The Lost Stitch, The Loosened Tile: Akiko Busch on the Ambiguities of Home – Literary Hub

Some years ago, I wrote a collection of essays called Geography of Home . I was interested then in our public and private lives, our memories of plus aspirations toward home, and how our own ideas about domestic space reflect the thoughts regarding society, culture, the natural environment. And how we search out comfort, privacy, security.

The collection of short prose pieces here follows up on some associated with these ideas, though these look instead to the ambiguities that can be generated by ideas of home. They are more likely to read as leaflets around the uncertainties associated with domestic life; on suggestions of placement and displacement; on the particular frailty plus tenacity of human memory; within the beauty of use and uselessness alike; and how we do—and don’t—find our place in the world. Which is to say, if these types of short pieces are about being settled, they are also regarding being unsettled.

The distractions, missteps, miscalculations we experience at home can move us to identify discontents. And a sense associated with displacement can define something real. It seemed odd to me that will while this realm of experience, sometimes even the abiding value of this particular realm associated with experience, may appear in fiction, memoirs, biographies, and poetry, it is addressed less often within the archives of design writing.

The particular distractions, missteps, miscalculations we experience at home can proceed us to identify discontents. And a sense of displacement may define some thing real.

Still, it will be common in order to human considerations of the particular material world—in the deliberate imperfection in Navajo weaving that serves as the spirit path for the particular weaver; within the cracked bowl associated with the Japanese potter reflecting the wabi-sabi belief that nothing lasts, everything changes, nothing is perfect; in the particular misplaced patch of color in an Islamic rug, the reminder that human beings always fall short; in the flaw of an Amish quilt that is intended to reflect humility.

But wait! That last one is a myth, I learned. Someone made it up! A lie!

Such errors, and errors about errors, are crucial to the way all of us live; they are all part of the way we find meaning in encounter. Places come alive for us in myriad ways, as in the angle of sunlight falling through the window, say, or in the way a beat-up kitchen table conveys a sense of sufficiency. Yet rooms arrive to existence in other ways as well: the desk next to a cold window in winter; an immovable piece associated with furniture; the decal on a child’s windows; the danger inherent within an electric fan or in a pressure cooker; a fireplace that will has been boarded up and appears to become useless.

How we remember places, rooms, and the particular things in them may be as flawed as the way we all remember anything else, but such defective memories have meaning too. I am interested in such breaks within pattern, the particular missing thread, the lost stitch, the loosened tile, the splinter in the floorboard, the lie of the duvet, and the possible grace that might end up being offered by this kind of small flaws and inadequacies.


Not long ago, my husband and I arrived home to find the message from our neighbor tacked for the door: “Hey—Half-grown black bear in our own yard. Friday, about 6: 00 pm. Headed in your direction —Tillman. ” The carry never showed up, but I had been so taken with this note that I framed it and hung it on the doorframe where this remains today. In part, it was the particular sense of anticipation it generated; just seeing this every time We came house had me imagining that will a black bear might stroll into the yard at any moment. But as the months passed, I came to realize it was more than that. The place we live is usually at the edge of the particular woods at the bottom of a mountain, and in much less than twenty words, the little memo reminds me several times a day of all the things headed within our path that I actually will never see and never know.


It was a late summer afternoon and we were on a boat, this woman and I. She had simply finished renovating her house and has been telling me personally about the granite countertops, the beadboard cabinetry, the Italian tiles in the kitchen. It was clear she had a good eye for design and had made her decisions regarding furnishings plus layout carefully. She told me decisively that will she would never have the television within the bedroom, that this particular could destroy a marriage. At the time, I thought I understood what she meant and had been surprised six months later to hear that she and the girl husband experienced filed with regard to divorce. We think back to this conversation and wonder, did the girl honestly believe that a TV in the particular bedroom could kill a relationship? Or did the lady already anticipate the coming break and see it everywhere, imagining it even in the arrangement of a good appliance, the piece associated with furniture. I actually realize now it had been one of those brief exchanges in which you have no idea what was actually being said, the words plus ideas because tenuous as the small boat bobbing along the afternoon whitecaps as this heads towards the dock.


The Winter Desk
In the way that some people possess lawn furniture or a summer house, I have a winter desk. It is situated near the windowpane in a small upstairs bedroom, and I use it in the particular cold months when I feel housebound. My son built the table in days when things were upward in the air with him, the circumstances of his lifestyle vague plus undecided, and when building material objects offered a visceral satisfaction. He made it out of black walnut, yet its honeyed grains seem warmer than that, so when the snow weighs down the branches from the white pine just outside the window, the particular liquid patterns of the wood surface speak to the particular certainty associated with an eventual thaw. Which means it is definitely a great place in order to work. Especially when the thin January light filters through the particular ice crystals in the panes of glass and onto the fluid graphics of the wood grain, I think of what I would like to tell my son, which can be that it is feasible for things to be still and to move in the same time.


My friend and I are sitting across through each other within the museum café. We have just looked from an exhibition of paintings by the British artist John Constable, clouds and trees and rolling fields associated with the English countryside. “The sound of water escaping from mill-dams, willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts, and brickwork, I love such things, ” he said once.

The friend and am have known each some other for more compared to forty-five years, and we are telling each additional stories. We are talking about the works of art, our life, books, people we know. And she says to myself that she awoke that will morning thinking about three houses: a house where she was once a caretaker; the friend’s home in Massachusetts; and the house in which the girl lived within Vermont for three years along with her husband to whom she is certainly no longer married.

It  may be those that remain forbidden to us that all of us remember most clearly, the particular ones from which we are usually exiled that may fasten themselves the majority of tenaciously to our memory and imagination.

I don’t know why it is that I keep in mind these areas so well, she tells me. Yet I remember them viscerally, physically. We remember exactly how it felt to stand at the sink running the water, or even to pull open the particular drawer of a desk, or the angle of the sunlight as it fell across the kitchen floor in the house in Vermont. I remember the really feel of these rooms much more than I even remember the people in them. I can simply recall their faces, but it is the rooms which i remember with the most detail.

And I suggest to her that it is possibly because remembering the individuals associated with all those rooms might be so difficult. A friend who will be no more a friend, the lover with whom intimacy has exceeded. And the lady says, Maybe that’s this. But I’m not sure this is. I believe I keep in mind those places, she states, because they are the particular rooms that are unacceptable to me now. I actually know these types of rooms continue to exist, but I will never be in them again.

And this is something that perplexes me. All of us spend the time plus money trying to make the places within which we all live accommodating, open, and gracious. We all desire the particular rooms we live in to be hospitable and human, and we do what we can to make all of them so. But in the end, it may be the ones that remain forbidden to all of us that all of us remember many clearly, the ones that we are exiled that will may secure themselves most tenaciously to the memory plus imagination.


House Advantage
What’s called the particular “home advantage” is a phenomenon well-known within sports: teams playing upon the home field—or court or rink—come to the game along with a built-in lead. Whether it has to do with sleeping in their own beds, eating their own food within their personal kitchens, or having the support of their fans in the bleachers, athletes appear to benefit from the supposed comforts of house.

What I suspect, though, is that home advantage may turn in order to disadvantage in the blink of an eye, and that the doubts cast around the idea associated with home advantage simply reveal the wider ambivalence therefore many of us have about this idea of home.

The thing relating to this, though, is that it is a misconception. Sports statisticians have found that playing at home is not always the particular boost it is assumed to become. In fact, athletes in different sports respond to the home advantage differently. While scores suggest that basketball players have an innate appreciation regarding home-stadium games, football and baseball players are less receptive to this presumed benefit. Of even greater interest is usually the fact that within critical games—that is, individuals games that will determine season championships—athletes often falter when playing in your own home.

I wonder about this. Probably if We could figure out the reason why basketball gamers value the home benefit more compared to baseball players, or exactly why athletes so often fumble in decisive contests at home, I might understand some thing more about the particular fine points of house advantage. What I suspect, though, is the fact that home advantage can turn to disadvantage in the blink associated with an eye, which the particular doubts cast round the idea of home advantage simply reflect the wider ambivalence so many people have got concerning this concept of house. Because just as surely since home can be a place of comfort, familiarity, and refuge, a place where our deepest social bonds are forged, at other times it can just like certainly be a place of divisiveness, anxiety, plus uncertainty, a place exactly where those exact same bonds can be stretched, diluted, and frayed beyond recognition.


akiko busch_everything else is bric-a-brac

From Everything Else is Bric-a-Brac: Notes on Home simply by Akiko Busch, published by Princeton Architectural Press, reprinted with permission from the publisher.

The Interiorist

The Interiorist

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