Quills, Hair, and Upcoming Trips

This is a picture of my living room.

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I am about to leave it for several weeks, as I normally do in the summer. This year, I am going to a conference in London, spending a week in Cambridge, then setting up headquarters in Bilbao for a few weeks of research and writing (I NEED to finish a book), cavorting through northern Spain, and gourmet exploration–otherwise known as Pac-Man fieldwork.

It sounds, and probably will be, blissful. But it’s causing me anxiety! First, anxiety of the unknown: I usually spend summers in Barcelona, my adopted city, where I know so many people and places, not to mention the language(s). I’ve been to Beautiful Bilbao several times, even for several weeks, but I think I’m going to feel a little displaced (to begin with, I only know two words in euskera: thank you and congratulations). Second, separation anxiety. For some reason this year I don’t much feel like leaving NYC. First-world problem, acknowledged.

So I thought maybe it’ll be fun to try writing about/during the trip, to feel like I’m keeping in touch and share the experience with friends (and possibly strangers too–scary). To use blog-writing as a trigger to book-writing (in the belief that it will spur concentration and creativity better than Facebook) and, in the process, to find out whether this is a genre I enjoy and if I’m any good at it. At this point, it feels odd to publicly write anything but academese, despite the fact that I already pontificate for a living. Hopefully my friends will butt in and make it more fun-interactive than insufferably narcissistic.

I’ve never tinkered with a blogging tool either, so with luck it will be “technologically” illuminating. I should like it better than Instagram or Twitter because I am, let’s face it, verbose (long posts like this one will not, however, be the default mode).

Plomaipel is an inversion of Pèl & Ploma. As usual, when prompted for a username or title I can’t think of anything, and take whatever’s nearest: the words are right there on one of the prints on my wall (reflecting also, curiously, my silhouette–SO Velázquez!).

2 pell-i-ploma casas ramon

The image is by Catalan artist Ramon Casas i Carbó, and Pèl & Ploma was the title of a modernist journal (1899-1903). Ploma means pen (well, quill) and pèl means hair, although it also sounds like pell: skin, or perhaps parchment or vellum. It all seemed appropriate, especially since my writing days are generally bad hair days as well.

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So here it is. Plomaipel now exists. Maybe someone will read it. And send some useful Basque vocabulary.

About WRF

New York-based Spanish Cultural Studies professor and academic author venturing (nervously) into new forms of writing: travel and food-logue, cultural commentary, pseudophilosophical speculation, opinion, reminiscence, prophecy, examination of conscience.
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3 Responses to Quills, Hair, and Upcoming Trips

  1. lazlima says:

    Terrific! Venture forth you must!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leigh Mercer says:

    I’ll always read anything you write!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Bilbao > London > New York: Vegetable Sandwiches, English Champagne, Crappy Flights, Dead Plants, and THE END | plomaipel

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