Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Actually, the word my mother used was "dwell," as in, "you dwell on things too much." This is a fair point. I think my mother comes from a family for whom "dwell" is a paradox. Place matters to them: the home, the location lived in continuously for so many years, a sense of permanence, perpetualness. (I will just riff off existing words as necessary.)

But at the same time, thoughts are not a place where one lives. Thoughts are private, especially negative or dark thoughts. These may be walled off or over, decorated with wall paper. I imagine most people do this, simply because it makes sense. While any one of my mother or her sisters would acknowledge hurt feelings, unhappy memories or serious happenings have occurred in their pasts, their custom has been to renovate life such that happy memories predominate.

I can't criticize them. My mother's parents had five daughters and those five produced nineteen children. For the nineteen of us, this dwelling they've made of happy memories and good times is a shelter in which we can take cover any time.

I am, then, the imperfect architect. Where I dwell, I cannot make the rooms even--some are sunny, some are not, and some are in disarray. A few rooms fill to the corners with recollections that are facsimiles of the same recollections, duplicated and re-copied and re-imagined such that the space would look like a hoarder's cupboard if only anyone could truly visualize this.

And I do hoard my thoughts because, honestly, I have to where Robert is concerned. Any memory, any bit of information, any sense of how to react better or worse than last time to any situation that I may have to revisit, even the memory of where the vending machines are in the hospital--all of this could be not only useful or critical information. I am the repository, the filing cabinet, the Feng Shui master of what it has meant for Robert to become Robert.

Dwell in or dwell on. My mother said "dwell on." Interior versus exterior. She thinks of the non-preferred sort of dwelling as "on" rather than "in." I told you we make a fine counterpoint to one another, because I guess I think I dwell "in" my thoughts. It has been a fine quality to have.

Although "Dwell On" would have a made a great title to a Led Zeppelin song.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Rant on, baby. I live on the same street.