A first stab at an update

March 21, 2008 at 8:25 am (art, culture, drawing, interesting, life, painting, personal, thoughts)

When exactly does jetlag end???

It might not actually be jetlag… it might have something to do with the fact that I was just going going going for the whole time I was in Prague. Not that I’m complaining – it was such an amazing trip. I’m just tired, with a side order of achey.

So in brief: Prague is shockingly gorgeous. It’s a very walkable city (and I adore taking long walks so this was perfect) – I could start off at my little $30/night hotel and walk through Letna Gardens and arrive about an hour later, depending on whether or not I wanted to walk across Charles River by pedestrian bridge, either in a jumbled maze of streets built in the 1300s or in a castle. That sort of blew my mind every time I did it, and I did it every day.

The pace in general is very different there and for the first time in my life, I think I was in a position to really appreciate it. One of the Czech Republic fun facts I learned from someone I met there is that they give three years maternity leave. Just that tidbit alone sets the pace for life there – not as rushed or harried as life here is at all. Add the open consumption of beer to every public space (just enough beer to make everyone calm and mellow, but not sloppy – which is the adjective I normally associate with beer) and the ah, openness of the Czech people to their emotions (I’m trying to find a culturally sensitive way to say that they often seemed surly or disinterested when you first met them if they were waiting tables or working at the hotel, but were then really nice if you talked to them; the point being that I liked that they didn’t feel compelled – as I often do – to plaster a smile on my face 24/7) and well… the trip to Prague was good for me.

A few very quick pictures:

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View from Letna Gardens.

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View from outside of Prague Castle.

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Everything is beautiful there.

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I even went dancing for maybe the first time in ten years.

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My Prague “studio” (aka my hotel room – yeah I actually did work, too).

I flew back Monday and had to install my project at the JC Museum on Tuesday, which was beyond grueling. One of the things I installed was a series of drawings I did while in Prague (I decided at the last second to switch them in rather than include some older work):

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I did twenty of these drawings that more or less look like this; they call connect into one large vertical drawing, 10′ long. This series is more text-heavy/drawing-light than what I’ve been up to lately. I sort of stammered when my friend Mary asked me at the opening if I thought that this was indicative of some sort of change in my work, but the answer is really no. I’ve just really wanted/needed some quiet time to sit down and pour my guts out into my writing and Prague gave me that chance. I had so many thoughts swirling around from the trip and from some reading I brought with me that I just needed to get it all out and delay thinking in images for some other time. In addition, I think the experience of being in this place where I didn’t speak the language (and was therefor super-aware of the language swirling in my own head, plus the idea of the presence of language – written, spoken, whatever) really fed into my must write now! impulse.

This weekend I am positively dying to get back to images. I have an idea for a book that will bug me until I sit down and actually do it – looking at that view from the Gardens had me thinking a lot about landscapes and broad, open views (exactly the sort of thing you can’t really see where I live because it’s so dense and crowded). Anyway. I’m back home and all ready to go and also, scheming for my next trip abroad.

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