Saturday, July 05, 2008


The summer of my discontent

What can I say about my cyber-absence other than that I've been... busy. In a word. In brief, first of all, I've read three new novels recently, all set in Maine, all about people from away (as we say around here) who are visiting and/or settling here. All three books are fairly new and have very good blurbs from very good sources. In fact, glowing blurbs ("A!" "Couldn't put it down!" etc). And I found all three to be uniformly TERRIBLE. Cardboard characters, unbelievable plots, major things happened and I truly did not care, obvious lack of editing (sentences and phrases and words were repeated in uncomfortable proximity to each other). I stuck it out with all three, because I usually cannot bear not to give an author the benefit of the doubt, but really, in all three cases I ended up skimming to hurry the conclusions along. It was thus with great joy and relief that I picked up Rose Macaulay's book The Towers of Trebizond and began to read some strange but decent prose again. I'm a few chapters in, and after hearing for years about this book, and finally coming across that nice little NYRB softcover reprint two weeks ago at a library sale (yes... still buying books...) I put it at the top of the to-be-read pile. A full report when I finish.

Enough about books, for now. In other news, my painting exhibit is up and running at the Lord Hall Galleries at the nearby University of Maine. I would have posted something about it before now, were it not for my schedule of the last two weeks. Literally no time to turn around. The show opened last Friday evening - I'm showing 29 oil paintings and my good friend and bookish cohort Michael Alpert is showing around 25 silver-gelatin photographs. Title of the show is Home Truth. The best of my work from the last three years. Thanks to those who made my day by attending the opening (you know who you are and I absolutely love you), and if anyone else is coming to Maine soon and will be passing by Orono, the show will be up until August 8th. I also have three paintings going in to a curated group show in Blue Hill, Maine, in August, and will have a few things for sale at the Seal Harbor Library art show, in August as well, on Mount Desert Island. And did I mention that I just spent a week on a little wild Maine island, painting... eleven oils and a batch of watercolors, and many evenings of writing in my journal by candlelight. It was heaven. In fact, I wish I was back there right now.

But I'm not. So, the elephant in the room. The bookshop. Remember the bookshop? Sarah's Books? 80% of the books are out of there, and about 30% of the bookcases. I spent a few mornings this week with a power drill in hand, detaching bookcases from the walls and cursing. Me! Cursing!! @#&?%!!! I never thought I'd be removing these when I (and Ryan, and my sainted father-in-law) built them in the first place, though I did make them removable just in case. What a job. I'm hoping to be finished and out of there by the end of this month. Where I am going to put everything I do not yet know, but I have a short list of friends who want to purchase bookcases, should I become desperate. As I may just be about to do.

I can't end this on a sad note such as that, so a bit more good news. Many months ago I was asked by a writer for a quote about my recent island art experiences, and I happily obliged. A few weeks ago I was in a shop and picked up the new issue of the Island Journal, published annually in Maine by the Island Institute, and I opened it up to find my name in print, along with a poem I wrote. A tiny brass band played, just for me, standing quietly in that shop. The article is In Residence, it's by Carl Little, author of many fine books about art in general and Maine art in particular. He's a poet, too, and a good one.

July in Maine - I've got to end this post and get back outside, it's so beautiful. Last evening Ryan and my sister Emily and I stood on a high blueberry barren up behind our house and watched tiny fireworks go off in towns all up and down Penobscot Bay, from some of the islands, from Blue Hill to Stonington to Camden. Beautiful in the warm dusk. Happy Independence Day. I guess I'm not that discontent after all.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?