Thursday, February 22, 2007


Mememe...testing. I'm a "new" Blogger whether I want to be or not. Some change is apparently mandatory in this bloglife. Hmmm.

We are still organizing our thoughts (and blue toys) around here. Coughing and sniffling too, although heaven knows it's time for this cold to go away for good.

First, Jan's question:
Do artists ever take a sabbatical to change venues and restoke the creative fires and replenish their professional energy like professors do?

Wow, good question, Jan! Artists consider "residencies" this great idea. A residency is a chance to go stay somewhere really nice and write/make art, whatever. This is also stellar for the artist's CV, since people like to know that artists compete for places at these residencies and win. (grants, residencies, awards--all signs that this is a good artist! Snort. Wonder how Van Gogh did?) There are residencies all over the world, although most focus on the delights of nature and isolation. (read: no internet or other people) Often, there's an application charge to compete, and then a "per day" charge when you get there. Rarely, the residency allows you to bring your partner (how thoughtful) and there is almost always this clause: We do not allow pets.

The professor and I discuss these issues frequently, especially because I was sorely tempted by this Azores residency. We're still too young for his first sabbatical, though some days we're counting the minutes! We moved together to KY and I gave up my college teaching job so we wouldn't have to be apart and have a long distance, academic marriage. Also, life without my dogs is intolerable for more than a few days, because they give me exercise, companionship and a routine, and I worry about them in dog jail (the kennel) while I'm away. Oh, my office here? It's isolated, I see a lot of nature through the windows, AND I have internet access. It's hard to get excited about leaving the spouse, the dogs, the convenience of my actual office, and pay extra to go off into the wilds by myself, cause I mostly am, anyway.

Still, creative people need outside stimulation. While nature is great and I like it, I desperately need intelligent human interactions as part of my creative outreach. I partially solve this problem by travelling relatively frequently, on shorter trips. In March, for instance, during spring break, I plan to watch my hardworking professor collect butterflies someplace warm. He'll work. I'll knit. Then, I'll eat out, people watch, and travel home ready to write some more. Last year's trip to Greece was fodder, as was the trip to D.C. Getting out can be good.

Here's an (old) photo of the professor's sweater. I've now knit over 11 inches of the back. It's a corrugated slip stitch rib, it's flying along. The pattern beneath is a template--I'm not going to make a shawl collar, probably something more like a henley.
I've also blocked a swatch, tutored a student, washed the kitchen floor, and started the brisket cooking for tomorrow's dinner. While I wasn't looking, another of my "Letter from Kentucky" columns came out online here. I haven't solved all my deep career questions, but just like Blogger, it changes whether I'm ready or not. Sally's got the key: If you organize and prepare everything just so, you'll be game for whatever happens, right?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. The Azores place looks like paradise! And the best thing since Greece. Hope you make it there someday.

February 22, 2007 at 11:48 PM  
Blogger annmarie said...

Joanne, I read your article in The Jewish Week with a lot of interest. Plenty of food for thought there.

February 25, 2007 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Jantine said...

I came to read your blog after your fantastic comment on the knitlist on March 1st. You commented on the whole expensive yarn in pattern books and magazines discussion and your entry was a little ray of sunshine between all the raving and complaining. It's always refreshing to hear people being challenged by things like being on a budget, instead of sitting down and moaning about it. Thanks for that.

Also i am very curious about the pullover in the picture on feb 22nd. Was that just a swatch? Funny enough I am knitting a pullover for my best friend and the thing lookes EXACTLY the same right now. I'll make a picture tomorrow and post it on my blog if you're interested you can have look. Anyway, I'm going to enjoy your blog a bit more.

Jantine Bootsman (Zeist, The Netherlands)

March 17, 2007 at 4:39 PM  

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