1979. El Paso, Texas. I stress eat Easy-Bake Oven cake mix in the quiet dark of my childhood bedroom closet. Far more of those salty-sweet chemical concoctions make it to my mouth dry and straight out of the packet than would ever see the inside of a tiny baking pan and heat of a single light bulb.
2017. Hamilton, Ontario. I stress eat Lindor chocolates in my car. The quiet, aloneness, and compressed space of my Honda Civic feels familiar and ancient.
I took a writing workshop last February that involved an outline of my body on a sheet of butcher paper and free-association drawings that evoke formative life events and dead people I have loved. A disproportionate amount of real estate is dedicated to 10 lbs of sunshine yellow and chocolate brown plastic. There is literally an Easy-Bake Oven where my heart and lungs should be.
Tiny Me understood some things about how she was made. She loved the things Now Me loves. Quiet. Being outside. Rain. Books. Swingsets. Stories. Observing people. Making things. I want to honor the choices she made that brought us both life and joy and give her grace for the choices that still give me grief.
So…I gave notice at my job and will spend June and July in my Civic, working my way through the midwest, gulf states, and central and eastern south with the following goals:
- See old friends and read to their new tiny people (I am also considering setting myself up in parks with a sandwich board promoting story times, so if you have ideas for Mobile Storylady names, let me know!).
- Have big conversations with people about creating interdisciplinary art communities and hospitable audience spaces.
- Workshop stuff with a few theatre makers on the ideas of self-compassion and the innate wisdom of our tiny selves.
I’ll be documenting highlights here as #3 makes its way (hopefully) into something that more people than just me can eat.