September 27th, 2009:
The emptying of my apartment is happening at full throttle. It's so startling to see vast expanses of wall space for the first time in sixteen years. Places where there were well-known rugs, textiles, paintings are now bare white, highlighting the wall moldings that gave this apartment such a distinctive formality.
What I'm aware of is how much prior anticipation I've done to release my things. This is unique among my community of friends. I started saying goodbye on the conceptual level several months ago when I first imagined giving specific objects to people. As my health declined, my urgency to disburse grew. Now that it's happening, I am reaping the relief that I've hoped for. Things are going to their new homes. As my friend Jackie Udin said at the end of her visit to pick up books, "Have a wonderful rest of the day giving things away!" I get to thank everyone, say goodbye to the objects and experience as complete a closure as I could hope for.
To others, it's not so easy. This apartment grew into a well-integrated space for all the objects that found their home here. The vibe was remarkable: serene, lots of specific beauty, nothing overwhelming, an intuitive mix of interesting pieces. Nothing of great value, but every object made a contribution. Building this home turned into one of the most pleasurable events that I worked on over the past decade and a half. There was never an overarching aesthetic or plan. Other than the repainting and installation of track lights some eight years ago, there was no major overhaul. But slowly, piece by piece, the collection grew into a home that was conducive to visiting over a cup of tea and letting friendship deepen.
For my friends who experienced the joys of this apartment, it's wrenching to see it taken apart. As the objects disperse, the container of our friendship also evaporates. That's a lot to give up. And it's a step closer to the ultimate separation which will happen when I die. I am seeing the end of the apartment as a dress rehearsal for saying goodbye to me. That's why people come here with a spirit of bravery and courage and sadness and poignancy. It's the end of an era in some very real ways. I have to say, it was a lovely time. I feel like I used this apartment well and that it held a great deal of fine energy. Thank you, good apartment. Thank you for your solid framing and your willingness to nurture so much love and beauty for me and my friends.
My last act after the final pieces of me go out the door will be to smudge the rooms with sage. I will let cleansing smoke filter the air of that day. I will thank each room. I will walk to the front door and walk into the hallway. A turn of the key, and I'm gone. Off to my new home.