To think I almost didn’t do it.
Almost copped out from even trying.
But the logistics of it all made my head hurt.
To do it would mean so much planning, so much strategy…
• I was going to California the weekend before to attend a writers’ workshop. I’d get back from one trip and leave immediately for another, much, much longer one. I hate back-to-back travel; it unravels me. Or at least the thought of it does.
• It would mean having to find canine coverage. My Good Man could likely do it, but six weeks is a long time for a guy to adjust his schedule in order to walk a dog at 5:30a.m.
• And then what about Thanksgiving? What about Thankskgiving?
• I’d have to figure out art supplies. What the hell to bring? What to work with? Cram all of that plus my printer and copier and winter road emergency stuff and food and books and clothes in my little Subaru? HOW?
• And what about food? Two dinners per week would be provided. The rest would be my own responsibility. Fresh groceries would be in short supply out there; they caution to bring at least two weeks worth of food. And then what?
• And then what of that long journey — three or four days of driving to get there — and back — across pretty desolate country, in possibly dicey weather.
I haven’t made a solo drive like that in close to twenty years.
It was all too much.
Too much to think about. Too much to figure out.
Never mind I’d be provided a large, uncluttered studio in which to paint.
Never mind that I’d be provided a charming and cozy cottage in which to live.
Never mind that I’d be interacting with brilliant creative minds and making new friendships.
Never mind I’d have the chance to learn about and explore an extraordinary corner of the world and interact with the kind and generous people who live there.
Never mind that I’d be able to paint, unplugged and totally focused for five weeks.
Never mind that I could do all of this…. for free. If I could just get my act together.
But ACK!! It was all too much to think about. Too much to coordinate.
I didn’t apply; decided to not even try.
And then a brick hit me in the back of the head.
I think my parents or my grandmother or someone from that rowdy corner of the afterlife heaved it at me.
Are you KIDDING?
You’re going to bail on the chance for all that because of logistics?
ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?
Where’s the young woman who used to drive across the country solo to teach backpacking?
Where’s the artist who believes in taking responsibility for the success and development of her own work, of her career?
Where’s the artist who believes in challenging herself? The spirit of the young woman with the sense and desire for adventure?
I submitted my application.
And on the first day of November, wedged in my little Subaru between reams of paper, paint brushes, tubes of acrylic paint, pounds of quinoa and brown rice and tea and kale and apples and a winter emergency kit that would make the Donner Party come back to life with envy, I found myself embarking on a 1,500 mile drive to the Oregon Outback.
|Art supplies — CHECK. Road emergency kit — CHECK. Clothes — CHECK. Books — CHECK.|
|Food for 2 weeks — CHECK. Room for me in the car ?— Hmmm…Not so sure….|