Leaving San Francisco this morning was a fairly simple affair. Pack, pick up the rental car and drive about an hour south of the city to Half Moon Bay. San Francisco is one of those places in which you can feel at home without having spent a lot of time in residence. While you are there, the cable cars are your cable cars. The many coffee shops welcome you, personally. The sense of community in each area…North Beach, Chinatown, Hayes Valley and, yes, even Haight Ashbury…seems familiar, more from movies and having lived through the 60s than from real experience, but it all makes sense and is not jarring. It is a city one can return to again and again and discover old and new pleasures.
On the drive to Half Moon Bay, we stopped at a beach along Route 1, the coastal route. The beaches are big and powerful here. Big sweeps of sand between huge points of rock, backed by sand dunes and rushed by waves populated by dozens of surfers. Definitely not like Maine. Sitting in the warm sand with cups of coffee in hand and the morning sun on our backs, my husband asked me about what I was thinking about in terms of work for a show scheduled at Telluride Gallery of Fine Art in June of next year. He is used to the rhythms of my working: long stretches of thinking and research, punctuated more and more frequently with sketches and defining and beginning the actual making.
“Transitions,” I said, and we spent the following 40 minutes talking about what that might mean, what words begin to put pins in the map to tell me in what direction I need to go. Transitions as change or growth. Or seasons. Or movement. I won’t go on about it now because the ideas aren’t developed yet and I don’t want to “spend” them or to dissipate them through familiarity. But it was the process that we followed that might be of interest. There are two important elements. 1. Getting away so that there are no interruptions, either real or imagined. And 2. Having a trusted partner who is as invested in success as you are but has no ownership in the outcome. I don’t give this as a surefire prescription for success in developing one’s work, but as I look back, so often my best work has come about following a period of time that puts me outside of my normal life and involves the sounding of ideas with another person, usually Kirby. I hadn’t really thought of it before, but now I see it…in transition from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay.