I've had several discussions about place lately, with both friends and family alike. I think it's partially the holidays: revisiting old spaces, like a parent's home, or discovering new ones by visiting friends and distant relatives. I suppose it's also the fact that we Michiganders are now confined to our homes for long periods (18 degrees outside, 18!) and have a distinct nesting habit (PBR in the fridge, constant soup, and at least 3 coats each). Either way, it's got me thinking about all the changes in my own spaces over the last year--and how grateful I am to find myself still home even with a different address.
Lucy Lippard begins The Lure of the Local with this idea: "Place for me is the locus of desire." Since reading this book in undergrad, this has always really resonated with me--I am the kind of person who, generally speaking, is able to make themselves comfortable anywhere. I actively seek to make home out of wherever I am: spreading out the entire contents of my backpack at a coffee shop, searching your kitchen for your utensil drawer while managing to open every cupboard AND do your dishes at the same time, and of course immediately determining where restrooms and exits are located upon entering a new space. There is something truly lovely about the familiar, and I have learned not to take these things for granted... knowing where my keys are, which books are where, and how to use the dishwasher are priceless treasures. Conversely, I also want those who come into my spaces to feel at home too --thus my penchant for tidiness and fresh pots of coffee. Chances are you will also end up with a baby bunny in your lap.
Also on my mind lately, and related to these ideas, is Hans Christian Anderson's The Wild Swans. I won't bore you right now with a retelling, but alongside all the usual fairytale struggles (witchcraft!) the idea of home as a living breathing thing is clear--not simply as a passive space but something that needs to be created and maintained.
In other words, more swans to come. Happy New Year, all--may you laugh a lot, eat well, travel, and do good work. Cheers!