30 September 2009

out to sea

In January, 1986, I caught a boat from Ancona to Piraeus, Greece. At a cafe in the port I drank too much white wine before boarding. It was evening, the air was damp and chilly. I managed to drive my VW microbus onto the ship and found myself a cabin. I then proceeded to the bar where I watched Italy disappear into the foggy night.

The following day I spent propped up in a deck chair watching the sea. I have never forgotten that afternoon; the first day of a long painting trip to the Middle East. Winter clouds streaming overhead; pale yellow, reddish-violet too... and airy like wings. I had decided weeks beforehand that I would begin a journal on this trip. Having failed on so many previous attempts I felt somehow determined to succeed this time around as if my insignificant life counted upon it. I imagined that if one day I had a child, it would allow them a window into their father's past. In Aix, where I lived at the time, I had bought a hard-covered diary (A4) for the occasion. Its cover, a paint-splattered green, is one of those rare old things which is still made in France today. 

Thus, at sea, I began my diary, and through thick and thin, I have kept it up almost daily for 23 years.  It is an ingrained habit with a life of its own, warts and all, so they say. Parallel, will be this, something NEW, online in a blog format. Here we go....................