Things are getting more and more eccentric at Casa de la Swain. Changing styles in my textile work, falling in love again with painting and photography...and then there is the ever illusive quest for continuing creativity through working with Eric Maisel. Still on the road teaching, posting now at the Ragged Cloth Cafe and taking the pledge to keep handmaiden up to date.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When I was a Child

Maybe it is because I just celebrated my b'day or maybe it is true that as you get older you remember more and more about your childhood.....who knows. However, this evening as I was soaking in the tub the strangest thought struck me. I never go back to the town in which I grew up.

I haven't been back since my mom's funeral....she died in 1991. I didn't even go back to the house when I sold it. I went to the title office and then came home. Is that strange? After all I spent the first 18 years of my life there and did go back frequently while my parents were alive but now I don't feel any connection to that place at all. My parents are both buried there but they live in my heart. They aren't there anymore; they live within me.

Even more weird, I have only been to two class reunions...the 10th and the 30th. I thought about going this year to the 35th and then realized I don't even know those people. I went all the way through elementary, junior high and high school with the same people, but have no connection to them now. We have lost some of my classmates which saddens me, but in my mind I have lost them as I remember them; not for who they are now.

At our 30th class reunion, I was voted the person who had changed the least. Whoa doggies! From my perspective, I was the one who had changed the most. I was the one who had serious wanderlust and moved every two years from theatre to theatre during my jaded youth. I was the one who got caught on the news protesting the Viet Nam war. Half the time my parents didn't know where I was until I got settled into a new home.....even divorced one husband and didn't even call until it was all over.

My fellow classmates have all stayed in touch. Some of them still live near where we went to school; some of them have the same friends they ran around with in high school. Maybe I should envy that type of long standing friendship but to be honest with myself, my best friends are women and men I met long after high school.

This is an unusual post for my blog but had to get it out of my head. My childhood may have been where the creative spark started but it isn't reflected in my art. Not that I am trying to escape it because most of my youth was idyllic.....I just don't have any angst over that time of my life. Is therapy in order?

Shutting up now; still slightly perplexed. Wondering does your childhood find its way into your art?


Sonji Hunt said...

I reunited with my best friend from childhood a couple of years ago. She said I hadn't changed one bit. I look the same, have the same mannerisms, the same sort of shyness but an air about me that says "I'll kick your ass". She said I always seemed to live by my own rules and not care too much what others thought of me. We became friends when we were five years old. I guess, Gabrielle, some of us are fully formed the minute we are let loose in the world. I like that. It gives me the only sense of security that is real...I'm always me. Whatever that might mean. Of course, we know we aren't alone.

Jeannie said...

I went to my 10th and have stayed away from the rest. Growing up in a small town and moving away later is hard for those who stay behind. They are more comfortable seeing you as you were back then, not who you are now. Well, thanks, but no - I'd like to think I have evolved since 1972. As to incorporating childhood into art, I learned to see nature with my Gram. Those lessons show up in my artwork. They also show up in my outlook on life. We are ever evolving. Like nature we shed some things and replace them with new. While it may look like the same tree, flower, bush... it is different with the new. Maybe more branches, or brighter color or more leaves, but we are the same yet different. More of who we are growing to be. Thanks for the seeds to ponder on today. Cheers.

jan said...

Therapy not in order.
We spend more time with the family and community we make-
not the one we leave behind.
Glad your back on line.

atet said...

Yep -- your childhood finds its way into your art because it's what helps create your world outlook. Even if you have moved on and away from where you came from -- still there, still part of your schema for looking at and dealing with everything. So -- yes, it is, and no it isn't. It doesn't have to be the dominant theme for anything -- but there is no way to get away from yourself. Geesh, think I need to not comment on blogs after midnight -- I'm getting all philosophical here.

gabrielle said...

Ladies, You all have great perspective on this. Sonji, I agree that we aren't born tabula rosa. I learned this from my sons who were born with the personalities they continue to have as adults.

Jeannie and Jan, I also have to say that even though my basic being might still be the same as Sonji suggested, I have moved on and grown in many ways or at least I hope....more wisdom and more direction.

Atet, I also agree that your childhood has an incredible impact on you as an adult....and therefore probably does effect your art, view of the world, etc.

What I know is true for me was the validation of both my parents to be bold, try new things, live life as if every day was the first or last day.

Thank you all for your great comments.