Saturday, August 14, 2010


pages from a proof

even though from orchards, fields, and gardens is filled with the writing and artwork of others, it feels so personal to me. not surprising i guess considering i've spent almost a year with its stories and images.

you know how you appreciate certain photos or paintings often because they evoke a certain feeling or memory? well, most of the artwork in the book is like that for me. when i first saw abby's photo, i was immediately drawn to and moved by it. i didn't realize until later—until even after i'd chosen it for the book from a group of abby's farm photos—just how closely it resembled a painting that is very familiar to me. the story—

after college, my friend laurel and i eurailed around europe before laurel left for northern spain and then college on the east coast and i left on a train north to go live in sweden. (our dramatic parting is another story altogether, involving multiple barcelona underground stations with the same name, losing each other, bomb threats at the train station, canceled trains to the basque region and phone calls from my fretful mother to the paris central train station, m
y hardly recognizable name announced over the loudspeaker several times in a thick french accent, just as my train for stockholm was arriving.)

laurel and i traveled around for a month, staying in hostels and rigorously seeing sites and attending museums, surviving on baguettes, fruit and hit cookies. toward the end of the trip, we traveled to cupra marritima, on the east coast of italy, where my mormor's brother torsten had a house. he was there for the summer, and my mormor and her sister, carin, were visiting him there for the first time, as luck would have it. we stayed with them for three days, the first physically relaxing days of our trip. we swam in warm, clear turquoise water and ambled up the beach strip to get our daily gelatos. in the evenings, we all ate on the roof of torsten's house. mormor, carin and torsten reminisced about their childhood. i wish i had a recording of their conversations. i don't remember a word of what they said, but i remember how close they seemed and how they basked in each other's company. i had never really seen my mormor as someone's sibling until then. i knew she and carin were close, but hearing the three of them, i got a different sense of their relationships.

mormor, carin and torsten

carin, laurel and mormor

anyhow, during that stay, torsten (an artist) painted in his front yard. he painted a blue ladder and the fig tree behind the ladder. the ladder stayed in place all day and night, there when laurel and i arrived, and there when we left. later, that painting graced the cover of a book from a retrospective exhibit of torsten's work. i often return to that book with the ladder on the cover. funny that i did not consciously recognize it when i first saw abby's photo.



abby try again said...

Wow, this is such a sweet story!
I'm so glad my photos brought back these memories for you :)
I am also so excited to see the book.
One day you and I must exchange crazy travel stories..sound like you have some really great ones. Happy Weekend, Shash.

jenifer lake said...

that is an amazing story/relationship between visual work. love it.