07 February 2012


Last week's dusting of snow settled on the rooftops for a while before melting

As I begin this entry, snowflakes are chasing each other with the energy and enthusiasm of children playing tag. The amusing thing is that their motion seems innocently misguided―more upward than down―which I suppose explains why there's been no accumulation. In winters past, I don't remember seeing as much flurrying as we've had in Florence over the last week, and it still feels quite magical every time I notice snowflakes floating past the window.

Only three of my daughter's classmates showed up for school when the forecast promised twenty centimeters of snow one day last week―but neither the blanket of snow they were expecting nor the officially-sanctioned snow day they were wishing for actually materialized. The following day, the professoressa apparently went through the entire roster, asking each student's excuse for the previous day's absence. One student after the other cheekily answered, "snow," which prompted her to comment dryly, "And yet, there wasn't any snow on the ground yesterday." But I think the memory of the half-frozen state in which our kids arrived after walking six kilometers home in a blizzard last winter (when the buses stopped running and there were several hours-worth of gridlock outside the center) made many of us parents wary of a repeat.

* * *

So, Happy February! I had hoped to begin the month by finally outlining my big project for 2012, but have instead been working toward (and recovering from) a deadline for a new artist's book―The Seeds You Plant, the sestina-inspired piece that I mentioned in the last Arzigogolare entry. I had resigned myself to waiting to finish it for a future call for submissions by another gallery later in the spring but, as this earlier deadline drew closer, I just couldn't resist trying to get it ready in time. I'll post the link to photos and details once I've had a chance to put together a new page on my website.

When it comes to my various creative projects, I struggle a lot with making choices/focusing. I want to do everything (at once), and I want to execute each idea at least five different ways...sometimes it feels like a miracle that I manage to produce anything at all, since a lack of focus has the potential to be paralyzing. Unfortunately, because of this inclination to work on many things at once, I do experience the uncomfortable, ever-present sensation of being 'behind'. For example, once I made the decision to commit to finishing The Seeds You Plant, I couldn't help but consider how much else would be delayed (and not just in the studio) while I focused all my energy on the book. But, ultimately, this means that the other projects gain extra time to percolate at the back of my mind, and I find this is always a good thing.

While I am still not quite at the point of formally introducing my new project, I will share that it's called {twelve-by-twelve}. I love the concept of a dozen in terms of a collection or grouping. In fact, before evolving into an online shop offering a variety of paper-centric items, PaperSynthesis was to have been called 'twelve-by-twelve', based on the premise of offering twelve new collages each month. But, just as the word 'arzigogolare' waited patiently until the time was right, so has 'twelve-by-twelve'.

One element of {twelve-by-twelve} is a word for each month. January's was 'begin'. For this month, I have been considering everything from the imperative 'commit' or 'focus' to looser words like 'gather', 'evolve' or 'shape', which I am more familiar/comfortable with. This morning I finally awoke, after another restless night of projects tumbling around in my head, with the word 'embrace'. Instead of fighting the way I naturally work, I will try to simply embrace the chaos of my a-little-here/a-little-there/everything-at-once method and trust that things will continue to come together in their own time. It's amazing how much energy can be lost in comparing ourselves to others and trying to 'stay ahead' (or even just 'keep up'). Some people appear to thrive in a competitive mode and at a competitive pace, but I do not. I am learning to trust that this is okay.

If you have a word that inspires/guides/drives you, feel free to share it in the thoughts/notes/follow-ups (below)...

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