Where are you?
I am at the Can Serrat Artist Residency, which is an old house sin numero in El Bruc, a small town on the south side of Montserrat and 45 minutes by bus from Barcelona. My attempts to simply embed a Google Map in this post were ineffective, so I’ve created a fuzzy map for you:
Where are you, really?
I am in an old house in a town on the south side of Montserrat. When it is sunny I sit in the sun and do laundry.
I wake up and look out this window and sit at this desk to work.
But I’m just as likely to work in the shared studio, especially when it’s sunny.
What are you wearing?
Dear anonymous questioner, I suspect you will be disappointed with my response. Right now I am wearing a black A-line skirt, black tights, clunky brown ankle-high boots, a navy-V neck sweater, a denim shirt, a green sweater I bought on sale in Barcelona from Benetton, and a hat with a fox on it that Lucy sent to me from England (because it is chilly, and because I usually wake up with matted hair). This outfit changes very little. Sometimes I wear jeans or green or mustard yellow tights. Sometimes I wear a black dress and put on lipstick. I wear sneakers and olive-green stretchy pants when I go hiking. When I go outside and play with the dog Gordo, I wear a scarf.
Why are you in Spain?
I’ve been travelling to Spain since I was a post-University baby poet. (I pause to search my old Flickr archives to see if I have any digital pictures from these early trips. I do not). I have a particular soft spot for Barcelona. So I’m here because I love Barcelona and because I’d like to move here in 3-7 years. I’m also here because I received funding to be here.
What are you writing? / Are you writing? / Are you writing anything? / What are you making?
1. When I learn a new word or phrase or expression—usually in Catalan or Spanish, but sometimes in French, German or Australian English—I write it on an index card and annotate it with a description of the context in which I heard it. Then I make poems out of the cards and words. So, for example, on my first hike to the Refugi Vicenç Barbé, I met Jaome with his goats and a burro named Chula. They were all hanging out in this scrubby field covered in rosemary and thyme.
So I told Jaome that I liked his goats—I guessed the word in Catalan and was close enough that he understood me. And now I have a card and a story and some kind of a poem for the phrase, “I really like your goats,” in Catalan. (The top card says, literally, “dream with the little angels,” which I love—it’s a rather dramatic way to wish someone “sweet dreams.”)
2. When I’m tired of annotating and making poems from annotations, I work on a prose-novel-thing about, oh, I don’t know. Anxiety, alienation and expatriate aesthetics.
3. When I don’t want to annotate and the thought of working on the prose text thing makes me want to roll around on the floor with something covering my head, I erase Henry Swinburne’s Travels Through Spain in the Years 1775 and 1776.
4. I write letters to my loves, which are the best kind of letters to write.
How are you?
I’m better than I have been.
When are you coming home? Where will you live when you leave Spain? Who are you spending time with? Are you in love? What have you been cooking? Who do you hang out with?
Oh, I think I’d better answer those questions in a separate post.