It’s October, I’ve been back in the US for almost three months.
I’ve started and re-started this entry many times but could never commit to or endure the mental calisthenics involved in juggling the simultaneous closure and re-entry that my PDX return has demanded.
Where is that clever quip or summative moment hiding?
What cheeky observation could both encapsulate my two years in France and act as a grand salutation for me in a city that has re-presented itself as both a wonderful familiar and as a matured, wry stranger. Stories have been told, buildings razed, friend’s children have grown and I often feel I’ve stepped in at the punchline after missing the entire setup of the joke.
Leaving France was difficult and exhilarating, necessary and timely. Teary farewells to friends and colleagues were tempered by the excitement of returning to Portland and recommitting to a life not moored in a constant state of displacement. The mechanics of packing up and transporting my two-year accumulations took more time and expense than expected and the shipping, customs release and transport bills are my lingering tethers to Pont-Aven. My exhibition “Sleight of Hand” that continued on after my departure, gave me the luxury of having a shadow presence, a digital doppelganger to enact the slow dissipation of my presence in France.
Portland welcomed me back with record breaking temperatures as I began the search for an apartment. In France, I was convinced that upon my return I would quickly and easily find the perfect compound to set up shop, plant the tomatoes, hang the clothesline and get to work. I imagined a compound/acreage/tree house/fort/sanctuary that I would be able to buy and begin to build a more anchored, intentional existence here in Portland.
Two realities have challenged this: the still bloated prices in the housing market and the less than bloated salary a single, full-time faculty member makes teaching art. I haven’t surrendered the idea but need to proceed with a level of fiscal maturity and long-term awareness that clashes with my current arrested economic adolescence. It’s not a healthy plan to have more than half of your salary going towards housing, right?
The growth and expansion of PNCA has made it a very dynamic place to return to and the level of engagement and inquiry from the students and faculty is rewarding, challenging and inspiring. Ideas for new bodies of work have finally pushed through the transitional malaise and with the onset of autumn, I find myself ready to settle in and commit to these creative explorations.
So here I am.
With the profound and the pointless jostled along the same timeline. Grasping at moments, missing some, instigating others and always trying to be immersed in the now, not looking back in regret or wasting my present longing for that elusive, unlived tomorrow.