Monday, May 27, 2013

Around Town, Athens #2

Katherine is amazing and got me hooked up to an art class in May session at UGA. I got to spend the day doing some studio visits and having lunch with the students. It was fantastically informal and I got to just chat away about whatever came up and a sprinkling about the project. Students had looked at the blog some so they were informed about what I had written. Which is a little nerve wracking but great because I didn't have to do the spiel I have been doing for months now.
After eating lunch at the Botanical gardens I got to walk with 2 students and the awesome professor, Jon. Here are some photos and thoughts from the walks. 
Tyler is a graduate student at UGA. I had been joking with the class about walking, but I was serious. Tyler jumped in on walking with me first. A classmate joked, "Oh, of course Tyler would walk first." Tyler and I had met randomly on my walk with Darin. I had a short conversation with him and his friend Cameron. They were really much that this Angeleno wasn't sure if they were being sincere or pulling my leg. It seems it was sincere. 
Tyler was at ease to get right to hand holding. After we started to walk I got really really nervous. Tyler is very attractive and smart. And though in my rational mind I said it was fine, my body freaked out. Like I was in high school again. Tyler's way to deal with this awkwardness was to make jokes. It was hard to make eye contact but it after my initial freak out it was easy to walk with Tyler. We seperated from the pack and got to fall into what a walk sort of would be like. I dont' remember everything we spoke of as I didn't take notes for these walks. We spoke about the project and my walk with Darin. How Darin's walk with me cracked something open. That we create the passion and love that we will live in. That is our job. Also, that we are all a mixture of a total mess and perfect at the same time.  
It was strange to walk with an entourage sort of following us and we met up with them at the map to decide to go next. We decided to go check out the chapel and I made the joke that we would get married. That that was the ulterior motive behind this walk. :) Tyler is a fun guy and I felt able to joke like we were already old friends. This walk with Tyler reminded me that it doesn't hurt to lighten up and enjoy the moment, just as it is. 
As you can tell, there was definitely a more light hearted tone on this walk. I wasn't sure what to do with the class there and this attractive guy to walk with. I could have just walked with Tyler the whole time and not walked with the rest of the class. I was having trouble concentrating on the energy between us. It would be great to walk with Tyler for a full walk and explore the nervousness I felt and get to talk to him in a more in depth manner, not having a class of 8 tailing us. And in fairness, I needed to walk with more than one person in this situation. 
So I told Tyler, I really don't want to let go of your hand (the truth) and got to holding another student's hand. 

So with some relief and reluctance I started another mini walk. It was interesting to do this back to back to back because when Carly and I started holding hands it was like I was warmed up already. Carly is a senior who graduated this summer and has this one last class. Carly reminds me of myself. An anxious, bright woman. She was so awesome. She opend up about fears about her future. We spoke about art and how we have to fight our anxieites to create. I really hope that our time inspired her to keep going. Women artists have a lot of extra hurdles to jump in sticking with art. And I am still jumping them. I hope to get a gallery and be ok with being an artist. That I will stop proving myself and start making. I hope the same for Carly. Needless to say, it was really healing and comforting to hold Carly's hand and she was so focused on the situation I could feel her compassion and love in my body. It was a great little walk. Once again I didn't want to let go of her hand but it felt more resolved than the walk with Tyler.

Lastly, I got to walk with Jon. He is teaching the three week intensive class and is a print making faculty. Jon was incredibly welcoming and open. It was a pleasure to get to hear about life as a professor. As I must say I want to be one.  

Jon is married and has two children. There were snickers of "we are going to send these photos to your wife," from the students. Which didn't effect the way in which Jon and I had a very companionable walk. We walked through a more shaded area that was really beautiful.
It quickly entered an intimate talk about growing up in the Midwest. Jon is from Kansas. I am from Minnesota. 
We had a great conversation about how touch was not part of our upbringing. for me this started with adolescence. Which really screws up a teenage girl. That suddenly it is weird to want to give your Dad a kiss. It was a really trying time for me. Jon spoke of how he had to make the concsious effort and buck tradtion hugging his family when he would come home to visit. This talk made me feel SO MUCH better about this part of my past. I had never realy had this deep of a conversation about it. 
We spoke about our careers and Jon's family. I voiced again a feeling that I was behind on everything. Jon told me not to worry and to do my own thing. 
Three mini amazing walks.  

Around Town, Athens

So I felt the need to cap the project. To be done. So I could enter into a space to make some art on paper. The thing with this project is, it is persistant. It doesn't want to end and I need what it has to offer.
For the book's sake though. I have finished the content. Alen is working away on the design and I am working away on the posters. Which has been a lovely change from roaming around kingdom come and settling for a second in Athens. Also, I realize all of my interactions now, are just grist for a new book to come. That this project is shifting and creating a second volume as we speak.
I am new to Southern culture. I seem to put my foot in my mouth more than if I was in states I had lived  before. Also, I try to speak more from the heart and worry less about people will think. Which is hard for a people pleaser.
A cool effect of the project, is getting to hold hands more. :)
So around Athens there has been some spontaneous hand holding.
First with Daniel,

a friend of Darin's that was in town for the night. We were at the Manhattan, a local bar in downtown Athens. It was Fancy May. Fancy May is Katherine and her friends night on the town tradition. Every spring, they try to once a week, get dressed up and go out for drinks. The place doesn't get fancier, they get dressed up and turn heads. I have a limited wardrobe but I am holding my own and pulling out the dresses from the bottom of my backpacking backpack. It felt real good to have a few maker's mark and blenheim's ginger ales with some smart fancy ladies.

Darin and showed up at the bar and Daniel and I had a great chat about snow. Daniel is studying in Chicago and is from Georgia so it was fun to hear a southern poet's feelings and images of snow. Including how ungly it can become when it turns grey and dog pissed stained. Someone who understands the many shades and emotions of snow. It isn't always a christmas card bleach holds more than that....

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I was speaking with my friend Ben on the phone. We are both artists and spiritual-type folks. We always call each other when we are going through big transitions. Or if we go on a spiritual retreat. Or if I get into a really amazing dance workshop. Ben is going off to Grad School in the fall and he is uprooting himself. I have uprooted myself and gone on this crazy tour.
We were chatting away as I walked down some sketchy road in Athens. Ben spoke about feeling depressed about leaving and how he is sleeping a lot. How he is trying to have healthy emotions around leaving. I spoke about after graduating from Grad School and how I laid in bed for 3-5 days watching season after season of Weeds....or when I moved to my new apartment and every day after work I would lay in bed and read.
I got going talking about my latest transistion. That of leaving the road for a temporary home. I will be in Athens, GA for about 3 weeks. Which means I am leaning on Katherine who I casually met in Chicago. Which makes me feel guilty. And that I am getting slammed into a places' social situation. I am in a small town and I am a big town lady. I know small towns. People talk. That said, EVERYONE I have met is SO NICE. I know that my concerns are unfounded. The ladies I am hanging with are amazing and awesome. This is an internal fight with myself. This is a battle of self esteem.
For the past month, I have gone from one place to the next never having to insert myself into social structures. I have had the privilege to just observe them. Which was an amazing experience. I didn't need to make any decisions about who I was. I just got to honor and enjoy everyone's lives. Learning over and over again the buddhist ideas of letting go and flowing with what is around me. Suddenly when I see myself as grounded I am FREAKED out by this. Who am I? How will people see me? What am I? While traveling I drank minimally. I was in a sort of monk-like existence. Now I come here looking for a drink and a good time and THAT freaks me out.
Suddenly, I feel like I have to fit in to the social network I am surrounded in. I found myself grasping out to those I met in a more desperate way. Like I had to prove my worth to those around me. Getting a crush on someone I don't know in days time. Wanting desperately to be a part of a social group I was just meeting. Falling apart mentally, after being in a swimsuit around people I don't know. After a month of being so carefree and no one asking me to change, I started grasping around for people to hold on to. This desperate urge to HAVE people and things. I know the lesson I have been learning it. LET GO. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen.
I think what is good to realize is, I was fighting these negative thoughts the whole month and I was able to slide through them, let go of them. But the mind and the body gets tired. I have had a few days to relax and let my guard down and with that I have to wade through some of these negative thoughts to get to the other side. It is a bit of low ground. Homesickness. Obsessive thoughts. After a few days, I am now on the other side of them. But I think they are good to talk about. I need to share this side of the project and what I am learning. That the mind is a super powerful thing that helped me glide through a tough month of travel and learning. Now it wants a rest. And sometimes we short circuit to reset. During the trip, I questioned if I was behind having children. If I needed to start my own business and travel to arts fairs. If I need to move to any number of places I have visited. These are all coping mechanisms for being thrown into the unknown.
With all these thoughts, the more I can eat right and exercise the less violent these urges of need are. The more I can ground myself in knowing I can't control anything the better things go. Ben and I got a laugh out of that. The minute you think you have power or are in control is the minute the world will throw a wrench into the dynamic. I have to learn again and again who I am with all my quirks and needs and urges is exactly who I need to be. That I give love continually and it is time I let some of it in.
This is why I talk to Ben. To sort through these larger psychological and spiritual issues. He told me. Paige, I love your project but this is even more interesting. Tell people about this. Tell them about this urge, need, that arose when you considered yourself settling into a place.
Social structures are powerful things. Here I am entering a new one for the 9th time in about a month's time. It doesn't get any easier. I just have to keep communicating. I just need to keep laughing. I just need to keep being me. I will be putting my running shoes on tomorrow morning and getting in some me meditation time.
Now to get up the guts to makes some posters...

Darin Walk in Athens, GA #3

This walk is the most perfect walk to end my tour of Walk with ME. Darin is a true gentlemen and an artist. A person with so much character I can't really put it down in this paper. I have figured out that he is THE man about town. He knows a ton of people and they all adore him. Darin has not been sleeping well so I was worried about how our walk would go. If someone has hardly slept, how can they connect to me? Darin had planned a route and we had a few social stops where I met people that Darin loved. 
We also brought Darin's dog Dash. An adorable dog of some Georgian breed, I hadn't heard of.
The walk just came together. What is so special about Darin is he makes the world a brand new place. He wants to make everything special. So it is.

We started out by going to the train tracks. We were awkwardly holding hands. Not palm to palm. Just fingers. I think we both were a little nervous. Train tracks and trains are romantic things to me so the walk started out on this artsy romantic wave length.We stopped by his friend Anna's house and met her husband and her. And their dog Pancho. At each stop Darin and I would stop holding hands. Partly for the dog but I think out of comfort for Darin. I said it was ok cause at this point I am bit lax with the rules of the walks. :) The nervousness wore away and soon we were jabbering away. About where Darin had lived. Where I had. Some of his relationships. My time in LA. We walked to ATHICA which was closed for installation. But we ran into more friends of his. At some point we got sweet tea from the Bread Basket.
 At this point, there was no way that we could hold hands, as Dash and the sweet tea were a bit much for Darin. I was a tiny bit disappointed to not get to hold Darin's hand anymore cause we were just getting into an energetic groove. But what I have learned is that I can still feel the connection and it was there. My drawing showed two little bundles of light in grass green. That was Darin and I.
We went by his friend Laura's house but she was already at sound check. I felt like Darin wanted to connect me to all the high energy artists that he knew. That he wanted to connect sparks in a network together.
I have to admit I was tired before this walk and possibly dehydrated. I was pushing myself so hard to get things rolling here artistically. The posters I want to make need to get made and not to waste this opportunity. But walking always helps.
We stopped by his day job, and I met some of his friends there. I also caught sight of this adorable and sexy man that works with Darin. Who it seems I have developed a quick severe crush on. Maybe it is the combination of his motorcycle and his nerdy glasses...who knows... I am learning not to judge the feelings I have and the choices I make. I just hope I run into him again.

After work we kept walking.There was a minature library and we both picked out books. We got back to Darin's and I was hopped up on two servings of sweet tea. And Darin had indulged me with more sights of the beauty of Athens, and more importantly we had weaved together our hope in art and other people. We shared and it was lovely. I had a lovely time and felt escorted around town. Darin is an artistic gentlemen. We wrote about the walks and then he shared his websites with me.
and a great book about a guy visiting famous designers homes. I wanted to stay all night and just swim around in the art passion that is Darin. But I had to get some sleep and Darin needed food. :)

Darin was a major self esteem boost. Telling me that the gap in between my front teeth is because I am a sex goddess. We talked about how it feels like I am ready to get out there and love and be loved. Darin was really supportive about this. It was great to talk about love and to have someone say, "YES OF COURSE, OF COURSE you can LOVE and be LOVED." Darin mentioned the great insight, that I have been throwing around too, that maybe this project is about bringing me to a place of love with someone. After so much time learning about others and how they love and loving them platonically, maybe I am ready to take this project to a more intimate spot.We shall see....

Walk with Leslie Athens, GA #2

Leslie is one powerful woman. She had a powerful stride and energy. She was set to go and away we went. It was a walk that took us along the historic Boulevard street in Athens. It was a gorgeous overcast day. We both got sweaty. we both had swollen hands by the end of the walk.

We walked at 2pm which was a hot hot day. We talked about my time in Africa. We talked about liking being alone, love, and family issues. It was a really comfortable walk and one in which I felt like I could open up to her.

the energy Leslie shared with me was so wide open and like a sun burst. I really really really really enjoyed this energy. It was a real gift to be given this kind of walk. This type that was so open and alive at the end of my walks.

We walked and walked and walked. Leslie had asked how long walks are and I said 30 minutes to an hour and half. And as I mentioned I am not so good with the heat, so after an hour I suggested we head back. she was like, "Oh, ok..." When we got back and I told her how long we had walked she was super suprised as she thought it hadn't been that long. Which I think is a really magical thing about these walks. That they seem so short because of the type of experience they are.
I think about what it would be like to walk with Leslie several times. would it be as magical? Or would we get used to eachother? I am excited to have the time to explore this idea in the Fall in Half Moon Bay.

We walked by the most gorgeous front yards and this amazing rusty water tower. This is where we took our pictures for the walk.....
We did the silent part of the walk and Leslie laughed a little bit. Overall I didn't feel much. But this is a walk where I actually feel knitted to Leslie. Like my energy is knitted to her from my shoulder down. That is how intensely we shared.
I truly am already starting to leave the head space of this project. I am trying to hold on to get this all down.

Walk with Kathryn in Athens, GA Walk #1

I got to Athens, GA on Wednesday. I was pretty tired and very excited to be in one place longer than 6 days. I am staying with Katherine. The woman that gave me a hell yes when I asked if I could come down to Athens for a few weeks and make something at her press, Double Dutch press.

Kathryn, who is a friend of Katherine's, is an artist. She met me at Double Dutch press for our walk. We had had a drink together the night before so I had spoke to her a little bit but not much. Walks always help me get to know people faster and I was excited to make a connection in Athens.
When she got to the studio she said "oh I have to tell you on the way over here I got nervous. Cause I started to think about if people will see us walk together?!" I really loved Kathryn's honesty and openess about these feelings.
As we walked we did stick to side streets a lot. Which I took as a sort of reticence to be seen. At this point in the walks, I noticed it and let it go. It is ok. For us to enjoy the walks and Kathryn doesn't have to push herself to be seen on busy streets. We were seen enough on side streets. What was great about Kathryn is in her observations she mentioned this sticking to side streets and questions her reasoning too. And I think it is a little bit of both. Side streets are calmer and nicer and it is nerve wracking to walk with a woman in public.

Myself, I was hot and sweaty. Georgia is not a cool temperature wise, a place to walk. But I was so excited to be here that I just let myself get sweaty. As I near the end of this part of Walk with ME, I am just enjoying the walks and being present. A middle aged guy waved and smiled at us and that was a win for me.

Kathryn mentioned noticing houses and how people live. Also, feeling calm on the walk. We got into a great chat about art. It was great to get Kathryn out of her social group and have this one on on time. Where we could connect and learn about one another. I didn't learn anything about Kathryn while having a few drinks but walking I felt like she opened up to me and we had a great talk. her artwork is interesting and I feel glad I have time to make a new friend here in Georgia.
Energy wit Kathryn was airy but enclosed. With being tired and getting ready to take a break from walks. I feel like I am more relaxed. I am an old hand at this.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Walk in Asheville with Brad

I can't seem to leave the house and explore Asheville without writing this blog. I am obsessed and committed to this project. I can't even take a day off.
I met Brad through Lydia. Lydia is my friend from Boston. she was my boyfriend of the time's roommate. Lydia and I had a lot of great conversations then and have stayed in touch. She is in the mental health field and an artist. She is a great painter.
Brad is an artist. We met the day before our walk. His girlfriend, Ruby, Shannon, Lydia, and I had a great time hanging out and going out on the town in Asheville. Asheville is filled with amazing bars and one pretty shitty dance club. But we got a few good dances out of that dance club.
So suffice it to say I was a little hungover when Brad and I went for a walk. I felt a bit guilty about this hang over. As I try to do these walks sober. Brad was so excited to be a part of the project though, I wasn't going to pass up this walk.
Brad picked me up at Lydia's house and we drove a short ways to Majestic Rd. Where we took a peaceful neighborhood walk around Asheville. Brad is much taller than I, though shorter than Dirk in Boston, so I was able to pace my strides easier. It was a warm but windy day. It was really pleasant to hold Brad's hand. It was very comfortable after getting to chat with him last night. We spoke a bout art and life as we walked. In a very short time I learned a lot about Brad and I shared some thoughts about art that I hadn't gotten out for awhile.

It was about a 30 minute walk, which now feels short, because Brad had to get out of town by a certain time. But I think with the hang over and all I couldn't have taken a longer walk. :)
Brad on the walk mentioned that immediately he felt an energy be exchanged, a sort of cylinder that passed back and forth between us. Which is a great image of the energy that can be exchanged on these walks.
He also spoke of the Enso, a Japanese art practice that focuses on quieting the mind so that the soul and body can create art. This practice is alot about that. In the act of walking and holding hands the mind can't get in the way of healing and growing. What a blessed act to be a part of. Brad honored this act and participated wholly.
After walking we went to the DeSoto Cafe, we had a drink. My ginger ale was great even if the windy cold made me think I needed to get some tea. We had a great chat that continued from our walk talks and exchanged information. we both are excited to make connections to an artist in another region as we could bring opportunity to eachother.
Great walk and a new artist friend to boot! I am finally getting out there and sketching this afternoon. In the belly of the West Asheville scene.

I added this one cause I think it is a super cute picture of me :P

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Walk with Janie Durham, NC

Janie Woodbridge is probably one of the most influential people in my life. Sounds dramatic? The thing is, is that Janie was my roommate in Florence, Italy when I was 20 years old. She was a few years older and we were both studying abroad. And we were connected at the hip. I never in my life have had so much fun living with someone. Janie was cluttery like me so I didn’t feel bad about being messy. Janie loved to sing songs in her bed and talk for an hour before we would fall asleep in our twin beds. We talked about everything and had an amazing time. Janie most definitely loosened me up. Made me less serious in the best way possible. She is an artist, through and through since she was a child. Art is what she does well and easily. She inspired me. I felt like a fake a bit too. As for her, art was a constant and for me it felt like a choice. As you can imagine, studying in Florence was a magical thing and we had a magical time. 
The thing is though that Janie and I are both worry warts. We knew we were supposed to make the most out of our time and it stressed out at times. Looking back, we made the mots of it and now it is 12 years later.(Janie and I sat down with the photos while I was there. :)) We had visited each other around 8 years ago when I lived in Boston and she was at RISD for her MFA in Textiles.  
Janie has lived in Durham, with her husband, Nick, for a year and half. They have a lovely home. And the cutest dog EVER, named Teddy. 
After a night out with Nick and their friend Ryan, we decided to walk downtown for the project. As I had mentioned I was looking to find out how people in different regions react to women walking together. It was a warm day, and I got to wear shorts!!!!! 
Two large discoveries in this walk were that I didn't want to stop holding hands with Janie and she didn't want to stop holding hands with me. And I think that has to do with our history and how much affection we feel for eachother. We have a special bond. My hand ached afterwards because of it. Secondly, the project is happening somatically without me thinking it through. The magic of this project is in our bodies and happens without the walkers cognition. Holding hands, does the work and we just walk and talk and let it happen. 
As Janie reflected, we were able to catch back up to where our friendship had been easily through this walk. Through physical contact. We spoke of art, weaving, plans, jobs, Durham and it's treasures.She also noticed that people noticed while we walked but didn't react which she was glad about. It was surprisingly open. There was a group of Christians talking bible verses at the coffee shop we wrote about. I wrote down some of the verses they spoke about but I couldn't tell if it was about premarital relationships or about homosexuality. Either way not light coffee talk. 
I am so glad I got to see Janie. I needed this walk. I needed to remember this amazing time of my life and the energy we both had as we raced around Italy. Also, that we are maturing nicely and beautifully. We met up with some of my friends from a class at haystack in Maine and I hope Bryant and Ann are now friends of Janie's. Ann mentioned a possible residency at the Scrap Exchange in Durham. And I will be making a serious effort to get back to Durham this coming Spring. Before it gets hotter than hell fire down there. :) Art-cation 2014! As you may have noticed of these photographs I clumsily copied with my phone, Janie is a great photographer.