Thursday, January 26, 2012


I'm sitting in my bedroom (nursing), forced to stay put and just be still for a little while.  That moment when circumstances insist on inactivity can be a gift.  I'm looking at the pieces of my room, the little areas of clutter and collection that together give a room its character.  These are the things I look at numerous times a day, and yet rarely notice.  What do the details of my surroundings say about me, and how do they daily affect me?  Two different questions.

What if I was a character and the room was a set?  If a stranger saw the snapshot puzzle pieces, what impression would they make and what stories do they hint at?  Also, what known details can I fill in to make the story richer?  For example, I'll describe the hat rack on the wall: a fragment of lattice, stained wood with pegs.  It looks like a thrift store find, suggesting a limited budget, and a bohemian sensibility.  I know it came from my grandparents' house, so that extra detail adds a background of familial connectivity and caring about the past.  The sunhats, both woven straw, one a little funky with its jaunty, cloche-like, angular cut, the other straight and boxy with its brown ribbon flower more prairie-esque, put a female character in the story.  Is she young or old, sassy or sweet?  Neither, and both.  She must live somewhere sunny and she gets out into the world.  The stylish maroon camera bag conveys a hobby of one with an eye focused on the visual impact of the world.  Colorful crocheted scarves, red, green, and purple, dangle together; did she make them?  The objects might betray us.  What surprises and lies can they add to the story?  I could continue on with each detail.  I could shift my gaze to the dresser, with its piles of diapers, boxes of baby wipes, tangle of hair elastics, barrettes, and necklaces, and abandoned scraps of paper (shopping lists?), and come up with an entirely different character and backstory.  If I then consider these two fragments as part of a bigger picture, I see more complex possibilities.

So far I have ignored the second question.  Does it make me happy to look at these surroundings each day?  Do the objects remind me of my passions?  My recent activities?  My duties?

I should clean my room.

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