Update on the new place:
We signed our lease yesterday, and our move in date is next Saturday, which means I have roughly 14 days to pack up an entire two bedroom condo, in which we’ve lived in for three years. Of course we’ll have a lot of things to pack; three years is ironically a long time for two people to accumulate “stuff”. Just thinking about my bookshelf with hundreds of books gives me anxiety.
To get things started, my husband and I started packing up the living room tonight. I wasn’t expecting to get emotional because I have moved about a dozen times in my life, so I’m very familiar with the emotional toll it takes to move. I purposely don’t harbor attachment to any particular place; I know that I will probably leave in a few years. However, when I started taking down decorations and art installations, I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic. I started untwisting the hooks from the ceiling and thought about how it took me several weeks to find the exact rope and clay for my moon phase art installation. I toiled over the black and white clay to the exact proportion to replicate marble and baked it over a low setting that still set off the fire alarm. For hours the entire house smelled like burned rubber. I opened up all the windows and doors which led to a swarm of flies coming in. It took me a hour to kill all of them. All the while, I had to do this at least three times because each clay batch came out cracked before they finally came out perfect. Then I had to find the perfect string to tie around my bamboo pole and figure out how to space out and balance each moon. Now, in my new place, I’m not sure if I’ll have the space to display it.
I’m not necessarily sad about the art installation. I’ve created art installations – small and modest– for almost all the homes I lived in, and I actually never bring it to my next place of residence– like the book page wreath I made and left for my home in El Sobrante, or the New Yorker Magazine art wall I created for only Concord, or the magnet poetry display I made for my time in Pittsburg. I consider my space, the vibe, my overall feelings in the house and let these feelings guide my new project. Sometimes, like the time I lived in a house with three other girls in Hercules, I didn’t have the desire or inspiration to make anything. I’ve made art projects, not necessarily to beautify my place, but they were more of an opportunity to express myself through art, and to create a peace offering or welcome gift to my new abode.
I don’t know what I will make for my new place. My process is usually living in the space for a few months and waiting for a call or an urge that speaks to me. I’m sure, after a while, when the boxes are unpacked, the rugs are rolled out, the books are on shelves, when things feel more settled, I’ll get an impulse or a calling. It’s not necessarily the art project, like a wreath or a moon, that I look forward to creating, but it’s creating memories- like a room filled with smoke, flies and a blaring alarm– that, for now, will help me turn the impersonal house into my special home.