Thursday, April 09, 2009

from hotel window, Fredricksburg VA


Cathy Gatland's post on Wednesday reminded me of these ballpoint-pen drawings I did from a hotel room in Fredricksburg, Va.

This is the kind of thing that happens to me regularly: I was driving to Asheville, NC, in my new car to see my brother and take a watercolor workshop, when, late Saturday afternoon, as I was driving on I95 my car started decelerating. Pedal to the metal, but she no go.
There were two lanes of merging traffic on my left, and two lanes of merging traffic on my right, and I thought for sure I'd be rear-ended before I could get over to the shoulder.
Then, miraculously, a police car appeared in the rearview mirror; he stayed behind me until I pulled over, beneath an overpass.
I waited in the car for a towtruck and was towed to the dealer, which was closing for the day and closed Sunday. (The police and the safety patrols who cruise that area were all so kind and solicitous; it was only later I realized that it may have been because those snipers were on the loose then, in that area.)
So I was stuck in Fredricksburg until at least Monday ... Turned out to be longer, but that's a tirade for another day.

I did finally make it to Asheville--in a rental car. Perhaps in a later post I'll tell you about how I drove the rental into a ditch in the Smokey Mountains and was extricated by three cars of (very nice and calm) men.

I guess I must've left my art supplies in the car, and all I had to draw on were these blank pages from a book of Irish myths I was proofreading and the pen from hotel room desk.

A friend is coming to visit for a long weekend, so I may not be posting for a few days.
A reminder to myself:

Just Keep Quiet and Nobody Will Notice

There is one thing that ought to be taught in all the colleges,
Which is that people ought to be taught not to go around always making apologies.
I don't mean the kind of apologies people make when they run over you or borrow five dollars or step on your feet,
Because I think that is sort of sweet;
No, I object to one kind of apology alone,
Which is when people spend their time and yours apologizing for everything they own.
You go to their house for a meal,
And they apologize because the anchovies aren't caviar or the partridge is veal;
They apologize privately for the crudeness of the other guests,
And they apologize publicly for their wife's housekeeping or their husband's jests;
If they give you a book by Dickens they apologize because it isn't by Scott,
And if they take you to the theater, they apologize for the acting and the dialogue and the plot;
They contain more milk of human kindness than the most capacious diary can,
But if you are from out of town they apologize for everything local and if you are a foreigner they apologize for everything American.
I dread these apologizers even as I am depicting them,
I shudder as I think of the hours that must be spend in contradicting them,
Because you are very rude if you let them emerge from an argument victorious,
And when they say something of theirs is awful, it is your duty to convince them politely that it is magnificent and glorious,
And what particularly bores me with them,
Is that half the time you have to politely contradict them when you rudely agree with them,
So I think there is one rule every host and hostess ought to keep with the comb and nail file and bicarbonate and aromatic spirits on a handy shelf,
Which is don't spoil the denouement by telling the guests everything is terrible, but let them have the thrill of finding it out for themselves.

Ogden Nash

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Teresa said...

Love the sketches... and the poem!

Sherry said...

Whoa, you've been having way too much excitement! Driving through that area is exciting enough on its own without car difficulties.

Love the Nash poem.

Charlene Brown said...

When you were forced to do the sketches with a ballpoint, and they turned out so well -- did you promise yourself to do non-erasable sketches more often? (Apparently there are all sorts of good reasons for this). I keep meaning to draw in ink, but seldom follow through...

A Brush with Color said...

Oh, man, that's a good story--much better AFTER it happened, I'm sure! I went to college in Fredericksburg, VA. Love your drawings from that trip! They're wonderful! I was trying to figure out, in my head, what hotel you must have been staying in from what you saw. LOL

Ogden Nash is the best. Have a great weekend with your friend--Happy Easter.

Melinda said...

Goodness! I'm so glad you are alright. What an incredible story.

Your drawings are exquisite. Your dedication in the midst of such an adventure is truly admirable!

Hope you have calmer days ahead.

Megha Chhatbar said...

Hey I love the words and sketches..So nice.! Happy Easter!
BTW I have started a new blog dedicated to my sketch work — Art on Sketchbook

shicat said...

Some trip!

Barbara M. said...

Hi Laura,

I love the sketches and the notes about colour. Ogden Nash must have been in Canada when he wrote that poem. "Sorry" is our middle name.
It's not a joke -- we spend all of our time apologizing for whatever we did the second before.

Sorry, was that the wrong thing to say?
See. I think we're kind of cute that way --self conscious as all get out, but nice. Ogden Nash would have found us boring.

Take care,

Great blog, and great story.


Jeb said...

I like these sketches.

Cathy Gatland said...

Wow, hair-raising adventures connected to these sketches - they are great geometric/abstract forms, could well be developed into paintings.
Now I won't say the s---- word (love this poem and could stick it up as a reminder to self and some close family members), but I haven't been on the computer for a while so missed this - a belated thanks for the link!

r garriott said...

THANK YOU for the Ogden Nash poem--- I love that man!! So witty.

The driving adventure reminds me of so many of my own. Sounds like you made the best of it, and some really outstanding sketches as well.


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