If I kept my “records” right, this year I ran 12 races, 156 km in total of mostly short runs in Spain over the summer. My longest was a half-marathon in St. Catherines. My toughest was an 11 km “up the mountain, down the mountain” in Calicanto, or a similar 12 km in Atzeneta d’Albaida, which both took place in what seemed a wet sauna. My funniest race was with Oriana in a jogging stroller in the small town of Almassara, where people had never seen a jogging stroller and cheered us on as if we were running from a stampede of bulls.
Reading-wise, I managed to get through 30 books in the year, mostly novels but also collections of short stories and some non-fiction about art and history, and nearly all, strangely, Big Americans: Bellow, Mailer, Irving, Roth, Vonnegut, DeLillo, and Gaddis. I discovered Zadie Smith, George Saunders, David Foster Wallace, Claire Messud, and Junot Diaz, and struggled hard not to copy them in my own writing. I didn’t have much luck getting published but I thought about writing and how to keep it honest constantly. I managed to get three or four short stories out there and started (and then abandoned) different novels twice. In Guelph, I was fortunate to find a solid group of writers with whom to share and critique work. Overall, I feel I grew and moved ahead in my journey. I have many ideas for the New Year.
Painting kept me busiest this year. I participated in 20 or so fast-painting contests, including my first “nocturnal” contest and a few “dry paint” contests, and despite the recession managed to win prizes or sell many pieces. I put on a solo show at Bavia Arts in Toronto, another at Cafe Lisboa in Valencia, and was in other collective exhibitions. In Elora, I hung pieces throughout the year as a member of the Harris Collective. I took another drawing class at Wyndham Arts and spent a few months in the autumn building a studio for myself in my backyard.
Translation slowed with the economic downturn, but I continued to work for the Escola de Pau, Cassana, ICIP, and others. Thanks for the opportunity.
At home, Oriana grew seemingly overnight into a beautiful, chatty, healthy little girl. She spent a few months in daycare in Valencia and made the transition to daycare, and to a very different life, in Guelph smoothly. Her language skills, in English, Spanish, and Catalan, have blossomed, and her art and craft skills, too, have flourished. Aitana is nearing the end of her thesis and has applied for work everywhere that will take her application. She will be starting at the University of Guelph in the spring and possibly at York, Glendon, and Ryerson come fall. She travelled to Belgium, Melilla, Madrid, Peterborough, Toronto, and soon Boston for her work and I was proud to support her.
I was also proud of my Nonna, who has for the most part adjusted as best she can to her new life at Stonelodge Retirement Home, and of all the family that has done the hard work of caring for her consistently, my mom and dad, aunts, and sister. Thanks guys! It isn't always easy.
Finally, we had some great parties in 2010 and without them the year wouldn’t have been as rich and memorable. It’s my friends and family I remember most fondly as I look back on the year and think about the future. Thanks for being there!
All my love,