We’ve split up. It’s been coming since last spring — longer even, although I know she would adamantly disagree. Spring is just a marker, a moment when it became clear to me we were growing in different directions, mutually exclusive ones. My trajectory took me off the map we had been following altogether, right over the edge.

The landscape we had occupied seemed bucolic from a distance, I guess. We were always smiling. There may have even been some sheep grazing on the lush grass in the background, content to press their hooves into the ground and chew, clouds floating past in a blue dream.

I have walked from a very broken place, somewhere I’ve been trying to shake for 30 years. This past year I finally knocked its dust off my shoes and coat. I remembered who I was, why I was, and I had to break some things to get back to me. I’m sorry for the breaking. I’m not sorry for the going back.

In the past year I’ve come to realize that I can’t hide from myself, not if I really want to live. I’m reminded of something somebody* smart once said: “Wherever you go, there you are.”

So, yes. Here I am.

I did a performance this winter called “Debit/Credit,” part of a multi-artist show called “12/12/12.” My performance was installation-based and durational (that’s artist-speak for “long”), a grueling reflection on my relationship with money and how I spent it in the past 12 months. I stood in the same small gallery room for 12 hours and talked to visitors as they drifted in to see me, the artist stuck amidst the detritus of my past year.

There was one guy, rather socially awkward, who said he worked in a map store. I must have accidentally made him feel comfortable because he took refuge again and again in my space, asking me endless questions — each one more grasping than the last — about my work. Eventually he ran out of things to ask. Eventually I and the other artists packed up and went home.

I didn’t want the map store guy to be comfortable so long in my space. I wanted him to find himself in the mirror of my performance and ask his own self the questions. I wanted him to go, get to a real place, the place where he was, and to stop asking me to point it out for him on the map.

Happy January, the month of restarting. I hope in 2013 we all find ourselves, wherever we go.

* Attributed to everyone but your brother (unless your brother is Thomas a Kempis, Confucius, Gnarls Barkley, Buckaroo Banzai, or Jon Kabat-Zinn), the source of this observation is hard to pin down but its meaning isn’t.

January 7, 2013 Blog Posts