So let's talk about the house. My house. As part of my coping with the divorce, I threw shit out. As you can imagine, and the shrink affirmed this, that kind of thing is common after a dissolution of marriage. I had the walls painted over. I replaced light fixtures. I bought so much new stuff that my UPS man came to the conclusion that I was a crazy shut-in. (Yes, I did all the buying online. Another part of my coping: swearing off human contact whenever it was in my power to do so.)
Mr. UPS showed up one day when I was doing a bang-up job of overhauling the garage. “You sure do get a lot of packages,” he said, depositing the day’s haul on my driveway.
Starting to unpack the lampshades, throw pillows, bedsheets, and—wait for it—king-sized box spring, I replied, “Yeah. I need some stuff.” (I’m still waiting for Overstock or Amazon to send me a Really Damn Valued Customer plaque. It took me all of three months to employ my Prime membership alone to the tune of $5000. My sister, Lauren, said she knew that I had gone too far when I bought the deep fryer. My friend, Jim, said it was the emergency generator that signaled A Problem.)
Throughout the house I added new color. I bought new drapes. Fresh accent furniture. And as I was doing some redecorating here and there I realized that I don’t want to just like my baubles and whatnot on the walls; I want to love them. I believe that if you’re going to put some kind of decor in your home you ought to have more than one reason to put it there. “I like it” doesn't cut it for me.
Allow me to explain. With photos. Note: I don’t pretend to be a photographer. These photos’ll suck. But they aren’t here to be pretty. They’re here to illustrate a point. In fact, I’m going to illustrate the hell out of my point. (And really, don't you get a zing up your spine when you're invited to enjoy a little voyeurism and see into a stranger's home? This ain't some pretentious design blog. This here's my real life, and it's not designed to impress you. It's designed to please me.)
I want parts of my house to be playful. So I placed a print of Picasso's La Toilette over the guest toilette. I put a 9" praying mantis over the door in my office. I have hands sprouting out of my dresser and the buffet. There's a bright little giraffe my sister, Cat, named Horace on drape duty. And do you remember how in Annie Oliver Warbucks said to hang DaVinci's Mona Lisa in his bathroom? Well I thought he had a pretty good idea, so put my own spin on the concept and hung a print of Warhol's Mona Lisa in my half bath as a playful nod to a cultural reference.
I don't have a fascination with death. Or do I? I'm attracted to the macabre. The wire crow sculpture floating ominously over a bookcase. A full-size skeleton in the Bikram version of Trikonasana, posing beneath a print of the Zombieland rules. One of my favorite paintings: Picasso's Guernica. Virgil's exhortation to live. Yeah, it's all undeniably creepy. But all of it's also charmingly grotesque reminders that I'd best do me some living, for something gnarly lurks.
It's rare that I'm sentimental. But from time to time, I do land there. I collect green glass 'cause it's pretty, but I also have pieces that are sentimental. Gifts from friends. A piece that belonged to my great grandmother.
There are all of two photos on my walls. Count 'em. Two. They're a perfect depiction of my favorite people on the planet: my sissies. And a sentimental kicker: the photog was our dear friend, Ash.
That print in the kitchen reads "Have Tea and Let it Be." It's a nice reminder, sure, but the sentimental me keeps it because my Rabid-friend asked me to make it, and when I see it I think of her, one of the best things that's ever happened to me.
I picked the metal seagulls 'cause they look cool but also 'cause I grew up in Utah, and if you grow up in Utah you can't escape without some knowledge of gulls. Those birds over my bed remind me of my roots.
(Hey do you see that green Jesus bust? Affectionately, I call him Greesus.)
I have much of my own "work" hanging in the house. Here are some. But there are more. My typographic stuff hangs in my office, bathrooms, hallways, any space really. I like their style. (I better—I designed them.) A few have good reminders. And they inspire confidence; when I'm not feeling capable of creativity, I can look on my walls and see that, hey, I've got some game.
This place is mine. I want to be able to walk through my house and see more than what pleases my eye. I want to be tickled. I want to remember. I might need to be encouraged. So I rolled up my sleeves and put my walls to work.
*Yup. You read that right. Break-up email. Here’s the bad news: if you read this blog, you’re going to hear about Le Divorce. A lot probably. Here’s the good news: post after post you’re going to pick up little details that boggle the mind and tell Le Story. It’ll be like a treasure hunt! The even better news: I may have found my breaking point, but I’m not broken.
My story isn’t one designed to garner pity. Oh, you’ll feel the pity all right. You’ll experience outrage. You’ll be incredulous. And if I do my job in relaying the tale just as I experienced it, there’s a good chance that you’ll feel sad. But again, the telling really isn't for you. It's for me. My ma calls me her phoenix daughter, and, yes, it’s a shame that there were ashes to rise from, but trust me, dear reader, rise I did. I am. I still do.