Friday, May 25, 2012


Dearest Readers,
Last time we talked it was Easter Sunday and I was riffing on the ups and downs of verticality and descent. The open road beckons me now, with its fears and freedom on a ribbon of horizontality. The Scion’s tuned up, with new shoes and juice. Dog Etta James senses the excitement.
Tomorrow we begin our slow road trip to my heartland of Rutland Vermont, unwinding the string from here in Georgia to way up there, with stops at the home of artists Ann Cowperthwaite and Mike Parker  in Raleigh, and a week in Brooklyn with my daughter Semra Ercin, her partner Erik Proft, and dear grandson Roman. Then three months of simple living, painting, writing, drawing, quilting and keeping cool in an unfurnished apartment in the Green Mountains near old friends and relatives.

I’m anxious about the journey this year. Will I be lonely? Will I get too tired along the way? 

Last summer I discovered my driving limits as I traveled around the country returning Hand to Hand artworks. I know what scares me, and I’m afraid I may get afraid, even though I’ve made this south-north trip many times. I went into a tizzy last week when my Vermont housing plans fell through, but then friends helped me find a new place. Nevertheless I came down with a cold and mental exhaustion. I'm amazed how much I like control and certainty. I say this out loud for my own sake. Etta and I will get behind the wheel and clamber up on the back of the road anyway, despite the jitters inside. Last summer I dubbed this panic “The Road Demon”, and kept right on moving. Rest and self-compassion seem to be the key.
This impending travel reminds me of an earlier car trip from Georgia to Rutland that Mom and I took back in June 1989. Tiananmen Square was erupting on the motel TV news, as I was carefully returning Mom, 81, the vortex of my life, back to her hometown comfort zone in rural Vermont, after eight years of trying to fit into Southern living. That little car became an intimate northbound space frame, bundling and hurtling the two of us together, then apart.