how i wound up doing the lry memorial room

archived rainbows

Blame Ed Inman.

Oh allright, it's not really a question of blame - just a situation of memory-triggers and forgotten landmines. And while it certainly rearranged portions of my heart for awhile, it wasn't unwelcome... most of the time.

You know how it is: You're going along with your day-to-day life. You haven't thought about or heard from certain old friends, as important as they once were to you, in a very long time. You haven't forgotten them, per se; it's more that those memories live in the deep-storage part of your brain. Way in the back, where they won't interfere with your day to day subroutines and frequently-accessed memories.

Then suddenly one night, there they are on your answering machine. Voices from the ancient past. And something in you... shifts. A crack opens in the face of your present reality. And, surrounded by an almost-obscuring cloud of dust, all this stuff tumbles out.

Most of this stuff is made up of memories. Hefty little parcels too precious to have been thrown away, even after half a lifetime - lovingly wrapped in sparkly paper and ribbons, covered in glitter (and a little bit of mold). Others, not so pretty, but so sharply barbed and completely interlaced with your internal organs that they long ago became impossible to rip out. They've become part of you so intimately that you no longer question their presence. Even though you may sometimes “forget” where they came from in the first place.

Most of the dust floating around you is the real, mundane thing. It rises as you haul the archive boxes out of storage. Makes you itch and sneeze as you unseal the boxes and dig through the buried treasures, looking for those old issues of Soup that Ed needs for the People Soup Archive Project.

But on closer look, some of this stuff - not the parcels (though the boxes hold some of it), but the more ethereal particles, smaller than the dust but oh so much heavier - it drifts out, it drifts in, it grabs you by the heart, lungs, womb, head... triggering old and unresolved feelings about a crucial time in your life: A time filled with all the intensity of adolescence, with all the heart-bursting drama of first true love, with loyalty and betrayal and unbelievable swings from astonishing joy to soul-rending sorrow.

A time you sometimes thought you wouldn't live through. A time when your whole life seemed to hinge on every step taken, every choice made. A time you wouldn't give up for anything. Even though you know you could never go through that again.

Filled with so many firsts. And some “last”s. And an extremely high proportion of the formative experiences that made you who you are today.

It can be hard to sort all that stuff out. To separate the feelings one had back then from the realities of who we all are now. To separate the need to mourn from the desire to repeat those experiences.

It can be quite disorienting. It can mess you up.

After I found the issues for Ed, I didn't put the boxes away. Not till I was damn good and ready. I don't like to feel like things are unfinished. Though a big lesson for me has been learning that some things may never be finished - at least not in this lifetime - and that sometimes the only power we have in these situations is to accept that fact and move on.

For me, it set off a needful period of re-examination and ritual. Of facing some old demons and mourning some lost loves. Of looking upon the children we once were with the hindsight and, hopefully, compassion, of a 34-year old looking back on events of half her lifetime ago. And, it was a period of finally letting go of some unconscious wishes and feelings and people I truly believed I had released long ago.

It hurt. It felt good. Then it hurt again.

Eventually it felt calm and peaceful. And hell, if nothing else, it gave me much fodder for art. (More to come on this front. Stay tuned.)

All in all, I've had a very interesting, and strangely productive, year. What about you?

a bemused,


March 6, 1998
Eilean nan Dóbhran

don't_say_nothing - patti smith

cha cha cha

pictures from kathryn's lry archives
picture index & soundtrack notes
the midwest, fall '79 - summer '80 | office and villa, fall '80 | joe taco's housewarming party, fall '80
spring '81 | star island '81 and villa afterwards | con con '81 | tacos on tour, summer '81
fall of '81 | cog in the eighties | the tribe(s) in the nineties and beyond
how i wound up doing this site

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