Friday, December 10, 2010

Home away from ?

      "Where do you live?"
      That should be easy to answer, but it's really not. Although the worst was when my brother  asked, "What DO you do?" Oh how I wished I had a job title and a real address to give him instead of the awkward silence that followed. Does anyone ever want to hear a relative proclaim "I'm still an artist."? And now that musicians and actors have adopted the word it's become even more ambiguous. If you're not a rich, successful artist you might as well say, "Hello, I'm poor and deluded."
     When I lived in American Samoa the first questions asked were always the same;
"Where do you stay?"
"Where is your husband?' and,
"How many kids do you have?"
     The assumptions in those questions answered what women do. How could it be any other way? Answering, nowhere permanently, who cares and I forgot to have any actually made people angry. I tried, "My husband left me because I couldn't have children so now I am alone," which is true (with some unnecessary drama thrown in), except it made Samoan women with lots of kids want to give me some of theirs.
     I can't really explain what I do or where I live in twenty five words or less. Homeless is too loaded, besides I always have somewhere to stay, even if occasionally it is Motel 6. Nomad? Do I qualify if I rent a storage locker? Itinerant artist? That's so Depression Era. Traveler? Too vague. Couch surfer? Too young and I can usually find a real bed, except at my sister's who is also an artist. 
     If I told you, "I'm a homeless divorced childless menopausal artist", honestly, would you keep the conversation going?
     I'm having a postcard printed with my paintings on the front arranged by where I did them. The back says paintings, photography, art prints and travel stories. I'm going to use them like deaf and dumb cards when I'm asked questions. A picture is worth 1,000 lame attempts to explain what I do, before another sincere person backs away from me sorry they asked.
     My travel photography and paintings are on the site More paintings are on my site, and for travel stories, please check in here. I'm often in the tropics, but will brave the snow if there's a good reason (I want to build a room at the Ice Hotel) and I crew on sailboats going to remote places. Somehow it adds up to a pretty fun living.

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