How To…


Take bits of fabric you’ve been collecting…forever. Take the threadbare sheet you slept on when you spent the night at your grandmother’s house as a child. It’s the one that is so faded you can barely make out the little pink flowers on it anymore. Cut it into soft, small pieces. Hold them to your nose to see if you can still make out the long faded scent of that room, that time.

Take the water stained cafe curtains that hung on your windowless wall in the Chelsea Hotel. They made you feel like you lived inside a train car. They shouted loud red and green shapes from the nineteen forties at you. They hung above the circus trunk you kept for years and years, even when you had no other furniture. They matched the lamp that looked like an old chinese man that sat beside the bed. Cut them into squares.

Think about how you broke someone’s heart when you moved there. He cried through platinum lashes the exact color of the satin shirt you are now making into stars. You hid his pictures in a small suitcase in the back of a small closet in your small room. You lived in a bizarre and hilarious arrangement with a brilliant, funny girl. You shared a bed and wore matching polyester nightgowns and cracked up laughing day and night. You left cryptic messages for each other on the door when there was a gentleman caller in the room. “Lawrence has taken me to the zoo.” or, “You left your umbrella in Paradise.”

Dig through the bag of fabrics and find the blue flannel kimono your husband gave you before he was your husband, before he was anything more than a friend with beautiful crow’s feet and a mischievous smile. The color is perfect, still.

Happen upon the cream colored lace shift your aunt wore on her wedding night, the red satin gown your best friend wore to her senior prom, the green checkered dinner napkins your mother made when you were a child.

Consider that you, who never stays anywhere, who moves around like a snail with only her house on her back, has all of this and more. Consider the old blankets, table cloths, remnants of dresses. Consider the un-framed velvet paintings, the odd spangled cape, the boxing robe you couldn’t part with.

Wonder if women made petroglyphs. Did they choose their colors with care, in between nursing the infant and pleasing their man? Did the designs have a deeper message? “I want to do things, know things.” “I left my umbrella in Paradise.”

They say home is where you hang your hat. Home is where the heart is. Home is a little piece of each place you’ve been, the places you chose to stay, the people you kept close through all the moves and separations. Here in front of you are the souvenirs of a life lived for experiences.

You have appeared, to outsiders, to be always purging yourself of old belongings, things that weigh you down. You have been seen to always be leaving things behind.

But here in front of you are the memories you have accumulated in cotton, silk and wool. Here, you can feel the rough texture of sadness, the cool smoothness of satisfaction and the plush sensuality of excitement. It’s all right here. So, now piece it together to see what you’ve made.

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