On our honeymoon in Sorrento my new husband horrified me by hopping confidently into a car that had pulled over, unrequested, to give us a ride. At that time I hadn't yet learned as I later would, as a resident of Italy, that Italians don't generally walk on thoroughfares unless they've had broken down or are hitchhiking.
When the Fiat rattled to a stop and the old man hailed us all I could think of was the experience I'd had a year previous as a foreign student in the town of Orvieto, where I would regularly trek along the hillsides. I had befriended another old man, one of the many wine growers of the region. I would visit him and his wife daily and then accompany him walking alongside him as he drove his little Ape, a kind of three-wheeled, fuel-saving work truck, while he inspected and tended his vines. Though I was careful not to get into his vehicle, and I thought I was being judicious, he had nevertheless interpreted my friendliness wrongly (and hopefully) and when he tried to kiss me beneath a chestnut tree I ran away and he chased me in the Ape throwing green, spiky chestnuts at my retreating form. Now here I was on my honeymoon trying to reach Positano, a city we'd set out for on foot for the fun of it. Along the way we realized that it was much farther away than we'd imagined and we weren't sure if we were going to make it. In that moment I made a choice. I got into the car.
Throughout my life I have gotten into a number of emblematic vehicles that have stopped for me and I've entered uncertainly, knowing little but that someone is within them, expecting me. I've always been a funny mix of stubborn and passive, and for the most part I am more than happy to go along on other people's adventures. Likewise in my artistic career I've generally sat around wondering when somebody important will notice my particular genius, and occasionally making little stabs at "discovery".
I'm not saying I haven't had any success, because that would be untrue, however a friend has recently planted the idea rather strongly in my mind that I can do a whole lot better. My work has come to a place of far greater maturity. Rather than leave my goals and dreams in an unarticulated corner of my imagination at this time when my artistic momentum is on the rise, I've been encouraged to state them in detail and with a dedicated timeline. This is absolutely shocking to me. And I believe it will work.
This blog will be a record of the ride, touching on topics of journey, dreams, and art-making that trace my personal map. I'm grateful to the people who are coming alongside me, unexpectedly, offering me a much-needed lift. They remind me of that unexpected honeymoon joyride, of the man behind the wheel who just wanted to practice his English with us and find out if we knew his nephew in New York. He got us to town along a high road we'd never have found ourselves--a high road with a spectacular view of the Amalfi Coast.
Oh, and my wonderful husband has never repeated such a stunt as that again.