room redux

Photo by Don Worth 1958

Well, first let me say – it has been a long time. September 2014 was my last post and that is because of that one sperm that wouldn’t give up and won the prize of becoming Ayla, our daughter. That’s the fancy way to say I had a baby. And she’s great, and I’m great and so grateful.

In September, after I found out I was pregnant I had to admit to myself that what I really wanted was to just be pregnant. To take the time to slow down and be with the baby. So I did.

And Ellen Bowers died. I met Ellen in my early days in Los Angeles and she was a kind, loving and bookish writer. She always wore a little piece of flair – like a flower in her hair or a beautiful scarf. She was the kind of person that could slip in and out of a room unnoticed but when she focused her gaze on you, you felt like you belonged. We shared our grief when our fathers died. She told me about riding a bike all over town when she was pregnant. She was an enthusiastic and committed fan of Room One, commenting on almost every blog post. She was so engaged that sometimes I felt I was having a conversation with her about art and writing through this project. And I loved that. And I loved her. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I just wish Ellen, Georgia and I could continue that conversation.

Lately, I feel my fingers itching to be tap tap tapping at the keyboard searching out the rhythm of the project. I just wasn’t seeing how I could continue with a life so changed by this new role. But today I watched the movie Room – which is wonderful in so many ways – and I remembered that the inspiration for this project was to build rooms, to build environments to live in by searching for the artifacts that create these women. And part of the question was always how does that process change me? I realized also that this being a long duration project meant I could make it a little longer duration. So without knowing the end date, I begin again.

This time I’m bringing the fortifying thought that I was able to push out a baby. I’m bringing a changed body and a level of exhaustion like I’ve never experienced before. I’m bringing a  broken heart, and I’m bringing a rusty tool. I’m bringing the deepest yearning to connect to you through Georgia and the hope that, through her, we will both feel that we belong.

 

 

Abstraction II

photo (1)

photo of Georgia O’keeffe’s Jack-in-the-pulpit vi, 1930 from o’keeffe by brita benke

 

Dear Georgia,

I was thinking today of your series of paintings of Jack-in-the-pulpits where you moved closer and closer to the spadix in each painting, until it is not recognizable for what it is yet it tells the whole story. In O’Keeffe by Brita Benke, Benke says:

“The absolute size of the object, its dimension, is concealed behind the relative size presented within the format of the picture, it’s proportion. O’Keeffe thereby reveals a reverence for all Creation, the same reverence which, according to Walt Whitman, makes no distinction between a leaf of grass and the stars in the firmament.”

In my acting training at Brooklyn College I learned that the sounds within some words hold the feeling, the spark of the word and the very sound itself can evoke the meaning held therein.

I have a desire to take this journey with you, starting at the outer edges and going in in in until we are not talking about you and me anymore but we are waltzing. There is no description necessary. Our breath holds the whole story.

For a very long time I was standing outside the door to your room, this Room Two, listening and hearing nothing inside, afraid to knock for fear I may disturb you. Then I felt one day that you opened the door and we were looking at each other face to face. And you said “yes?” and I rambled here’s what I would like to do, and here’s how and why and it all sounded so weird and fake to me but you left the door open and walked away so I walked in. Now we are here in this room together, and you are watching me trying to pin it down, make sense or explain all of it in some way…like I’m in a museum and I need to find the way to my heart through my eyes.

And your lesson is always the same. Sit and listen. Walk the dog. Make a salad. Paint, write, research. Clean the floors. Bring a sense of beauty to all that you can, and don’t explain yourself. Explaining can begin to sound like a lot of noise and this sky is way too big for all that noise. Just breathe. There is no separation between your breath and that sky.

Suddenly this is all seeming very real.

Love,

Alice

Thank you to my friend Debra for sitting down and telling me about her recent experiences in Abiquiu, her voice carrying the landscape and Georgia herself across the states to share with me.