Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Jumping in the deep end

When I was five years old we lived on Goodrich Ave. in St. Paul, Minnesota, right off Grand amongst the large homes of yesteryear. The neighbor had a pool, and they were my buddies. My mom never learned to swim and she hired Buzzy the 18 year old to teach me. I can remember the first day, I loved the appeal of the pool water, but was afraid to get in. Buzzy was very patient, he tried everything to give me courage to jump in. I remember it went on–him encouraging me, me balking.

Finally, he grabbed me and jumped in with me. And then, he couldn't stop me from jumping in over and over on my own. I was a fish ever since.

Making a huge move and change of life is just like that-jumping in with out anyone to catch you but with an inner excitement that you will swim and make it to the other side.

And if you do, you will surprise yourself. You will go from a new oven to one Paul Revere's mother used and you will find bread still can be baked.

I have people tell me this has to be my next book-the move-and I am pondering it. After all we left a place we loved and were emotionally vested in, but it wasn't like we were miserable. We weren't that young either. We spent a lot of savings to do it to haul animals and that is always unsettling for anyone, especially freelancers of sporadic income. Martyn left a 25 year list of paying clients that he will have to totally rebuild. And we continue to have to spend money to get the barn done and purchase furniture and supplies since we left almost all our household items due to the size of the house and the cost of the move [...this is not a preamble for a GoFund campaign...we made our own choices.}

I did leave all my wind chimes. Why did I do that, I wonder? I'm not sure I was thinking straight the last couple days of packing, I was just trying to get through it without having an emotional crack up, I think. I find some things I packed and feel it was simply a way to get me here-by packing it it felt like things, life preservers, were on board. But some, not all, but some have no meaning here.

Not everyone can move down the street, let alone across the country to a place they never saw. Sometimes it is financial, sometimes it is commitments to parents or children that keep one land locked. Sometimes it is fear, or laziness. And some people don't need or want to move. I'm not sure what the focus of this supposed new book people say I should write is. Is the theme about jumping into the deep end or the insanity of driving 5 days with 28 animals in a trailer and sleeping in stalls every night? I think the people are tired of women moving to farm stories, especially since most of the women in those books aren't really farmers. I'm not sure they are interested in my journey from coast to coast where nothing really went wrong. I can just hear some editor,

But nothing happened. Nobody escaped on the trip, nobody died, everything worked out. Where is the 'arc'? Where is the drama?

I think the best response is, I'm in the arc, man. I'm riding it. The trip out was chapter two. The arc is developing. The wood out back is full of arcs. That mouse has something to say, I think. I don't now. I didn't move across the country to write a book, but there is a book somewhere in all this.


Anonymous said...

It would be a book about Change and Growing, I suspect. And those insights could be told in so many beautiful, funny, sad, symbolic, angry, scared, subtle, excited ways. Your blog posts and other stories tell me that that skill and focus is right up your writing alley, Katherine. But of course, there's mental and emotional composting and 'nesting'o do first. Not to mention getting back to art-making. All in good time, my pretty, all in good time. ♡

Anonymous said...

Percolation is a good thing, it will come if it's meant to be. Like that loaf of bread and that fabulous old stove, think of the meals that came out of it. xox

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

The guts and determination it took is what catches me. You and your husband are helping animals, some who have been mistreated , comforting them when they pass to the other side. And in the process you are educating us: about giving, care taking, animal husbandry and taking enormous 3,000 mile leaps of faith.

lishofmann said...

The image that comes to me is a seed planted ... new home, new stories, new seeds brought overland from Apifera West to Apifera East. Once there is some rooting, the next book will present itself, i have no doubt! But I also want to point out: Seinfeld was famously "A Show About Nothing." Personally, the inspiration I take away is the leaping, the trust, the doubts and still you moved forward. And now, the seeds and new roots, new adventures. Perhaps Head Troll is gathering material for the next book in her handbag? xo

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~