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  • Writer's pictureSusan Q Brown

Opening Up in the Shutting Down

Pandemic sheltering in place at first was weird but ok. That was March. Airbnb shut down so no rental income. Art shows shut down so no art sales. April, May, June, same same same. Then a booking in July, and Aaron's collector called, but things are still pretty much shut down. And what has especially shut down is the part of me that just wasn't working "for me" anymore. At all. When things got really quiet I started listening to the cracks in my thinking. I opened up to the voice, which had been tugging at me for so many years it was beckoning from the inside of my skin - sweating out the familiar "me sound" living there in the rivers of my veins and every animated cell... finally finally finally getting my attention to inhabit me again, whatever that might mean. It feels like I had been on a frantic lampoon vacation - for years - and when the travel engine shut down, there I was. Am. Are. Is. Opened up. Opening up in the shutting down. So what will that look like for me, now? I have ideas, and I will paint and hang my paintings, tucked into the fields and forests at Nectar farm, documenting how the elements collaborate with them, changing them over time. Because in making paintings and hanging them in the woods and fields here in NH, lacking a collector base, enjoying little support or artistic fellowship during this shutting down, I will open up and relieve "place-pain." The pain of loving a place is real, the near umbilical attachment to a place, as Sally Mann describes it in her memoir, "Stand Still," and this is what I have been suffering from - the longed-for landscape, which communicates to the human heart, “the echo of an echo… the memory of a memory past.” Distance pain, she calls it. Maybe opening up to it closes the gap between inside and outside. I am excited to know what my longed for landscape communicates to me. I am so fucking excited!

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