Sunday, November 16, 2014

It Was a Long Summer in Tuttle Creek Campground

and it’s over. I haven’t written a post since July, so I’ll y’all up on happenings since then. In September I searched for, found, and bought a new-to-me trailer from a retired doctor living in a 3-storey cabin at the north end of Lake Tahoe. It’s an A-frame pop-up by Chalet of Oregon. The triangular walls are made of a foam core-plexiplastic-sheathing laminate, and fold up on long piano hinges somewhat like one of those white Chinese food take-out cartons. Makes a low, flat, lightweight  package pretty easy to tow. Has the same floor plan and square footage of my Santa Fe Trailer, but more elbow room and less storage. It has good brakes, intrinsic stabilizers, and best of all: a refrigerator! 

The falling-out back end of my bohemian Santa Fe bed-sitting studio was re-fastened to its undergirding by a resourceful and reckless camp host, Shane, and wife Jasmine. We agreed on a price (cheap) and Shane jimmied the springs (crawled under the trailer and pounded boards into rusting iron sections) to raise the frame high enough to clear the speed bumps-drainage gutters out of the campground, and then towed it south to the Salvation Army in Ridgecrest, where it was accepted as a “donation.”  I told them the truth about its condition, but they seemed to think it could still be welcome extra housing for a poor family out in the boonies around Ridgecrest or Inyokern. Maybe a Grannie House — I’d like to think of it as being again a peaceful shelter for a woman.

It’s kinda like moving out of a lath-and-plaster apartment from the 20’s and into a suburban subdivision condo; “you’re moving up!” as a friend teased. And it is a well-preserved 2003 that was handled gently and stored for six years in a carport before I drove it to Lone Pine. I don’t love it the way I loved my splintering vintage Santa Fe tinder box, but it is a clean machine that keeps out the rodents, the rain, and the cold. 

I dunno about painting in it, tho. May be too “nice.” A studio is a place where you can make a mess, nail stuff to the walls, screw stuff to the table, spill paint, slop paint. I think I”ll buy a replacement dinette table and keep it in storage, so I can make my art messes on the one I’ve got without anxiety about “ruining” it. (How does that middle-class “nice” still have the power to make me nervous about ruining it for the sake of making art? Maybe I should just stomp out to my truck, retrieve the hatchet stashed therein, charge back inside and whack some liberating ruination into this Flawless White Formica before I go to bed tonight, already, dammit.) I have lotsa drawings and plans for new work but haven’t felt “seated” or “centered” enough to let go of vigilance and sink into the deep interior pool of focus and feeling that painting requires of me.

As it gets colder, I am thinking about moving south for the winter — maybe check out Yuma, Quartzite, other Snowbird winterhavens. I am visiting Tucson for a week before Thanksgiving, and if I like it, I may look for a winter campground nearby.