So this post is less about art, and more about running. Running was very important to me throughout grad school. For me it is an experience that is wrapped up in the particulars of place and music; simultaneously it evokes solitude and engagement with the world around me. DeKalb, Illinois, where I went to grad school, had a network of wonderful bike paths. Some of my most compelling memories involve exploring that town on long, rambling runs. Come to think of it, some of my most personal, cherished memories involve running or hiking in certain places: in the mountains in Cantagal, France, at mid-night circling the campus at Interlochen, on hot summer days at Chautauqua in western New York State, on my family’s land in the mountains in Georgia, on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic in Newfoundland.
Sadly, I have always had problems with my right knee. I have done some research and think I have an issue with my IT band. I thought it would keep me from running distances ever again, but my friend Jason (who is also a marathoner and track coach, not to mention MAJOR inspiration) thinks I can do it!
I have not run with any regularity for awhile, but with the help of new shoes, baby steps, and some coaching (via Facebook) from Jason, I am chugging away. I have always had a hard time balancing regular artmaking and regular exercise. That is my primary goal this summer. With residencies in TWO cities that are new to me (Reykjavík and Philadelphia) that should provide for a lot of great exploration.
Two books are my friends through all of this: Haruki Murakami‘s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is one of them. He is one of my favorite authors of fiction, but this work of non-fiction, his autobiographical love affair with running, is incredibly compelling. I read it in a day.
The other one is Christopher McDougall‘s Born to Run. It is an epic, exciting, narrative surrounding an amazing footrace in the canyons of northern Mexico. It’s fast-paced, and somehow also filled with riveting scientific studies on proper running form–a form that is natural to the human body and prevents injury.
Before I began my most recent foray into running (which I have been doing very regularly for about three weeks now) I was trying to think of a name for my solo show in the fall at the Fine Arts Center Gallery at Northeastern Illinois University in October. I have been working with Amelia Earhart’s last words in my work (and last words in general). The work is about life and death, so I am using part of her last words as the title–simply: We are running…
Here is a piece that was exhibited at Paint Creek in January. Her last words included the phrase We are running north and south. Which is what is projected and fades out across the canvas of this painting.
In short, quite literally, I am running!