Hey my loves,
I’m writing this, I confess, not in order to communicate, really, but in order to try and clear my own mind (and also, I find the act of writing, the feel of my keyboard, to be steadying). Life is. . . not confused. . . but very, very complicated. A welter of very intense, vivid moments crowd up together, pushing and shoving and vying for attention, to pile into one single hour.
And then the hours pile into a day. One more full day left, and then I’m gone. Really gone, because the program is moving. There won’t be any Orvieto semester in this physical place any more, even if I did manage to come back someday.
I cried in the sala today, the first time I’ve actually just wailed about leaving. I thought that I was going to be totally fine, not a tear in my eye, until last night at our farewell party (the first of two, but I’ll miss the second because I’ll be in Cinquaterra). After our pizza party, I was in a funk, and the emotion just kept building. Tonight will be our last family dinner together before the group starts splintering. When I found out that Heffay might not be able to be there because he was having guys’ night with Skills - well, that tore it. I bawled. Not have one last family dinner?
This morning, about 9 o’clock in the stone-sculpting garage, I couldn’t stop smiling. Something about the song “The Close of Autumn” was perfection, and the sun was shining and the sanding on my angel’s halo was almost over. The whole sculpting process is almost over. Whee!
I took a nap in the sala on the couches. Rain poured down outside, and so I couldn’t go to finish grinding down my angel’s arms to the correct level. Becca and Katie also fell asleep on the couches next to me, and Heffay worked on his poems for class. He’s writing the ekphrastic poem for my piece, and I am wildly curious. I’ve never read his work. What’s he going to say about this sculpture with which I am so dissatisfied?
I went to vespers at Buon Gesu. For the first time, I followed the entire service through the book without getting lost, and I understood almost all of it. That music. . . well, there isn’t anything it’s like. I love the way it smells there, too. If I could bottle up one thing to bring back to you all, it would be that sound and that smell and the soft cool feel of the space as you push open the wooden door.
The magnolia tree outside my window is blooming. Katie thinks it’s a wedding kind of flower. I think it’s a very solitary kind of flower. It just doesn’t look good in arrangements with others. Its grace is a little stiff, a little formal. It needs space to breathe. Maybe this is why I sympathize with magnolias? I don’t feel like a group flower either. = )
Katie and I planned our last cappuccino break together for tomorrow morning. I signed up for my critique-time. I had pistachio and tiramisu gelato for the last time. I walked the cliff one last time, near sunset.
If there weren’t some firsts to go along with all the lasts. . . actually, I’m not sure about that. The firsts, in combination with all the lasts, may in fact be what is making me feel so crazy. You know, I always laughed at that stereotype of the insane or dysfunctional artist. I was like, “Sure, I’m a little unbalanced at times, but essentially I’m OK. I’m functional. I’m punctual, I have a good work ethic. I can cook and drive and babysit and turn things in on time without constantly pulling all-nighters. I’m honest, and I can totally blend with society.” Well, now I know that I am, in fact, exactly that stereotype of the crazy artist. Whether it’s some gene that I inherited, or due to the commitments I’ve made to honesty or openness of vision or to making art of the visual or verbal kind. . . I haven’t the faintest. But that little monologue that’s constantly going on in your head? Well, sometimes it doesn’t exist. And when it does exist, it constantly contradicts itself.
I’m trying to take Dr. Skills’ advice to heart, though: give yourself space to feel what you’re feeling. And then feel the next thing that you’re feeling. Also, Dorothy L. Sayers: Don’t contradict or suppress what you’re feeling according to what you think you ought to be feeling.
Difficult. But also, in the end, I suppose keeping in touch with what’s actually going on in your insides is probably as important as keeping in touch with what’s going on in the outside world. Yes?
P.S. No more blog posts for the next couple weeks - I will be in the north of Italy, then in Greece, and then flying home to stay for a few days before I move up to college to begin work. So, extended hugs to last until the time of my next update.