A little update

Every time I’ve been sick in the past few years, I’ve been astonished at how awful I can feel even when my illness isn’t serious. I’m about a week into some sort of viral thing that started as a cranky stomach and has turned into allover body aches and general malaise. I suppose it might just be lack of food that’s making me so miserable; I’ve averaged maybe one small meal each day since this thing started, and have been spending nearly all my time in bed.* I’ve gone out for the occasional small walk but even half a mile tires me out. It is most unpleasant.

On the plus side, I’ve read my way through an impressive eight romance novel(la)s in the past few days. If I had my Agatha Christie collection here (it’s at my parents’ house) I would have been going through those like a lighted match, but as it is, romances suit my attention span just as well. And several of them have been by writers of color, which is very exciting. Beverly Jenkins is particularly excellent. Chalk it up to internalized racism that I have no problem reading Regency novels by white authors with all-white casts of characters, but it never occurred to me to pick up any Black-authored historicals about Black characters. Well, I’m converted now!

Nothing else to say, really. But have some pictures.

While we were in Seattle I noticed an artist making portraits in quite a different style than the usual sidewalk caricatures. I sat for her for twenty minutes. I like it, but my Facebook friends’ consensus is that it doesn’t really capture my essence. But what can one expect in twenty minutes?

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We saw these moths all over Whidbey Island.

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The lovely Bonnie Stinson had invited us there, to Whidbey, to visit Hedgebrook. Among other things, Hedgebrook offers free-of-charge residencies to selected women writers; the writers are given a comfortable cabin and all their meals are provided. My friends who’ve been in residence have raved about it, and after spending a couple of hours on the grounds, I can see why. Even just as a day visitor, every single person I spoke to (from the director to the kitchen staff) made me feel so welcome I was almost embarrassed, and the overall atmosphere is so peaceful and nurturing.

I holed up in the farmhouse kitchen for an hour, sketching, while the housekeeper, chef, gardener, and other various staff members went in and out, doing their work or just fetching drinks or snacks.

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I also peeked into their library (where Erik hung out while I was sketching), and was pleasantly surprised to see The Places We’ve Been, the anthology in which one of my travel essays appears. It turns out one of the other contributors is a Hedgebrook alum, hence its inclusion in their library.

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After Hedgebrook, we visited Double Bluff beach.

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So many barnacles. Such driftwood. Wow.

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By the time we left Seattle, Erik was ill, I wasn’t feeling so great, and we were both terribly sleep-deprived (July 5 is not the best day for an early morning flight). But I tried to make some iPad sketches from the plane.

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I knew the sketches wouldn’t look like much, so I was tempted to just skip them, but I find them intriguing, taken together.

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And that intrigue reminds me that it’s still useful to create, even when what we’re creating seems pointless. Always I’m reminded that when something calls to me, there’s a reason. And often we learn what we’re making (or seeing) only by making it.

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I also found this great quote the other day, from a book called Art and Fear: “The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars.”

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And then there’s this, from photos we took at our friends’ wedding dinner last weekend.
Silly animation

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*And because I know at least some of you are wondering: no, not pregnant.
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