i keep telling myself that i should be packing but i don't even know for sure what that means or how to begin doing such a thing, let alone WHERE to begin, and i've done this so many times before but this is so much different. this move is an entirely different experience.
i secured a little Airbnb studio this evening for our first three weeks in Brooklyn. that's not long but it's an address. we have a launch pad and the tickets are bought. this is happening. i should be packing. but what? what should i be packing??? there are still 3 weeks to go.
thankfully, i managed to get some art out in to the world so i have far fewer worries in that regard than i did before. i really didn't want to cart a ton of artwork with me to the other side of the country. i want to see what new images emerge. or what old images return. i want to see what i'll write and what i'll think and what i'll be drawn to, what i'll want to read. i want to see what types of images and vocabularies i gravitate toward once i set down all these possessions, all these histories and ghosts. but it's such hard work to make this type of room. i have to touch everything. i have to hold these objects in my hands. i put on old necklaces and look in the mirror. i try on sweaters i haven't worn in 2 years and consider my reflection. even the mirror will need a new home. everything must go. almost.
there are things that i can't part with, most of which will be shipped to my sister's house in southern california during the next several weeks. things that belong more to the family than they do to me. the pictures in the previous post are, by and large, of things my mother owned. i took these objects from her home when she died. i filled a cardboard suitcase with things which seemed to bare witness to who see was, things which articulated the indescribable corners of her heart, things that would someday comfort me, someday make me smile.
it's nice that that "someday" has finally arrived. i've only looked in the suitcase once before since packing it 4 years ago. right before i moved here, in to my beloved white room where the reformulation and re-imagining of my life has taken place, i looked inside. i cried. the sight of these objects carried too much weight. it broke my heart to look at them. i couldn't deal with touching them. it was a happy moment the other evening to come across a picture of my mother as a young woman, to look at her image and smile back at her big grin. I didn't look at her photo at all for the first 2 years following her death. it derailed me entirely to see her. i'm thankful that is no longer the case. i've wanted to be able to look at her for so long. i've wanted to have her hair and her eyes and her style in my life. i've wanted to look at her and see the features of my face that AREN'T hers. i look in the mirror and see so much of her face in mine. too much. sometimes i hate looking in the mirror because of it. i want to see where she ends and i begin. being able to look at her photograph again is part of that road. packing and unpacking and coordinating these objects is part of that road. the exhibition of the "sweaters of death" are part of that road too.
i was very proud last night at the reception to see them hanging together in one place. i looked at them and decided that they are a single work- a sculpture. i do not intend to let the collection be splintered. i don't want to parse them out. it is symbolic of a particular era. it is an act of healing as well as an artwork. the texts of the individual pieces are too beautiful spinning together in a room, gaining too much poignancy and sensitivity to be splintered. the collection needs to remain in tact. it is a diary... writing that i am proud and privileged to share.
i felt incredibly appreciated and loved last night. so many friends came out to support my work, to support ME, and to give me a hug while we're still in the same region. i feel so lucky to be able to share this work as i prepare for a new phase of life. a chapter is closing. the people who came to the show last night were present in my life through some of my darkest days. many of them have seen me cry on the anniversary of my mother's death. many have gone out dancing and drinking with me when all i wanted and needed in the whole world was a friend to have a bit of fun with. many have read this blog in the middle of the night when i published hard to read (sometimes scary) drunken rants about my anguish and longing. for however sad the work itself might be, i am happy it exists. i am happy to be able to display it so publicly. and i am happy that it is done. i'm sure i'll make more sweaters in the future but the subject of that work will be very different. this "work of mourning" has been carried through. every stitch is dedicated to my mother and siblings, to my mother's siblings, my grandparents, and to anyone who might draw a bit of comfort from the existence of these black twists of yarn.
this is one way to pack and unpack, i suppose. :)