so, sept 9th, at the starving artist performance space in keene, nh, there will be and event called musetopia which will include a reading from the book 'turn & jump: how time and place fell apart' by howard mansfield, and a performance by rochelle gandour, josh shawver (sp?) and myself, which is an exploration, thru voice and movement backed by a soundscape, of how each of the three of us interact with time and place. (i know, hard to fathom, exactly)
my written (and soon to be spoken) contribution is as follows:
I dont live in any one place right now. I'm homeless, or home-free, if you will, tho not lacking in employment or a roof over my head. My means right now necessitate choosing between travel or paying rent. I chose travel more than a year ago and havent looked back. moving around the country and visiting everyone I know and love, I get to spend time with them in their homes and meet their people, which makes each place I go have an increasingly longer list of reasons to visit again.
I have hopped time zones more than 20 times in the past year, traveled thru 40 states, and lost track at 37 on the number of houses ive stayed in. thats not including at least 5 motel rooms, and all the bridges, boxcars, parks, lawns, campsites and train seats ive spread out my sleeping bag under, in and on.
This almost constant changing of place means that I understand time over the past year—time in the sense of my memory of when something happened—by where I was at the moment. February equals the southwest, or vice versa, Iowa means is was last summer, if its christmas it must be chicago, where my family is. This october I will be in seattle, but I will be having flashbacks all month to my experience of what that season can do to the east tennessee mountains.
My ideas of place have gone wonky too. Ive woken up on couches or beds or floors across the country, not sure where for the first few moments of consciousness, having to reconstruct whole travel itineraries sometimes before im sure of what city, let alone whose house, im in. last week I woke up, having just dreamed I was back in my bedroom at my parents house, convinced I was still there, fitting doors and windows into my delusion before finally realizing I was on the futon in rochelle and eli's living room.
I woke up for a week last summer to a rooster crow, having gone to bed early in a tent pitched on a farm in oregon, the muscles in my back worked hard during the day in honest labor, eased in the afternoon by a mountain-fed stream and the hot shore rocks baked by the sun, and kept straight at night by the ground as my bed. Each time the rooster crowed I frowned in wonder of what kind of alarm clock it was, and how to turn it off, then smiled remembering where I was and what there was to do that day, cuz there was always something.
I have woken up frequently in my childhood bedroom, now the guest room, still feeling the expectation of the morning noises from the rest of the house, the tv blare as dad checks the weather, the on and off of my brother's snoozed radio alarm, the rattle of pans and cupboards by mom in the kitchen, only to find the silence of my aged parents having gotten up with the sun hours ago. My body on west coast time, even if ive been in chicago a week, makes me still look about seventeen, stumbling groggily downstairs at 10:30am.
I woke up a few days recently spooning a friend I wouldnt dare to cuddle with while awake, because the last town I was in id been sharing a bed with my best friend who I couldn't imagine not snuggling up to.
It seems my unconscious mind tries to combine all these people and places into somewhere safe to spend time asleep, conflating foreign surroundings with something familiar, assuming a person nearby is a close friend, or imagining a seat on the train is a comfy hammock to make my assigned place cozy enough not to feel the need to keep some part of my brain alert to danger. When I dont have a door to close before bedding down, i find other ways of closing myself off, creating the illusion of safety that walls give. My imagination is helpful in building me little houses to sleep in, like the lost boys did wendy, lying asleep in the forest of neverland, so she could wake up in her own place.
[this last paragraph will be interrupted at some point by an alarm clock going off:]
I woke up once this spring to my alarm clock getting me up for work at 8:30am east coast time, but it was dark and 5am on the west coast, where I had flown a week early to be there for my friend who had recently lost her dad. I pulled my jet-lagged body upright, cursed the early hour as I logged on to my email to check my shift schedule, doing mental math for the time zone change, tempted to call in sick with itineritis, but instead I watched the dawn creep over berkeley, glad to be able to comfort saunia, grateful I had the luxury of no place to be but her place, for as much time as she needed me.