What Notions Are Afoot

I have embarked on an interesting journey as of late. My mother was here for some time during the winter. She is a painter. Her name is Maria Trapani. She taught art. She infused art into our everyday lives, whether it was visiting the Detroit Institute of the paprikaArts on a fairly regular basis or making a stop on a summer vacation out east to see a Wyeth family exhibit. Each moment is pooled in my memory and hovers in all the best ways. It is because of her that I love art, and my happy place is in an art museum or gallery. Maybe it’s because it’s where she is happiest, too.

With all that, it has taken me this long to perhaps embrace what was inevitable. I have always been creating in some way shape or form. Each little project my mother gave me as a kid, needle point, latch hook, paint-by-numbers, I finished and was pleased with myself for doing so. I sketched a lot as a kid, too. It was something she had us do. There were no tablets back then, and there was no cable TV, but there was always a sketchpad, pencils and something to draw.

At some point, I let it all go. I had taken art classes in my second time around college, butbutch painting there were other things I had to focus on. I still created, but in words rather than in images. I write poetry, a kind of art where I paint with words. Somehow, I always danced around the inevitable, though. It was easier to dance around it than embrace it.

Oddly enough, all these years I had kept supplies. Even when my partner and I purged all of our stuff and embraced a mostly minimalist lifestyle, I kept supplies. I had nearly forgotten I had kept them until my painter mother came to visit and asked what I might have so she wouldn’t have to drag all her supplies on a plane. I found I had everything, oil paints, brushes, canvases, paper, everything, and so it began.

I started tentatively with a small painting of a can of paprika that I still have not finished, but I called it my learning painting. They are all learning paintings, but this was the first step learning paint. I was playing with color and perspective and realized I knew nothing of either and painted over the image until it felt like it was what I wanted it to me, though I haven’t attempted the small details yet. Then I painted the neighbor’s dog and my dog and now I am working through an atelier book, though I know I can’t really learn that way from a book, but it’s better than nothing. And, here I am now. diving into it finally. It’s a start, a journey, like writing has been. It’s for writing because I feel painting is helping me to see in new ways, to understand the world in a different way that gets me away from the computer for a time. In many ways, I have been studying paintings all my life, so it really comes as no surprise that I would begin doing it at some point. I have a lot to learn, but I leave this post with a quote from Keith Haring because it sums it all up pretty well. “The best reason to paint is that there is no reason to paint.” landscape

 

Advertisements

2017, Year of Change

As the year ends, I am dusting off the blog and reflecting on the past year. As with any year, 2017 has been a mix of highs and lows, but mostly it has been about change. I guess every year is about change, but we have made some big ones in the past couple of years.

In 2016, we moved from Michigan, where I was born and raised and never left, to Colorado. I moved quite a bit throughout my life but always throughout Southeast Michigan, so this was a huge transition. My husband and I tend to make leaps of faith. With this one, we said goodbye to jobs and longtime friends, sold our little house in Ypsilanti, did a massive purge of stuff, and packed up what was left along with two dogs and one kid and headed west.

For a bit more than a year we lived with my in-laws and most of our belongings sat in storage in boxes. While that was difficult at times, mostly because of my fears, we could not have done the move without the help and support of my in-laws. In many ways it was a special year that allowed us to hang out together in a unique and wonderful way. We are glad we moved. We love our new home state. We love the mountains. We love the sunshine. We love the rivers. We will be launching a new blog in 2018 that will focus on our big move and our new life here.

Still, all this happened in 2016. In 2017, we made another leap of faith and moved again. This time, just a few miles away, well a little more than a few, but we moved into our own place in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, exactly where we’d hoped to be at some point. As with most things in our lives, it wasn’t a planned move. It was sort off a

IMG_7650
Bohn Park View

sudden thing. An opportunity arose. We weighed the pros and cons, and we jumped at the chance to live where we could step out our back door and walk to the river. As a bonus, the community we have moved into has welcomed us in such a warm way. We feel quite at home in our new place.

 

This year also saw the release of my first book, a chapbook of poetry, and 2018 will begin with an official book release event in February at the local library. Kiki began taking college classes. That helped her meet some people here. That was the hardest part of the move for my social butterfly. All of her friends are in Michigan. Now, she has some good friends here in Colorado, and that is helping her adjust a bit more, that and the fact that she now has her driver’s license. Jay got to do a lot more fishing. It helps that he can walk into the park behind are house and make casts. We did a bit of hiking, not as much as we would have liked, but the hikes we went on were wonderfully cleansing. We saw some of our dear friends from Michigan in June when they came to see Dead and Company with us in Boulder, and Kiki welcomed lots of new and old friends when she attended her first Little People of America National Conference, which was held in Denver this year. We also took a trip to Gunnison, where we fished and hiked.

It has all been good, but life is life and that means with the good comes the not so good.

IMG_7597
Maynard was always a bit of a hotdog.

This year ends with the loss of one of our beloved dogs. Maynard the Wonder dog left us just before Christmas. He wasn’t feeling well starting a couple weeks before Christmas, and then everything progressed pretty quickly from there and he was gone. He was a good dog. A bit of a mischief maker, he had penchant counter surfing and for chatting early in the morning if he sensed Jay or I making even the slightest move toward waking up. He loved splashing in rivers, got excited for a good long walk, and relished a good belly scratch. We miss him so much. He definitely made deep imprints on our hearts.

 

As sad as it all was, 2018 will be here in a handful of hours and we will move on. There is a lot to look forward to. We have been so blessed to be able to spend more time with family, which is what we missed in Michigan. It’s extra special to have the opportunity to see our nieces grow up and to get to spend more time with our parents. We’ll do a lot more of that in 2018. Happy New Year to everyone who finds their way to this little blog! My hope is that you all make steps toward fulfilling whatever dreams and goals you make.

 

Emerging From the Divide

 

I see a lot of mountains. I love mountains. I feel at home near the mountains. Some people feel at home near water. I like water, too, but I love the mountains. They represent so much. They are vast here. They are hard and beautiful. Here it is easy to leave the business of life and hit a trail for a while where there is no chatter. It’s easier to see there are bigger things than us.

There is no good segue from that to this, to discussing the way I have begun to let go and let myself dive into writing again. Maybe the mountains just represent the letting go for me. Maybe this picture of a great divide represents my own divide, or the process of dividing in half the way things were and the way things are now with something new emerging from all of it.

The way things were were tense and serious and hard, not that things shouldn’t be hard. I lived by a book that someone else had written. I learned from that book. Yes, I am talking about writing. I was serious about it. I wrote serious stories about life. My first book, which is in a drawer, is a serious story about a life I once knew, a life I needed to release in some way, maybe that way.

There is no good way to say this, but I the floundered. I floundered after grad school as I tried to figure out what to do with all of that. I jumped from writing group to writing group trying to find a good fit. I tried to find beta readers for stuff that had grown stale a long time ago.

Here, by the mountains, I found a little writing book, Benjamin Percy’s book Thrill Me. I hadn’t read a craft book in a while. I was pretty down on craft, confused about it. Percy gave me permission, permission to go where I wanted to go, to take my serious writing learning and find the holes in reality I was always looking for. That’s what I am doing now with the very real, very big mountains in view.

I’m in the midst of marketing my first book of poems, but already my focus is shifting from poems to time and divides and mountains and things that as I write I can’t really explain, and it feels good. It feels right.

Back to the Blog (but New and Not Necessarily Improved)

img_5649I’m blogging again. I’m blogging out of want and kind of out of necessity. I’m blogging because this is the real me and the other Cristina Trapani-Scott blog is not the real me, so no I don’t write about the benefits of Acai or whatever. I write about writing and about change. Yes, I said change. I have been through some lately, like changing from lifelong Michigan resident to Colorado resident. I could say change is scary, but change is always happening. Nothing is static and that is for the most part good. Yes, there has been change, like changing from being a steady working chick to dropping everything and having no job. That’s change. That’s scary change. I’m getting used to it, sort of. I’m not planning on making that permanent. Still, right now I’m using the free time to hang out here in San Francisco where I am visiting family and riding buses and running on the beach, or in the ocean as Map My Run likes to show. Really I’m here to find myself as a writer. I guess I lost that part of myself for a while. It has been hard to find in some ways, or maybe like everything else that part of me has changed and grown a bit as well. I am not the writing child anymore. I am the brooding writing teenager, growing pains and all. Well, I have said all I have to say for today. I will be heading to North Beach tomorrow, the Italian section of San Francisco. I am sure I’ll find inspiration there. Maybe the ghosts will speak. I will be listening. img_5672