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MacDowell, The Final Countdown (repost)

I spent last weekend in Boston hanging out with an old friend. He’s really not an old friend, but someone I have known for about 6 years. He feels like an old friend though. He is largely responsible for my interest in modernism and decorative arts. One of those people that you know you will have a relationship with for the rest of your life, because your life wouldn’t be the same without them.

We did a huge architecture tour of Boston, ate a burger and shepard’s pie at a pub and talked until 3 in the morning. Waking up at 9:00 we had 2 pots of coffee and talked until almost 3:00 at his kitchen table. Laughing and having a great time, my tongue was sore from talking so much. We checked out more architecture and saw the new ICA, which is fantastic, but another classic case of architects forgetting that then needed to put art in the museum. I can’t complain, ever since Diller-Scoffido did that show at the Whitney with the drills, they can do no wrong by me. But,I love leaving a reunion and feeling as if it had been a week apart.

Back to MacDowell, a beautiful drive though the mountains, the color was amazing, just as the leaves darken from the lack of sun, the sky became brilliant. I reached over to put my hand on my wife’s knee, and it wasn’t there. Damn, life’s cruel jokes. Sometimes the things you want to share the most are enjoyed alone. I rolled back onto MacDowell property and I saw through the window, Mark and Greta, clearing plates from the dinner table. I drove directly to my studio. I had an open house at the studio the next day and I needed to get ready.

I got up early to take the truck in for some repairs and an oil change, because I go home in 2 days. It’s a funny time, saying good bye and tying up lose ends. It is the reverse of my experience just this time last month.

My open studio event started at 5:00 and it was great. Perfect strangers who have become friends are now finally allowed into my studio. They didn’t know what I was doing out here at the end of the road in my cabin, I could have been building bombs. I told them I was working. They filled the studio and seemed to genuinely like the work I have been preparing. Although, it was confusing, I have shifted so many time on this trip that I found myself working on three bodies of work. Some things never change, if I would have had my woodshop, I may have worked on five.

It was a great start to a full evening of events. My studio opening, followed by dinner, two readings and a presentation on climate change/composition. We had a beautiful salmon fillet, rice, salad and greens for dinner. I also had a wonderful conversation with David about being a dad, which always gets me excited. David got excited to and his son is in his 20’s. Once a dad, always a dad I guess.

After dinner Greta read two sections of the book she is writing about her experiences at an orphanage in Africa. It was extremely moving the way she worked her experiences into the local lore. It was very visual and I liked the tone of compassion in her voice as she read. I want to make it a habit if reading more to Ford when I get home. I think hearing something read to you clears the visual field in your mind that would usually be filled with the written word. I really do think it helps to set the tone for the words. Not to mention, it is so nice to hear an author read it as it was written, and intended.

Lori read part of a piece she was working on about a trip to Spain with her family. It was great, and I love Spain, so it was very visual to me. You can almost feel the air and hear the sounds, which makes it so much more alive.

Nathan then did a presentation in the library about climate change. I love Nathan and his passion for the subject, but never has the problem of climate change been so saturated in doom and hopelessness. Its almost as if you don’t need to kill the messenger, he is dead already.

I’m interested, I’m active in recycling and so on. I even bought an electric mower. But here is the deal. If you think you are going to get people to change based on charts and graphs that the average person can’t read, conbining that with a “the sky is falling” mentality, we are totally out of luck. You’ve lost me already, and I was interested before you started talking. Now the conversation seems hopeless and you still haven’t told me what to do to fix it. Becoming a vegetarian is not the answer considering everyone is born with canines in their mouths. Eating animals is what we do. Even I find it hard to believe that the methane produced by cows and humans has a larger impact on the earth than driving my car 1200 miles to MacDowell.

I really think if this world is going to be saved for the next generation, we need to be creative. It needs to be compelling because Americans are not interested in facts, if we were, we wouldn’t be here. However I do agree with Nathan, if we don’t change, this body we are living on will die the life of a junkie and probably never live to see old age.

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