Oh inertia!

Oh inertia!

The trouble with living in a land with no discernable seasons is that time really does slip away. I haven’t been here since February! Not because I have nothing to do or say—heck, that never stopped me before—but because, well, I just didn’t. After my little mini-safari it seemed anticlimactic to talk about my regular boring life (a new pizza place opened! yay!); and then I was determined to write another novel (10,000 words in then decided it was rubbish and needed to start over; now back up to 1,000); and then I was like, “Oh, it is April already? Crap.”

And then I went on summer vacation. I had very lofty ambitions. I bought fancy camera equipment and make a very elaborate itinerary and was going to take five thousand pictures. Instead I took about a hundred.

And didn’t share any of them.

And now it’s September and I feel guilty even doing this. But hey, if I don’t get back on the horse, then I’m not going to go anywhere.

Had I shared my rough draft, it would have begun something like this:

The first rain of the season began as a papery whisper passing a secret through the dry grasses and the dying leaves. It was mere rumor, laden with anxiety and disbelief, but then the first drops came, miraculously cold and heavy, and even if it stopped now they would all know that the rains were coming, and it would be good.

And if I had shared pictures, they would have looked something like this:

That was an up-close encounter with a cantankerous peregrine falcon in New Hampshire. Beautiful bird, though a little goofy-looking up close.

And then I would have shared some of these appealing rustic images from Vermont.

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And I would have definitely shared pictures of some of the things I saw in a museum.

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But I didn’t do any of that when it was timely, so I’m getting it out of my system, and will be returning once again to at least semi-regular posts. Because darn it, I miss this all. And the seasons are never going to help me mark the passage of time, at least not while I live here, so I have to just make sure I do it myself.

Museum day!

Museum day!

The whole purpose of my trip this summer was to visit the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, which for some reason captured my imagination and drew me from East Africa to Western Massachusetts (in a happily roundabout way).

I was not disappointed. The museum is located in North Adams, in the far northwestern corner of the state, which is a lovely little town in and of itself.

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See? It’s lovely.

The museum itself is an enormous old factory, and anyone into post-industrial chic will geek out on the details. In places the building itself is as compelling as the artworks it houses.

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In Julianne Schwartz’s tonal hallway, disembodied voices come at you from all directions as you walk through. Some are singing and some just making sounds, and the whole effect is immersive and enchanting.

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Robert Rauschenberg’s Quake in Paradise (Labyrinth), fitting in beautifully with the space.

I was especially enchanted by the Boiler House, where the old industrial material is being allowed to be rot away through what the literature descibes as “nature’s counterpunch.”

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My favorite thing was an installation by the always-incredible Lauria Anderson, but since it was all virtual reality I didn’t take any pictures of it. Luckily, everything else was pretty awesome, too. Here are some of my favorite pictures that I took today:

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Elizabeth King’s Radical Small, built around doll parts and video installations, was hauntingly beautiful.

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Nick Cave’s Until fills a football field-sized room with tens of thousands of spinners and another assorted items:

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The museum gives a lot of space over to Sol Lewitt. They make a point of telling you in many languages that you should not touch the walls, but the sign that convinced me was the one where they explained that they didn’t want to have to put ropes around the art, so please be cool. I obliged by not touching anything.

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Other artists, whose names I apparently didn’t catch (if you know who they are, do let me know):

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And this one, because no museum is complete without big pink dildos.