The Joys of Woodscape (Painting by Numbers)

We drive back from Michigan to DC today and it’s our first morning of rain preceded by downpours all night long. Much needed, this noisy gray storm, rain battering down on the plastic skylights on the semi-enclosed porch; a parched region we’re in; drought-inflicted; Lake Michigan too placid to live up to its bullying reputation. It could not be pelting down any harder at the moment, which is exciting, to be typing on a noisy porch set atop a ravine, forest all around.

Yesterday was the first complete moratorium on theater work and conversation. Rebecca and Hannah worked hard last week and there were emails and post cards and press releases and actor business to keep up with via cell phone at intermittent intervals. Yesterday, my mother came back with Sophie from the grocery store and art supply shop with an oversized Artkit called Woodscape Paint-by-Numbers with accompanying high quality acrylic paints and plantation grown pine finely cut to recreate an Old Country Mill and Farmhouse encased in a wooden frame. We were to spill out the contents in jigsaw puzzle fashion and mix 7 different primary colors (of white, black, umber, gold, yellow, blue, red, and an acrylic finish) to create 15 shades of weather-beaten rust, ochre and sun dappled foliage. The hobby-craft undertaking took 4 hours of late morning through later lunch time concentration; Sophie and I split the duties of paint-mixing, color categorizing, double and triple checking our work on the 200-plus pieces. After sufficient drying time and wonderful beach/frisbee/Michigan Art Day meandering with cousins, newly arriving sibling with children from Cincinnati, and dinner for 15, we glued down all the pieces and fit the Old Mill into its freshly painted frame and completed a most satisfying immersion. To be absorbed entirely in a work of beauty; this is a definition of happiness. And more to the point, doing an art project with your kid again. And to be a kid. Again. If one ever stopped…keep reading

Haven’t read a script all week. Catching up on The New Yorker mostly, and on my father’s writing for the Chicago Jewish Historical Society Quarterly newsletter. Did a little playwriting in my journal; not much; not enough; but sufficient to keep some new ideas alive. Have a course for the University of Michigan to keep planning (“A Theater of Meaning in The Digital Age;” part of the Michigan in Washington Internship Semester). Today we’ll drive 11 hours back to DC. And tomorrow return to work for two days before joining Katie’s parents in Spain; then Israel. While in Spain and flying over, will need to make headway on scripts; a towering electronic pile. So am organizing that priority list now.

Off to pack up the car. Happy for a blog keeping our theater alive while we’re all away.


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