I remember this so vividly, the smell of the paper, the ink, the light coming through the living room window, the feel of the splintery pine floor... Memory is a strange thing, and I've been spending a lot of my time in it this week, painting a map of my childhood.
I'm amazed how many memories are vivid in my mind. I can tell you the name of the horse that lived on the corner 40+ years ago. Buck, which is also the name of my nephews' great uncle, and whom I met once about 30 years ago. All of my senses remember details too small to be important for long-term memory, but they're there*.
For you young'uns who know the Glen, this is the map of my childhood, not the present. I included houses that were built while I lived there, even though part of me wants to wipe out about 10 of them. In my youngest years, our house was the only one on our side of the street, and the Turk's property was an overgrown lot with a row of bee hives. I used the county property map and satellite photos, so it's as accurate as I can make it.
For those of you who don't know the Glen, plain rectangles of 2 and 3 acre lots might make you think that the land was open. It wasn't. The Glen is richly treed. Everything on the other side of the river was miles of untouched forest, and our side of the river was closed off from the world by a giant hill and cliffs.
It was a clannish neighborhood of regular and crazy people, recluses, criminals, and artists -- and something I know to the bottom of my soul is that I belonged. There were people who loved me or hated me, or who were totally apathetic to my existence, but they were my people, and I was as much a part of that landscape as the giant oak tree.
I have thought about my writing and art, and realize all of it is autobiographical -- and that's what it's supposed to be. The subject of my life's work is my life. Maybe in some way this is true for everyone who creates? But for me, it's literal. In sharing my story, I tell the lives of other people who can't or won't tell their stories themselves. Our experiences entertain or resonate for other people.
I started this floor to decorate my home, but also to give myself time to meditate and find my way forward. I didn't know where the path would lead, and was open to the discovery. I'm looking forward to polyurethaning the canvas this weekend, painting over the speckles I made on the wall and baseboards, moving the furniture back, cleaning house, and living the most authentic life I can live.
I went back through my posts to see just how long this floor has taken me. I started this in June! Okay, I've successfully held down a full-time job and lived a regular life, but I've put a huge amount of time into this. I used up big tubes of green, white, brown, and yellow paint and wore out brushes.