The artist residency at Autodesk’s Pier-9 Workshop is hard to leave at night. It is easy to be workaholic when you love what you are doing and have the priviledge to work in such a space, where so much thought and so many resources have been invested to remove every possible obstacle to progressing from concepts to designs to physical realities. It is hard to be confronted with both such immense opportunity, and the finiteness of time. And so leaving becomes difficult, but last night I had a really good excuse:
My friend Shanee posted on social media a link to a news article describing a dead sperm whale washing ashore:
guys!! guys!! a sperm whale washed up in pacifica!! who knows what beach this is (you can see more in the video)?!! who wants to go check it out with me before those pesky scientists get to it?!
And so, in the midst of very earnest hard work, I found myself recognizing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of an even more ephemeral sort than this four-month residency, and yielding to the call of adventure. Vehicles were coordinated, and it was agreed that Shanee, Elle, Erika, and Sunny – coincidentally, and delightfully, all extremely brilliant, interesting, and attractive women – would converge on my location at Pier 9 from all over the bay, and progress from there together in Shanee’s car to Pacifica.
For the briefest moment, I almost gave in to fatigue, inertia, and the overwhelming awareness of how much work I have to do to achieve my goals of this artist residency. It was midnight, after all, and on a tuesday where, that friday, I had my first formal critique of my residency. Then I remembered that the most magical evenings of my life have consistently resulted from stepping up in such moments, and going farther. I even have a letter my grandfather wrote, attesting to how he was almost ready to go home and get to sleep when, instead, “I chose music”. The rest of that letter, to his mother, described the series of events that led him falling in love with the young soloist of the night, who I and all his descendants get to call Grandma. Staying in rarely opens new chapters.
We parked as near as we could and walked on trails the rest of the way, and the stars were brilliant overhead on a cloudless clear night. I reflected on the providence that this morning, for the first time in a month, I had thought to bring my SLR camera to work with me, and had my tripod under my desk.