Conception

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Dear Georgia,

I have just been reading the letters between you and Anita Pollitzer. I feel like a big cheat because you both keep saying things like – you must keep this in the strictest confidence and this is only between you and me and here I am reading it like it’s mine. In the summer of 1916 you spent the days walking (2 hrs) reading (2 hrs) sewing undergarments (unknown) and painting or drawing (2.5 hrs). Today as I ironed my uniform for work, my hands looked useful to me. I am imagining myself as a mother.

I have a confession – just between you and me – I have been thinking the last week that I needed to take a hiatus from this project. Why on earth did I set out to do a FOUR YEAR project? Did I think I would not want to do anything else for four years?

there are a lot of life things happening that are wanting my attention/i can’t conceive of how I will continue to learn about your life and create a performance right now/you really don’t need me prying into your world, which is no longer yours but still/this might end up all about me and nothing about you/the project is always tugging at me/i’m always feeling that i’m not doing enough/the initial excitement of doing this project has worn off/what is left?

and there’s this:

My husband and I are trying to conceive because we want to be parents and I am forty so the time is now. There is a part of me that just wants to be very quiet with this decision. To settle down and allow my life to shift and shimmer into the world of child/mother/family and forget all that came before.

Conception [according to Ms. Merriam Webster]

a :  the process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both 

b :  beginning <joy had the like conception in our eyes — Shakespeare>

:  a complex product of abstract or reflective thinking

d :  the sum of a person’s ideas and beliefs concerning something

e :  the originating of something in the mind

 

Then I started to think about commitment. That there may be more lessons for me in hanging out with you when it feels hard and stuck and wrong than those lessons that come from shutting the thing down. I’ve done that one before and I know what those lessons are.

The funny thing is: when quitting was not an option I had to think about how we could work together now. How you are not Marilyn, and I am not the Alice I was a year ago. Then I let myself off the hook a little and thought about what I could do with our time together.

So maybe I might write to you next week. Let’s stay in touch and see what happens with us – even with all the rest of it.

Love,

Alice

Also, Sean and I are going to the PO today to apply for our passports. In September we are going to Croatia, but first we will land in Budapest where I will look for your relatives if I can find where to look.

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