At the beginning of September 2012, I set out to document the process of reconstructing and re-imagining home after losing it when my family sold our farm in 2004 and my mom died in 2009. I wasn’t sure exactly what this process would look like or what I would imagine, create or produce. All I knew is that I wanted to spend some time making sense of my experiences struggling with and rebuilding from loss. The result of my efforts was a series of three digital videos about what home means (or has meant) to me.
The first video/story that I created was “My favorite part of the walk.” It’s a story about walking along the Minnehaha Creek path with my son Fletcher right after we moved to South Minneapolis in 2004. It documents my material connection to a neighborhood. I have lived a few blocks from this creek for over 8 years now and, when I walk on the Minnehaha Creek path, I can physically connect to memories of what I did and who I was in the past (when Fletcher and I used to take walks with the stroller or when I’d bike with the kids to camp during the summer or when I first started running). Because I moved around so much as a kid and adult (9 cities, 17 different homes), this physical connection is important to me; it’s evidence of my existence beyond the present.
The second video, which isn’t crafted enough (yet) to be called a story (I think?), is simply called “Home.” It focuses on some footage of my mom and I each talking about the importance of the farm and how it figures into our understandings of home. It was filmed in 2002, right after I had a miscarriage. In a general sense, both of our definitions involve home as nurturing:
Home is where they take you in (Sara) and home is where you are celebrated and accepted (Judy).
These definitions of home as nurturing raise important, troubling questions for me: What other resources do I have for being nurtured? How do I balance my need for nurturing with my need to nurture (as a parent)?
Private Space: A Room of One’s Own?
In this final video, I put two home tours, one given by my mom in the late 80s (I think) and one given by my dad in 2000, beside each other in order to raise questions about home, belonging, memory and privacy. The tour led by my mom was originally almost 25 minutes long; I edited it down to around 3 minutes. I’m really struck by what I chose to keep in and what I edited out. In the footage that I kept, she spends a lot of time talking about her private, quiet moments and spaces in the house. I end the tour in her study as she describes her appreciation for her inner sanctum, a space where she can do “all the fun things she likes to do” and “not have to worry about how it looks.”
I have always appreciated that my mom was a private person; I’m a very private person too. For me, home is a space where I can retreat, be myself and “not have to worry about how I look” (or act).