I can't find the relevant post, but at one point when I referred to this challenge after returning home, a reader suggested that I spend some time going through photos of the completed travel, revisiting those memories. Following the suggestion, I also turned through the journal pages of the trip, and between the two records, a narrative emerged, offering some coherence that allowed me both to make connections with my daily life at home and to see the generous spaces that distance had offered me for perspective.
To this practice, I've recently begun sketching -- back here at home -- from photos I took while travelling. The one I'm sharing here is modeled after an iPhone shot I took while we were waiting for the ferry in Sućaraj (the most eastern ferry from Hvar Island over to mainland Croatia), wandering around the little fishing village. I love the calm this photo exudes with its neutral tones and simple, clean shapes, very easy to abstract.
I also thought the sketch offered me a good way to practice what Alison had demonstrated for me last week about setting up lines and angles to show perspective and to align the various planes correctly. See? I even sketched a little thumbnail version first (above) to test out my composition. . . .
There's an entry in that journal that I wrote to myself; It's quite personal, and I deliberated over sharing here. But with the work I've been doing on my long-form project (rounding the corner on that, first draft will be finished in September), there's been too little, recently, of the more vulnerable, exploratory, thinking-out-loud writing that I want at this blog's core. And until that first draft's done, I can't let myself be diverted by writing new material of that sort.
From my travel journal, written in Basina, on Hvar, a Croatian Island, where we rented a villa for a week to host three of our four kids' families. . .
June 5th, 2018
This morning hour, completely to/by myself on the main terrace, drinking a first cup of tea, then a second. No idea how I've managed this before Jesse got up for his coffee and set up at the table to work on his MacBook. Or how Joey's still sleeping (more likely, has nursed Cohen back to sleep downstairs & fallen back into a doze on her own).
I read through the first cup of tea, felt myself moving out of that slight background funk I've sensed, tried to repress.
And now I'm pushed to write the contentment, the drive to creativity, beginning to lick within. The waves' rhythm, their glugs and susurrations; the various scents -- resinous pine and rosemary, a certain mineral dryness that's tough to pin down but an important base note nonetheless; the woman next door swimming by herself, her head facing back to the shore, her arms paddling her away from it, in the same manner I so often set out; this fly buzzing around me right now.
I've felt so much lately that I can't/won't/don't want to/might not blog anymore -- and even that my memoir projec has gone on for too long -- but in these quiet, satisfied minutes to myself this morning, I see that the writing wants to find its way to a page, and not just to a page, but also to another pair of eyes -- yours someday, granddaughter? grandson? . . .
Something about who I am or might be, just me, even immersed in (submerged by, sometimes?) all this family. Someone worth writing?
And the travel (which is what these pages are meant to be about, after all), the travel confuses a bit because it stimulates all my senses so, but also makes it difficult to find time to process what I'm experiencing and even more difficult to articulate and write that down. I suppose that's why I'm both continuing with and resisting and being irritated by Instagram as a platform -- it gives a place to (publicly) register my response to places and experiences, but often I'm pushing myself to do so before I've sorted why what I'm seeing -- and showing -- is significant to me. Question of authenticity?
So soon, I'm sure, Joey will be up with Cohen and I'll want to take him from her -- not only to give her a break, but because I'll sincerely and selfishly want the time with his chubby, sweet infant engagement, his attempts to respond, to begin a conversation with the world. This writing self will sink back under and at times her wish to be more prominent, to be attended to, is likely to have me feeling that odd melancholy again. But I had this hour to let her out -- and to see her more clearly, to remember how vigorous she still is, that she'll be here still, when I have the time and quiet space to write like this again. . . .
And at the bottom of the page, at the right margin, I've written 6:59 a.m. and I'm still on my own -- Bliss!
But also, perhaps some of you can relate to the challenge travel sets of offering so much stimulation at a pace that's tough to process, the grey-matter databank getting quickly overloaded. . . And of course that also depends on the kind of travel we're doing. . .
Or to the conflicting tugs we feel in the midst of family gatherings--not only as mothers, but also in whatever role our family tends to cast us or see us. . .
But for now, I'd better hustle off, get some movement in before the day gets too hot again. . . I'll check back in later to see if we've got a conversation started. Happy Wednesday! Oh, and later today, I'll post on Instagram the actual photo that inspired this sketch, so that you can compare if you're interested.