21 July 2009

Homeward Bound

On 7 July, I learned my job as director of communications had been excised as of that day. I had an inverse reaction to this sudden surgery, not unlike what so often happens in a shiva house, the bereaved comforting those who come to offer comfort. How could I not? - the person bearing the blade was the one I'd followed to EBDI for the most satisfying job I ever had outside of my own enterprises.

I worried how we'd communicate to our residents minus the newsletter. Not well, I was told, his continued clinical delivery a cover-up, not an incapability, to care - about me and about the void-to-be. Less is not more when the most is sometimes not enough for those caught up against their will in the re-imagination of the part of the world they happen to call home.

I traveled light, relative to my professional and emotional investment, needing to gather not much more than a 1954 Jacob Glushakow pen and ink portrait of a collapsed rowhouse at Monument and Bond streets (black on white, yet somehow full of colour); a circa 1880s coffin top for a New Home sewing machine, the company's name still big and bold in Eastlake lettering across the front; and the RE-INVENT YOURSELF tank top found in a thrift store an hour after learning the EBDI job was mine. The shirt sports the number 8 - a mobius, an endless ribbon, a mark of infinity; I pondered the symbolism as I hung it in my sewing room above a pile of unfinished patchwork, strangely thrilled to have been pushed off a cliff, grateful for the enormous opportunity at my feet, and oddly relieved that nothing less than the full complement of my creative resources would be required to conjure and fuel a new adventure, one ideally based from home.

EBDI's relocated residents were also pushed, but with apparatus not only to cushion the blow, but at their option, to go home again, too. On my last full day at EBDI, I had the pleasure and that aforementioned satisfaction of photographing a mother and child do just that.

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