m wood pen

illustrator of books, cocktails, travel + more

m wood diaries

i’ve been a bit stymied lately.

somehow i feel wedged between two folds of time: longing for some sepia-esque vintage-shrouded existence not unlike the one conjured up by woody allen in ‘midnight in paris’…or perhaps a decade, two later, and the time-tricking interconnected today world that zips and flips and is just somehow so smart.

i spotted a joint called ‘the coop’ while i was twittering around on twitter, and did some internet stalking, which unveiled this again, cool-o-cool world where creatives, entrepreneurs, free-wheeling people can hang out, rent an office, network (overused word, but fits here), guzzle espresso, tinker at their laptops, all the while surrounded by like fish: inspiration in a neat, coffee-scented human&machine partnership. where was this when i was archaicly starting my little business, tucked into the land of maternity?  the days when i had to wake up little sleeping baby to dash off to the nearby ‘facsimile machine on premises’ copy shop in order to respond to a client?

back in those days, the early 90s, nothing was cool or hip about running a business in ‘the home’….and trust me, with one, two and then three little tots wandering around, thank goodness the cordless phone magically appeared in my world so that i could hide, literally, in a closet, to take a notecard order from a big shot client in new york.  in no way did you want to show ‘what’s behind the curtain’: just wasn’t something to brag about, but rather, to sort of hide!

by the end of the 90s, all of that fuss of running my own business in and around motherhood, a stove, and a pile of laundry, was being embraced.  what a relief and vindication when oprah herself, when talking about my little boxed notes, blasted out her praise of a mom working at home with her children…”and we like that!” she said to wild cheers from the studio audience.

my how time changed.

so this wedged between one world and another hit me tonight as i looked over at my diary, stacked on a pile of other goodies that have been gathered carefully to get popped into a suitcase at months’ end for a trip that my children and i are taking.  i would never  travel without one, especially on the sort of once-in-a-lifetime vacation that we’ve cooked up.  but as a part of me is clearly enamored with tech stuff, especially this iphone that i seemingly can’t live without, i realize i’m about to travel back in time, in just a couple of weeks.  and it’s a struggle.

the issue, of course, starts with roaming charges.  spend time out of your at&t zone and just forget about affording the regular text/phone/linkedin/twitter/fb/etsy/pinterest/huffpost/nyt addictions.  can’t afford to maintain my daily (hourly, minute-by-minute) addiction to invisible, intangible communication once our trip starts.  so what to do?

the phone issue has been resolved, ingeniously, by my youngest.  bring the old, retired 3g’s and zap into wifi and do a bit of the old magic on the cheap and free side of things.  brilliant!  meets the budget, and still lets me post photos on instagram…like a junkie, lining up my next ‘hit’, i instantly felt better with this solution.

but…

it did strike me, looking now at my diary, glancing over at my juiced up digital camera, leaning behind a stack of books to see pens and fresh sketchbooks that hope to make the trip, too: how much have i changed in the way i see the world.

my daily bread, here at my funky cool house, comes to me only because of the gadgets that link me to the rest of the world.  i couldn’t do what i do, and still hang with my kids and work in ridiculously ripped jeans at all hours of the day or night, without all of this interconnectedness.

but…

my trip isn’t about that. and my trips, before all of this gobbledegook arrived on the scene, were never, ever without pens, camera, diary, sketchbook, paper map, guide book, backpack.  silence.  asking for directions.  asking for advice.  striking up chats.  making new friends.  taking a risk.  seeing into someone’s eyes.  wandering without first knowing where i might be going, or where i would end up.  sketching vistas, rooflines, turrets and shores.  flying through ink like oil to a ewing, writing, writing, writing in diary after diary.  my impressions, traveling at the speed of my pen as it matched my mind and my imagination.  inspired, listening, watching, tasting, feeling, learning, longing.

so, there it is. one foot in two worlds, and rather than quarrel with myself over which one lures me more, i’m going to tip my had towards the vintage me this time around.  it suits the destination, stepping over to lands that make me shudder with the wonders of the ages, the history of anglos, the roots of my people, the whispers of all that came before all that i know: yes, decision made.

scratching pen to paper, lugging a bit of extra weight of that long-lens camera, and some fountain pen refills, i’ll be traipsing along, three curious, bright, hilarious offspring as my most wonderful companions, we’ll be going the woody route: step back in time in slow motion and soak up another world.

i’m just amazed sometimes, thinking of this zap world and how mind boggling it’s changes really are.

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