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Kellin at Galgano

I will be off line (off blog?) for a week. We are in Italy celebrating our daughter Kellin’s completion of her Master’s Degree in Art History. On Friday she’ll put down her umbrella and will shoehorn all that wild passion into presenting her paper at a Symposium, The Speaking Hand: Gesture in Italian Art. Her paper is titled, “The Gesture of Finger Counting: Depicting Disputation in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.” Having read several drafts, I can assure you (without bias of course) that it is a work of sheer brilliance!

So we’re delivering our parental high fives in person, a serious perk for having procreated such a remarkable person. And we’ll be joined for a few days by Lesli, as close to a godmother to Kellin as you can get and still be Jewish. We are planning a few side trips as well, particularly to beautiful Volterra to see the Rosso Deposition.

Rosso’s Deposition, Volterra

And while we are there feasting on all things Tuscan, David and I will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. I feel like I am barely 22, so there must be some miscalculation somewhere. Ah, time. It feels like it can bend and go rogue, something the watchmaker didn’t take into consideration.

I’ll be back and posting on December 18th.

View of Volterra


Maybe you are like me. Maybe you too get easily seduced by the pace and pitch of another culture. Whenever I return from being and breathing with fellow humans who don’t speak my language and are refreshingly free of the troubles that plague anyone who lives in this country right now, reentry is a slow drying out. Of course I missed my beloveds, both friends and family, but what a much needed break from an invasive, oversaturated, misaligned cultural context that feels oppressive to me. It feels like the jackhammer out your bedroom window, the one that starts at 6am and doesn’t let up all day. The one that no one asked if you minded.

I spent the last week with my daughter Kellin in Florence. She is working on her masters in art history and is currently the most single minded person of my acquaintance. Her life has been streamlined free of the time-draining distractions that certainly eat up hours of my days, like feeling obligated to read the New York Times, to answer every email and to know the standings in both baseball leagues. Climbing into her canopied life was like coming face to face with the underside of a mushroom–an intricate, fragrant, fragile complexity. It is no wonder that she hopes to spend many more years living there.

Kellin portraying Mary in a Mannerist style

Her passions are infectious, and her latest is Mannerist art. So in addition to my usual pilgrimages to see everything by Giotto and Simone Martini in both Sienna and Florence, I was given a thorough list of where to find the Pontormos, the Rossos, the Bronzinos and the Del Sartos. I’m an easy convert, but I am convinced she could win anyone over to the pleasures of these amazing artists.

We’ll be back in December when she presents the results of her research. That is just six months away, but it is a point in the future to measure my own success at simplifying, singleminding, purifying my intentions.

Via Neri, Kellin’s street

Intrepid observer, in the Pantheon

Rome on a Saturday