weeding

July 21st, 2006 | The Artistic Condition, Travels and Appearances

fun home

On Monday I drove nine hours to Pennsylvania. On Tuesday I met a reporter who’s doing a story about Fun Home and wanted to see the actual house I grew up in, and that my father so painstakingly restored. The place is for sale. It was very odd being there because in many ways, it’s just the same as it was when my mom sold it over twenty years ago. The trees and shrubs and flowers are badly in need of pruning, though. They’re threatening to swallow the place up.

Just like, upon my return to Vermont, my sadly neglected email and lawn are threatening to swallow me up. I have so many things to do, I can’t seem to begin any of them.
my emailmy lawn

29 Responses to “weeding”

  1. kate says:

    It does suck, sometimes, being so overcommitted. And running your own small empire. Sometimes you just feel as if no matter how many hours you work a day, it will never all get done. The important thing to realize is that nope, it won’t. Ever. Get done. Once you embrace that, that life will never be simple, never calm down, never be easy, the easy times can be really enjoyed for the breaks that they are, and the endless pile of crap to do takes on another perspective. I try to remember that since it will all never go away, taking an hour a day or so to just be good to myself is really…. all right.

    Also I try to remember that all of the hard work is really enabling me to live outside of society, and not have to report to work for someone else. So at that, it’s really worth it.

    Lawn care and housecleaning can be farmed out very effectively for small amounts of cash and almost no intrusion. An autoresponder on your email works wonders, so people KNOW that they aren’t going to hear from you unless it’s an emergency, but that you love them anyway and know that they make your whole existence possible.

    My personal mascot is the Dung Beetle.

  2. Suzanonymous says:

    Today: pull one weed, read one email, and answer one email (or toss one). Eventually it will all get done. 🙂 😀

    NINE hour drive! My god(dess)! Take care.

  3. Deb says:

    Is there any movement to restore the home? Any movement to purchase the home? Wouldn’t it be so cool to have the house purchased by a group of enlightened women who could take good care of it and keep it for lesbian posterity sake or something like that? For some reason, I would hate to see total strangers in there changing everything and ruining the energy there. Am I being stupid or does anyone feel the same way I do?

  4. JJ says:

    If there are many unhappy memories, maybe it is better to let it go.

  5. --MC says:

    What Suzan said. Only do one of each today, two of each tomorrow, and so on. Pretty soon it’ll be like that kid who picked up the calf and carried it around the barn every day! Yes! In a month he had a hernia!

  6. Carmen Sandiego says:

    Sorry Deb. You are on your own. But you should visit The Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn, New York…you would like it….if you haven’t already been.

  7. Kari says:

    It must have been hard to go back. The house looks beautiful, and exactly like you drew it.

  8. Aunt Soozie says:

    Oh Alison!
    You look so forlorn!
    If I didn’t just start a new job I’d fly up there and help
    you answer your email and make veggie chicken soup and k’nadelach (matzoballs) for you and Amy.

    I don’t know about the weeding tho…it looks like there could be some bugs out there in that tall stuff. (yucky)

    The thing to do is just say that your entire yard is “naturalized”…then you don’t have to ever weed anything, that’s what I do.

    My girl, I went to visit her this past weekend, has ivy that grows into the walkway that leads up to her front door, so, rather than clipping it back, she just makes sure to tread on it each time she walks by.

    I had to laugh at her, alot. She says it discourages the ivy from growing there. So, you could try putting on your butchest boots and you could tromp and stomp around out there. That should put you in the mood to answer email… and tromp to some good music…and with some good friends.

    thinking of you dear alison,
    aunt soozie

  9. Deb says:

    LOL…as for me, if I had the money, I would buy the house and fix it up….put new, alive energy into it and make it home.

  10. Tera says:

    relax! give yourself a break. you work so hard. you deserve a little rest. the emails and weeding can wait.

  11. Ellen Orleans says:

    My Oberlin college roommate and long time friend passed on this “morning affirmation”* to help me deal with my unending to-do list:

    “I have all the time I need to do the truly important things.”

    For me, here at 45 yearsold, it’s all about making choices–some hard, some obvious–about what is truly important and how to use my time.

    *Yeah, I know, affirmations are so Sparrow-ish. (Or at least, the pre-baby Sparrow.) But it beats waking up in the middle of the night, freaked out about everything I should do, haven’t done, and really ought to get around to.

  12. meg says:

    yup, know how it feels. There’s so much to do that it’s hard to start on anything, it’s simply too overwhelming… the house, the work, the social and family obligations, the laundry!, the all. Can’t I just stay in bed with a good book?

    and I’m not even famous! *s*

    deep breath and on to getting *one* thing done in the day.

  13. Duffi says:

    I’m with Suzan and Ellen. You have the time you need to get *one* thing done. One thing. and REST. This is the fruit of seven years labor, darlin’! Relax, enjoy! Let the weeds take care of themselves. Breathe, eat, sleep, and answer *one* email.

  14. Ellen says:

    Small Dog Electronics–yes!
    (See mouse pad).
    They send a small dog with every order.

  15. karin says:

    It looks smaller, less grand, in the photo than in the book. The ceilings must have been high, as the book’s illustrations depicted.

    It would be a cool lesbian B&B, as someone mentioned above. Of course a Fun Home doll house, another marketing idea, would be sort of nifty, too.

    Imagine if it someday would appear on the national register of historic places – picture this on a plaque: girlhood home of american cartoonist, Alison Bechdel.

  16. Deb says:

    Now THAT was what I was thinking. A lesbian B & B. A gathering place for women……hold workshops there on all sorts of women’s issues…..serve only locally grow, organic meals……it would be not only a healing place to stay but ppl. could learn and grow within our culture as well. A new renaissance so to speak for lesbians…..and a focal point for the “right to marry” issue. Hell, we could hold marriages there……anyway., that was the whole idea I had as well but didn’t know how to say it without making it sound like a capitalistic violation of our dear Alison. No way. I would want it to be a very classy, hip and progressive place for our community to gather to heal, grow and play.

  17. Deb says:

    You know, if that was something we could do……I would be all for putting something like that together…I have put enough agencies together in the past……….hmmmmmmmm!!!

  18. Ann says:

    Thank you so much for posting a picture of the house. I’ve wondered what it looks like today. I have recurring dreams that take place in my childhood home. Do you dream about the house a lot?

  19. Aunt Soozie says:

    Now, how can I resist commenting on the Fun Home doll house? (you people are whack!) but, what a marketing bonanza. I love that idea. I can see Alison’s sketches for it now…with a set of plastic family members and the babysitter/yardboys, maybe they could come with seasonal clothing changes…

    …with doors that really open and the extra back seat that goes up and down there would have to be the Country Squire Station Wagon with the fake wood side panels…(yeah, they were decals, my family had that car, too)

    there could be mini art glass lamps and vases, teeny little books for the library shelves, a miniature can of pledge and a dust rag…

    then, for separate purchase, you could add the actual funeral home dollhouse… replete with set of little coffins… and folding chairs… plastic flower arrangements… and the grandma doll?

    how about an Alison doll that grows like that sick doll that was around when we were kids? Did anyone have that doll? You turned her arms around and she got taller and grew boobies? Puberty right before your very eyes, yes, nothing was too tacky for Mattel!

    I’m not sure about a sanctuary for gay and lesbian weddings. Did you read Alison’s cartoon about her wedding angst? It’s a political conundrum for some of us…to I do or not to I do, that’s one of the questions.

    Anyway, stop luring me back in here you Sirens!
    this enticing talk of doll houses,
    y’all must sense how I adored my Barbies and their sordid homocentric adventures…

    Oh my!
    naughty, naughty…all of you.

    Aunt Soozie

  20. ES says:

    Fun Home as pilgrimage? It does sound as though the view of the ridge is still scenic. I was so sad when a lesbian b&b way out that general direction, and about as far as NYC, went under. But Beech Creek is nearer to a through route… I imagine, in early/mid August at least, the place could do good business as a stop en route between the East Coast and Michigan festival. Wonder if it’s suitable for house concerts?

  21. Deb says:

    *Invision a dark cloud hovering over my head*

    Now Aunt Soozie! Do you honestly believe that the idea was to turn the home into a gawdy, commercial, capitalistic, tacky, neon-signed spectacle? For gawds sake! I was referring to something that had a hell of a lot of class……not some piece of pseudo-americana trash that would sell bumper stickers to all the tourists who drive by wanting to see all the cutsie lesbian girls……..damn. Whack? I beg your pardon?! I don’t know about you, but there have been times I have looked high and fucking low to find a gay-friendly place to hold a workshop or board meeting or a simple potluck. I resent your implication of marketing Alison, her home and those memories therein as some sort of side show.

    And as for the marriage piece……I am all for equal opportunity. If someone wants to marry, then they should be able to do so…..if not, like my partner and I, then you can do something else that is binding and meaningful you can choose to share with the community…..or not.

    Damn! Do you really believe that I would advocate for the sell-out of Alison and her entire life? Damn!!!!!!!!!

  22. Carmen Sandiego says:

    Deb. Take a deep breath.

  23. Deb says:

    *sigh*

  24. Cara says:

    Deep breaths. I admire all you’ve taken on. I am lucky to remember scooping the cat box. I would send you a cheery email, but that’s not really helpful, is it?

  25. mlk says:

    I fervently hope Aunt Soozie’s marketing idea was tongue in cheek! as I was reading through it, I was getting slightly nauseated and thinking that this is exactly how marketing ideas are spun. you start with a concept — one that may have merit or may just be silly — and run with it, developing as many products related to that concept as possible. a starting point as elaborate and detailed as the Fun Home can be spun in multiple directions. no wonder Aunt Soozie was able to come up with some many ideas in a simple blog post!

    Alison, Kate’s very practical suggestion about an autoresponder may allow you to ease back into day-to-day life. you can certainly come up with a response for your admirers that’s honest and witty . . . at the same time it may create enough breathing room for you to determine which messages warrant a more personal response.

    seems you admitted well before you started traveling the Fun Home circuit that you’re a guilt ridden non-correspondent. why not be true to yourself?? 🙂

  26. Deb says:

    I am sure that Aunt Soozie’s marketing ideas were way tongue-in-cheek. If anything like marketing of those ideas would come about……we can all meet for picketing and boycott rallies!

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