All original images and text are copyright 2008-2018 Liz Sweibel

Thursday, June 21, 2018

June 20 on June 21

I looked briefly back at this blog, and it seems I'm always reading Anne Truitt.  I just finished rereading Turn.  I picked the right time to reread it; Truitt is in her early sixties and grappling with the changes in her body and thinking.  The June 20 entry below describes my experience closely and was a relief to read. The date is even close to today's.

June 20, From Turn, Anne Truitt

I started working with the divider cards again.  It felt like a fresh chapter (paragraph might be more accurate).  This was a couple of days ago.  I had in mind baby swallows in the rafters of a shop ion the Nakasendo Way just a year ago.  (I can hear the birds at sunset in Brooklyn.  And a basketball bouncing.  The light is spectacular where I sit.)

I should add that I began researching a possible sabbatical for spring 2020 this week, including a possible return to Japan.  It is causing vertigo while feeling natural or inevitable.

Monday, June 4, 2018

I Think I'll Stay

I concluded, yesterday, that this blog couldn't continue, because it can't hold what I need to say. That I need a new platform ... Tumblr? ...  to underscore the difference.  What difference?  I just reread a long string of posts; nothing is so different other than I'm 61 now and all the anxieties I registered - about aging and the state of the country and world and making art - are a year more developed and, in certain ways, entrenched.

I began reading Anne Truitt's Turn, for comfort and inspiration, and saw our ages match.  She was 62 when she began this memoir, so facing some of the same existential pains and pleasures.  There has been a tightening since my sixty-first birthday.  Left unchecked, I am more fearful of getting hurt, whether on the subway or climbing a ladder at home.  I feel a more poignant despair.  I have an impulse to move, as if exurbia would protect me.  The passage below was like having Truitt name and expose my direction, and it left me ashamed - that I would collapse in the face of all the privileges I have to keep me upright.  That I would retreat under the guise of wanting to garden, move to Wassaic, and further isolate myself.

So it is summer, a year after Japan, and I'm struggling for traction, motivation, purpose.  While this writing is self-absorbed, my living is not.  I'm more outward-pointing than I have ever been, from my outrage at the amoral prick in the White House and his supporters to my street behavior to my commitment to students.  This shift has made the studio foreign again; my photographs seem more communicative.

I began drawing from my photos some months ago and can see that as a point of departure, and an arrival.  I should stay with this blog.