Friends and countrymen. Above is a photo of my apartment right now, taken from the inside. That green part in the top left, that is the color of my living room walls, and all the tan parts with the things that look like spires and windows are actually many many boxes that I just moved out from my old studio in Olympia. I had a little space there, in the big Dub Narcotic studio, where I worked and kept a lot of my art things, for about 5 years. Two years after moving to Portland, my studio was still there, with stacks of papers scattered on my desk, fading in the sun. Until yesterday. I put the stacks of paper and the desk and 300 other items into a van and now here they are in my living room. The pile is intense.
There is a rumor going around that I might have left my items in Dub Narcotic for several more years, if the rent on the studio hadn’t gotten raised, and we weren’t all required to move out. I don’t know. I was beginning to miss a lot of my belongings, having been apart from them for two years. But somehow, the state of being separated into several pieces feels natural to me.
I strive every day to reassemble myself. I guess that yesterday was a big day for that endeavor.
The new pieces (which are technically the old pieces) are all sitting stoically here in my apartment now. They aren’t moving a muscle. They don’t seem to be completely aware of how much havoc they are creating in the order of all the things that had already been living here with me. They don’t know that the carpet feels oppressed and that my little make-shift desk is terrified of what is to come. One little chair, which I brought down to Portland with me when I first came, is forging an optimistic outlook, thinking of the new arrivals as potential best friends, and imagining the games that they’ll all be able to play with so many participants. But the pieces from Olympia don’t look ready to be playing any games. They really look like they wish they could have stayed back where they were in Dub Narcotic.
Nobody calls the place Dub Narcotic. Everybody refers to it as the Big Room. It is really big. Big enough that I could have this much stuff in there, in a little mini-studio of my own, and that it didn’t even begin to make a dent in the space. The room is also big in regards to the things that have happened in there. Big records have been recorded there, big huge sounds. Before anyone had moved anything into the space, I got the chance to do a series of drawings in there, and those were big, as far as drawings go. People have fallen in and out of love in there. And then made albums of music documenting the process. In the same room! The pile is intense!
One of my more heavily utilized belongings decided to make serious problems for me during the moving procedure. It seems pretty obvious that the motives were political: my cell phone mysteriously “disappeared” during the move. I cannot find it anywhere. Fishy, right?
I have little doubt that my disgruntled items, (I think they are calling themselves The Refugees) got together while being packed into the van and convinced my impressionable cell phone to cause some sort of a disturbance. Clearly, their intention was to make me aware of how unhappy they are about the relocation. “No justice, no peace”, might be the statement on a bumper sticker applied to the backside of one of my old boxes of notebooks. And what can I do? My cell phone is gone, either willfully having been a part of a protest, or, horrors, having been the victim of a terror tactic executed by my miserable belongings.
I now have no cellphone.
The tragedy of it is that none of my things really possess the vision to realize that I am executing this procedure as an intended improvement. I am trying to be a better person. An integrated person, who knows what she owns, and owns those things for a reason: to have them handy and to use them frequently. They call them tools.
Little babies, I know that the light in my apartment in Portland is nowhere near as nice as the light in the Big Room. There is no saltwater breeze. I know this. You will never again be witness to the sounds of Mirah recording a song with Phil, here in my room. You won’t hear Calvin drinking a hot beverage. But guys, you will hear me, doing the things I do all day long, everyday. We’ll get to know each other again, I hope. I think we will all probably grow from the experience. Grow, in the fun way, like a beard made of moss. LIke a city build of sand. I think it’s going to be good.
Soooooooo, could you maybe bring my phone back?
(Certainly, they don’t appreciate the tender nuance in my calling them “babies.”)
Hey guys (you, the real people who actually talk and listen, as opposed to the personified piles of things overtaking my apartment right now), if by chance anyone out there happens to have an old Verizon phone laying around that they don’t use, and would want to give to me, I would be really psyched and definitely graciously accept.
And in the meantime, while I enjoy the silence created by my unresolved telephone problem, I pledge to go out and shake the hand of each one of my new and old belongings, welcoming each one, equally, to help me build a sculpture that we can call home.