-Sunflowers, July 2007, growers market, Albuquerque, NM, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
ybonesy: What is it about being able to hang out in person with someone who you normally do so much with — write, start a blog, plan and produce — via telephone and email?
QuoinMonkey: Oh, it was such a relief to be able to just sit and have a cup of Joe on the patio in the morning, instead of having to plan for different schedules and time zones. I also got to see your expressions and your smile. And the space where you live. It was so relaxed.
yb: Yeah, I felt the same way! We never seem to have time to just hang out, get to know each other better. Although, after writing with you for how many years now, I feel I know a lot *about* you. Is that the same as knowing you, though?
QM: That’s the question of the century. I used to think you could know someone through writing practice. But all you really know is the inner workings of their mind. Not who they are day-to-day. That’s what made it so great to be able to hang out together in the same town. And to do day-to-day things, as well as planning for the future of red Ravine.
yb: I’m glad you met my family and vice versa. They liked you a lot. The candy surprises you left the girls helped ;-). Really, though, Jim doesn’t get to talk motorcycles with any of my other friends. I’m curious, after “hearing” about them all these years through my writing, are they what you expected?
QM: LOL. That Liz, she was so thoughtful to remind me to bring a little something for the girls. I loved talking motorcycles with Jim. He’s so knowledgeable and hands-on. If we lived in the same town, I’d sure love to take the bikes out sometime. I know from experience that my Honda Rebel can even keep up with a Harley!
Your family is a delight – even better than the way I pictured them from your writing. Honestly, I had a pretty good idea about each one of them from the details of your writing practices over the years. But now the visual is grounded in something solid. A whole new realm.
yb: It was good for them to get to know you, too. I just wish you could have stayed longer. I would have liked to do some writing practice with you. This is the first time we’ve been together in person where we didn’t do writing practice, right?
QM: Right, I kept thinking we’d have time to practice. But it took us quite a while just to catch up on my week in Taos and your week at Ghost Ranch. I think we were both so excited about our work. And then there was the need to do some planning for the blog. Next time, I’d make it a 3-day weekend, if you could stand me that long. 8)
yb: Absolutely!! Hey, I realized when I dropped you off at the airport that you were going to be starved by the time you boarded your plane. I should have sent you with plums from the grower’s market, at least. Did you get to eat at the airport?
QM: Ah, the grower’s market was great. Everything went like clockwork that day, didn’t it? I checked my baggage and went straight to the gate. There was a Quiznos right there. But after I stood in line, I realized the heat had shrunk my appetite and I wasn’t hungry enough for a sub. So I grabbed a bag of Sun Chips and a chocolate chip cookie which I only ate half of because I’d forgotten that Liz had arranged a bump up to First Class (for the same price). They fed me a full meal half way into the flight.
All this to say, not to worry! I came home quite satisfied. Oh, BTW, what was it you made Saturday night? Homemade enchiladas? They were so good. Where did you say you learned to cook?
yb: Oh yeah, those were enchiladas. With an egg on top. (The way the locals eat ‘em.) My mom taught me how to make the red chile from pods. Everything I make that’s any good, it’s because my mom taught me. Next time you come, bring Liz. We like having visitors.
QM: I will be back to New Mexico in the not too distant future. Of that I am sure. Liz and I have been wanting to get away together for some time. With her in school and me traveling as much as I have for my writing, it’s been about 3 years since we took a week off together. So maybe next time we’ll come through New Mexico!
You know, I was thinking this morning that in 2008, I want to take a writer’s retreat in northern Minnesota. Or maybe a few hours north in Duluth. Then my mind extrapolated and thought, why not invite ybonesy? We could have shared time together and then separate time to write alone.
Or you could paint the North Shore, which is stunning. It’s all about the water here in Minnesota. What do you think?
Hey, I was also wondering, now that you’ve had time to sit with your week at Ghost Ranch, how do you think it changed your painting and writing? Or even your idea of the direction you want to head on red Ravine. What do you think was the biggest thing to come out of our meeting?
Let’s see, on your two questions, Ghost Ranch gave me the opportunity to dedicate an entire week to my painting and to see that yes, I am an artist. I have all the experiences inside me. I rarely devote that much time all at once to producing, so the gift was having the time, the materials, inspired teachers and students, and a beautiful setting. It all came together.
And our meeting, well, I think I realized how much I gain from having creative people in my life who I can talk to about writing and art. Our conversation generated good ideas for my own work as well as for the work we’re doing together. That’s huge. Inspiration is huge. How about you? What do think was the biggest thing?
QM: Hmmm. I felt really comfortable in Taos this time. I was tired from the work I was doing, but the experience and learnings were deep. On the Twin Hearts shuttle between Taos and Albuquerque, I realized I need to do a writing retreat in 2008. Give myself time to go somewhere alone or with a few trusted writing friends. It was the first time I had that feeling so strongly.
(BTW, there were only two of us on the 11a.m. shuttle from Mabel’s in Taos, and I was the only person after we passed Santa Fe! It felt like a limo!)
About our meeting, the biggest thing was to bounce creative ideas and projects off a trusted writer, artist, and friend. The road is a hard one. And it’s difficult to find a person who not only shares a mutal vision and is willing to do the work, but supports me in my individual projects and dreams. I’m so awake to that kind of listening. And you want to know the biggest and most simple thing? I ask questions about your life and you ask questions about mine. It’s an equal exchange. Refreshing!
-Shadow Shifting, July 2007, Albuquerque, NM, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, July 18th, 2007