“And I’m wasted, and I can’t find my way home.” (Steve Winwood)
I’d been flying into closed windows, falling to the ground momentarily dazed, then picking myself up and taking flight again.
On top of a homing pigeon’s beak are tiny particles of iron oxide that align to magnetic north, similar to a man-made compass. Some scientists believe this is how they find their way home.
A few years ago. I sat in front of a plastic bin bulging with paper correspondence I’d accumulated over a lifetime — birthday and holiday cards, and letters from friends, family, and exes, some complete sets bound by pretty ribbon or brittle elastic band, others random one-offs.
Determined not to be thrown off track by the threatening avalanche of memories, after skimming the contents of envelopes addressed to me at each of the more than 35 places I’d lived, I tore out my mailing address from each envelope, one per address, then arranged the torn-out pieces on a lightly textured collage I’d started long ago but never finished, layers of paper and paint, whites on whites. I had no idea where this was going but moved the pieces around until, without much thought on my part, they began to form a rough circle. A circular timeline? Maybe; that could work. Then it began to resemble a flower, each address a petal. Why not? I glued each piece in place, brushed on some paint and scraped in some texture, enjoying the push/pull of adding and taking away, obscuring but not hiding. There, it was done. Wait, not quite. I drew a slew of tick marks — one-two-three-four-cross stroke — the symbol I’d appropriated for “many.” Many this, many that.
Nestled within each petal lies a story with an arc of its own, a getting there, a bringing, a view of something, a nearest grocery store, payments in fact or implied, arrangements of things, a hierarchy of necessities and luxuries, a society, a someone or lack thereof, a packing, a leaving, and something left behind.
For most of my adult life, I’d been flying into closed windows, falling to the ground momentarily dazed, then picking myself up and taking flight again.
I’m not sure what Winwood had in mind, but for me, home is peace of mind.
Artist, writer, storyteller, spy. Okay, not a spy…I was just going for the rhythm.
I call myself “an inveterate dabbler.” (And my husband calls me “an invertebrate babbler.”) I just love to create one way or another. My latest passion is telling true stories live, on stage. Because it scares the hell out of me.
As a memoirist, I focus on the undercurrents. Drawing from memory, diaries, notes, letters and photographs, I never ever lie, but I do claim creative license when fleshing out actual events in order to enhance the literary quality, i.e., what I might have been wearing, what might have been on the table, what season it might have been. By virtue of its genre, memoir also adds a patina of introspection and insight that most probably did not exist in real time.