Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Landcape

Remedios Varo, who I think of as one part
Escher and one part Bosch, paints landscapes
that look to me like coming home to myself.
It's a nice place, really.

Each of us lives in two landscapes: the one that surrounds us, and the one that we surround. Inside us all, opening up somewhere into the alternate space behind the brain or breastbone, is a world populated with the things that make us tick, a cabinet of curiosities that is bigger on the inside, a mountain range or a single room with shadowy walls. We are each of us museums of our own being, collections of our own dreams and fears and memories and longing and concrete shards of experience in bright colors and dim lights and that one name somebody called us one time. Sometimes it's a frightening place, a realm of darkness and slimy corners; sometimes it's a land of light and magic such as Disney himself would murder for. Much like, well, our own experiences, things mingle within us; we're a box of many spices, and some of them are bitter, but oh, dear god, the pungency of some, the sweetness, the fragrance!

This will be a short post, because I'm already playing catchup today, and not much needs to be said. Listen. It's really very simple. I want to make a Museum that reflects the natural makeup of the worlds that unfold within us, with their strange chambers and nested rooms, their bright spots and dark chapels. Joy is partly joy because we don't have it all the time, because it is mingled with loss and longing and nostalgia. I want to build a place to wander through that feels like walking into the shape of your own soul. Even if my soul speaks a different language (old cities and kaleidoscopes where yours is zombies and futurescapes, dead roads or tawny mountains, biker bars, black glass), if I do it right, you'll still feel like coming home to a place you never knew you'd known, a house that belonged to you before you thought to question your memory, something you saw under the sky once when the stars were out. What's a Museum of Joy for? Why, to remind us that joy is a living thing, entwined with history and also with our own story, coming up through the roots and blooming on the cheeks of the fruit upon the branches. As long as there have been people there has been suffering, perhaps, but as long as there's been people there's been joy also. And I want to make you a place that is a mirror you can melt through like Alice on the mantlepiece, back into a world where things speak to you and are not mute but wise and living, watchful, full of meaning. I want you to remember what it feels like to play, absorbed in an imaginary place and time that all of us have been to but most of us forget. I want to put you back so close to wonder that you trip on it and when your face hits the earth all you think is oh, I'd forgotten how good the dirt smells after rain. Delight is a place. As Liz Lemon likes to say, I want to go to there. I'd like you to come too. What else is there to say?


  1. Well, to keep this short, because I'm also behind on pretty much everything:
    I'd go there.


Please do try to be thoughtful and considerate when posting comments, but we do love hearing what you think!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...