Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I am not much of an interior decorator, nor as I am beginning to realize, a very snappy dresser. I am just happy to have a clean, functional place to live and work and trip over Hot Wheels. I have pieces of some of my favorite artists, but I keep them put away, mostly, and take them out to look at them, then I put them away again. I really dislike looking at my own finished works. They are distracting, and all I can see is the places where they fell short of my ideas.
I make exceptions for these two pieces. The top one is a portrait of my mother, when she was 16. The other is the portrait of my grandmother in her wedding dress. And I don't keep them because I think they are great pieces of work, but because they are the biggest most important symbols of who I am and where I'm from.
I remember the muddy green smell of the Monongahela in the summer, winding through our town laced with train tracks. Steaming hot dinners at the American Legion, coffee poured by veterans of WW2. Touching the nail heads on old chairs upholstered in green marbled vinyl. Paper tablecloths. The plain, clean insides of small houses. The smell of real wool coats and ladies perfume. Babushkas. Simple sufficiency and dignity. I keep these up so I can remember who I am and how I should act.