I’ve been thinking for some time about this space here online. How it compares to the space in my head, in my house, the spaces between each of us. I suspect they are all connected.
This year, I’ve written very little. I had a stalker for a while, and then this fall I got tangled in a clog of spooks. They invaded my privacy and my peace as they tried (but failed completely) to determine exactly who and what I was. I doubt they could even see me properly even when we were in the room together, they were so out of sync with actual life.
Their attention was a penalty for showing happiness, forward motion, and for speaking truth inside the war machine. It’s a rollicking sort of story, which I may tell more of one day – it features ships and pirates and topology and surfaces. There is treachery, of course, but not mine.
As a result of all of that, I can’t really remember how it felt to speak freely here. When I visit my archives, I’m surprised at how open I’ve been.
I suppose that I wrote so much over the past 25 years because I was achingly, existentially lonely in a world that didn’t understand me. I wrote in the hope that my words could go farther than my feet, my ideas further than my own mind. That they might move into the world and find kindred spirits.
It worked. I connected with people all over the planet; my books are at the poles, my connections are deep and wide. My worldlines tendril all over; I am linked with you, as you are here now. I’ve gone to faraway countries, and met people on the street who said, to each of our wonderment, “I’ve read your blog!”
I loved the Internet immediately. As soon as I comprehended what it was, I learned a bit of HTML and constructed a virtual mirror of my life, a place I could pour my thoughts into, a place to put things I might forget. There was no word for blog.
Making my own web site was so much easier than reporting directly to individuals. Anyone who wanted to know where I was, what I was doing, or what I was thinking could go to an equivalent mirror on their own desk and look into mine. It was magical, like remote viewing in a pool, it was a kind of nakedness to me, a truth.
Now, decades later, the web is unbeautiful, unknowable in its crevices. It’s a living supersociety, but not a good one. People behave horribly in general, I know, but it seems intensified online. I find myself turning away, celebrating the physical world.
In acknowledgment of what has recently burned me, I’ve vowed to burn clean.
The Tucson house went on the market earlier this month, and it might not be long before it’s in new hands. It seems that the house got lucky and found people who love it for what it is; clean-lined midcentury mod, but also warm and peaceful, vibrant and real.
Over the last year I’ve given away almost all of the treasures I collected over a lifetime. I want to get as close as I can to freedom from possessions, from ownership, from the responsibility of protecting my space.
This house has been such a refuge for me, in fact for many of us. I feel a deep gratitude for the place. On the day of the Open House, I wept at the depth of it as I walked the garden for the last time before the sign went up, feeling the connections, hearing the echoes of the laughter, the birdsong, the boys squealing in the pool.
As I’ve handled each thing I’ve given away, I’ve thought about where they came from (all over the world) and what they were made of: wood, pigment, cloth, clay, metals, paper…. each thing elemental, each object speaking of many lands, many hands. I could see how my collection was talismanic.
I had wood from many forests, dirt from many lands. Artisans and makers from all over the world created the boxes, tables, paintings, sculptures. Figures of clay, of metal; elements dug from the earth, cut from trees, pigments squeezed from fruits, nuts, clay and dirt, sparkling colours ground from precious stones.
I had ballgowns, costume jewelry, red silk curtains. Hats, scarves, and handbags. Shoes, dancer lamps, rugs, furniture.
When I look at these things in the pictures, now I see the people who have them.
When I look at the garden wall, I see every lizard who has ever cavorted on it. Below is a photo from Orangelina’s last season; she is eating worms with Owen, her young son, and Mr. Long & Lovely, her last lover.
The resonance of everything that has ever been fills my senses.
In a way, it seems I have let go of what might look like Everything for the privilege of having what might look like Nothing, but honestly, I’ve never felt clearer, closer to light.
This cleanness is not Nothing, and I am no longer achingly lonely; in my dreams, I am working, and in my work, I am dreaming, and in this moment, I am whole.