Getting Settled Can Be Unsettling

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

It’s amazing how much of your life can be eaten up by a slow move into a new home. It’s even more, shall we say, _interesting_ when you’ve accepted a wedding invitation on the opposite coast and you stay for a week because, well, they’re your old friends and, gosh darn it, you rarely ever see them! So between the end of LA SCBWI 12 and the 15th of this month, I was frantically trying to pack down as much of my home studio and personal belongings as I could. I didn’t quite get all of the studio. Personal stuff? Nada.

Off I went to New York where another frantic time was had. My hostess and friend since second grade did not have a dress yet and I still needed shoes. Both were accomplished just under the wire, including major alterations in less than 24 hours on my friend’s dress. We got to the wedding in New York from Northern New Jersey with not a moment to spare, which means that, because we could walk to the venue, I did so in sneakers rather than the high heels and pictures were snapped by the photographer before I had a chance to change them! Later, I met one of the staff in the restroom who said, “Oh! You’re the lady with the sneakers!” But props to children’s book illustrator AJ Smith for finding me a spot to sit and change my shoes and even tied the satin ribbons into pretty bows when I couldn’t quite reach them due to the sofa being a bit deep. Andy was my Hero of the Day!

The wedding was funny and touching and loud and fun. Before long, it was time for me to leave old friends and their families again and head back to California to finish packing and get moving, as it were.

My first trip back to the new house after returning from LA SCBWI 12 held a BIG surprise! In addition to the foundation, plumbing, and electrical work, Phil had had the floors throughout the house sanded and refinished! I was speechless. I teared up. Honest. I had been getting bummed out as I packed more and more boxes about the idea of not being able to afford to do it in time for us to move in and having to move everything back out again the following Spring. I was already bummed enough that the unfinished attic, when finished, would not have enough standing height to be a studio, but compared to the idea of moving in, then out, then back in again? Ugh! So, yeah. Tears. Happy, relieved tears.

I had another surprise when I got back from New York: My studio had all of my furniture in it! Before I’d left, we’d only moved in my drawing table, a seat, and the tall taboret. Very sparse. We’d also moved the bed, the table and most of its chairs, the rocking chair, and two low-slung wing-back chairs. Oh, and mostly filled the storage portion of the garage with boxes. But now…! Now I have a studio!

Sort of.

I can’t actually sit in there are work and work out getting comfy and into a routine and things on the walls yet, because… Because the floor is so nice I need to protect it with rugs and carpet pads from the wheels on my chairs. Remember that bit about me being picky? And about how moving eats up your time? I’m hoping to check second hand shops this weekend for small, persian rugs.

All of this is merely delaying the inevitable:

Getting comfortable enough in the studio to settle into a productive routine, so that creativity has something to return to when it chooses to come back.

I keep finding myself wanting to work, not being able to work, and when I sit down to sketch instead, … nada. For now, I’m forgiving myself for this because I have a lot of Getting To Know Myself to do. This was repeated a few times at LA SCBWI and I thought about it a good while a few times. The fact that I can’t sit down and just automatically sketch my favorite thing tells me that I don’t have a favorite thing. That is unsettling.

But it’s ok. I now have a quiet home in a house I love and a good neighborhood. I have access to all sorts of community art activities, like life drawing and painting seminars, and the local library branch. I don’t have any interruptions or distractions, save for a Facebook habit (I’ll work on that.).

With the work of the change of environment basically done, now begins the work on the self and seeing just what I have to share with the rest of the world.

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