Monthly Archives: March 2017

On passions

Stormy Night
© 2016 by Monique Hendricks


Those of you who have read my posts must have gathered by now that art is my passion. But I have another passion: writing. What prompted this love affair with Shakespeare’s idiom? None of his plays, I assure you.

In 1976 I went to live in Iceland with husband #1. It didn’t take me long to find out that as a “Third national”–neither Icelandic, nor American–I stood very little chance of getting a job at the American base in Keflavik, where we rented an apartment off base. I briefly considered taking a class in Old Norse at the University of Reykjavik, but the only course offered to foreigners who didn’t speak Icelandic started at 5 pm. Night school was not what I had in mind. This is a country where, in the dead of winter, darkness descends upon the population in the early afternoon and lingers until the next morning, circa 11 am.  On a good day you might get three hours of daylight.  You do not fight darkness in Iceland: you befriend it and your reward (if you remain on the island long enough) is that in the summer you will enjoy an abundance of light and much frolicking under the midnight sun.  Anyway, I didn’t register for the course because I didn’t want to get stranded on the lone Reykjavik-Keflavik road in the dark, having to change a flat caused by the puncture-happy spikes that line the tires of every Icelandic vehicle in the winter. Instead, I started to borrow books from the American Library on base. Driving back from the library I never failed to stop at a bakery that sold a long, flat danish pastry decorated with either pink or yellow icing. A dilettante with a knack for grammar and a penchant for pastry, I sought refuge in both sweet treats and salty English novels.

The story is far from ending here. However, I’m afraid I cannot digress further on the topic of Iceland for fear that my posts on art will suffer from neglect and become even more infrequent.  I will address the infrequency issue in my next post. In the meantime, I leave you with a painting that could presumably depict the Icelandic landscape, but has in fact nothing to do with Iceland at all.