, but I saw it. It filled me first with awe, seeing the moon gradually disappear, then turn blood red, but later something strange happened, a portal was unlocked to a place in the past I thought I’d left behind, and I started to feel sad for things I didn’t think could make me quite as sad anymore. I didn’t know what to do with all those feelings, so I just drove to the Island to get my dog. The air felt salty, especially when we went to see the pelicans. My emotions were still stuck in the past, still heavy and unpleasant. There must be a reason for this, some lesson to be learned from this blood moon, some transformation to undergo, and transformations are always painful, aren’t they? Or maybe I’m just tired. Tonight I’ll sleep off my long walk and the salt air I breathed. I’ll sleep next to the little dog I missed, and hopefully tomorrow will be better. I have a lot of work to do, a lot of exciting stuff to set up. It should distract me and push me forward.
“But what was your favorite part of the trip?” my friend asked. I thought of Arlington National Cemetery in the snow, the rows and rows of tombs with wreaths on them, and all of us hiking up the hill to attend the ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Did you know there are 4,000 unknown soldiers buried in the cemetery?
I loved the Wreath Laying Ceremony, its solemnity, the rituals, all enshrined in the beauty and peace of the cemetery. It makes me sad to think of the unknown soldiers. Did they have loved ones who waited for them in vain? Or did they have nobody waiting? Were they lost and alone? I hope their spirits were comforted by our presence there to honor them, and by John’s offering. I hope they like yellow roses.
Today we went to the Newseum, a museum dedicated to freedom of the press, which was quite amazing: we saw a piece of the Berlin Wall, also, among other things, a collection of historical front pages, my favorite being probably the one reporting on the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his Morganatic wife. After the Newseum my friend and I had Peruvian for lunch in a place that had really cool decor and where the food showed a pronounced Asian influence.
Then a friend from grad school came and picked us up and took us to the Botanical Gardens where we saw the most beautiful orchids in the Conservatory. It was fun seeing my friend from long ago, whose career path has also veered away from academia and who is happy living in DC and raising her little boy. We talked about books, ate gelato, talked a little about people we both knew, and a Boston Terrier named Gus who belonged to one of the professors in Binghamton and whom we both babysat at different points in time.
Today was colder than yesterday, and also a bit drizzling. But despite that we had a nice time. The drawing is of a statue of Count Rochambeau we saw while walking around yesterday. We didn’t see any monuments today, except the Capitol, from the distance.
This morning my mentor, John Ross Palmer, laid a beautiful wreath of yellow roses on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. I was honored to be attending, along with other friends, family, and collectors. We all gathered in the snowy cemetery, walked up the hill, and watched the ceremony, which was laden with symbolism.
Afterwards, there was a lovely lunch at the Old Ebbitt Grill, then some of us took a long walk back to our hotel, past the White House, and the Washington Memorial. In the evening, we went to see my favorite monument: The Lincoln Memorial. We walked a lot. The city is absolutely beautiful even now in winter. I keep thinking of Sally Quinn’s novels, which I absolutely love. Also, I had the most amazing scallops for dinner. And I was very happy with the dress I bought for today, my black wool dress with puffed shoulders from Maje.
I also sold out my DC commissions, which I’m very very happy about!
And frankly, I haven’t had this much fun is a long time. The group of collectors who came on the trip are all so wonderful, all interesting to talk to and fun to travel with. It’s been almost twenty years since my last visit to DC, for a conference, in grad school, and my life is so different now and I find that it’s so much easier to enjoy everything, and that I am at this point in my life surrounded by people I truly resonate with.
Today we woke up at 3am to travel to DC. When we got here there where white spots of snow on the ground. I had kind of forgotten what winter feels like, the white grayness of the sky. But it didn’t really start snowing – I mean really snowing! – until we were all in a bar close to the Capitol.
It’s been a fun day and tomorrow there’ll be the Wreath ceremony in the morning. It’s all very exciting and feels very VIP, but it also feels a bit like college, since we’re all staying in the same hotel, I’m sharing a room with my friend and collector, and John and Ryan are in the room next door.
Busy busy day. Meetings back to back. But I got to give my mentor John Ross Palmer the very first copy of Lone Wolf, and I made progress in putting my own self on payroll! I’m so excited to get Employee of the Month this month and every month. I have no competition as Holly sleeps 20 hours a day and doesn’t care about all the forms I’ve been filling out – a process that will hopefully end soon since I have hired a payroll company to help!
Also, I must start packing for DC! We leave in 2 days, TSA is still affected by the government shutdown, and I’m still looking for collectors for commissions. I’ll tell you, it’s a lot of work to be Employee of the Month!
As promised, here are pictures of the paperback! Isn’t it beautiful? Also, it’s interesting and exciting to see that people still react much more enthusiastically to the picture of an actual book, than to an announcement about an ebook. As with all of my books, the moment when it became real was the moment I had the paperback in my hands, the moment I posted pictures of it and people could see it. There’s been quite a warm reception on social media, so I’m quite excited!
Also, today I called my old lizard and that was a very good thing. Between the time difference, her poor hearing, and my busy schedule, I don’t call her nearly enough, then I end up feeling guilty, sad, lonely, fragmented. My old lizard had all kinds of things to say.
“How is your friend in Turkey?” she asked. I haven’t seen my friend in Turkey in four years, though she is still one of the people I love best. “How is your friend in France?”
My old lizard remembers things about my own past better than I do. Sometimes I like that, yet sometimes it’s annoying. It’s as if she refuses to acknowledge my many transformations.
Later I went to the store and bought a magazine. I tore out images I liked. I cut out elements of them. I decided to make some sort of collages using some older drawings and also some paint. They’re weird, but I kind of like them, and now, looking back, I feel like I’s been a good day.
Today I worked on something very different. It’s one of the abstract pieces I’m preparing for my show on February 1st, celebrating the rebirth of nature. I used a paint stick and a lot of the process was fun, though I did feel through most of it that I didn’t know what I was doing.
Also, Lone Wolf is finally out! It’s available in both Kindle and paperback and you can get a copy here. I’m so excited! My own paperback arrived this evening and was waiting on my doorstep when I got home. I inspected it carefully and found that it’s quite a beautiful book. I can’t wait for better lighting tomorrow so I can post pictures!
Awesome day! I got to paint in my studio at 1907 Sabine Street during Open Studios, and people did come by. I had some very fun interactions, and also a few sales. Afterwards I went to visit the lovely home of a collector and friend who wanted to show me where she hung four very special paintings I’d made years ago and which she bought at the beginning of my Escapist year.
Later, I went to meet John, Nancy, and Bobby at one of our favorite hangouts. I decided to bring Holly because she’d been alone all day and I didn’t want her to be lonely. Let it be known that Holly is a demon. She sneered at Nancy and Bobby. Bobby couldn’t really be bothered, but Nancy sneered back. Don’t mess with Nancy! We kept them separated, which I hope counts as a workout. Also, I laughed a lot.