Chair

by Miden Wood

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Transcript

I’ve been thinking a lot about—and I promise there is a point to this, so bear with me—I’ve been thinking a lot about a town where everything is made out of snow. You know, the people who live there, they make everything themselves. They have spatulas and bed sheets and lamps and misc. made out of snow, and everyone in that town has this really clear sense that it’s not gonna last. You know, come spring, they— their books will be gone so they have to read them really fast if they want to know the ending. And I imagine that, like, someone passing through this town would be like, “What do you like about this place?” And they’d say, “Well, all you need is snow and time and you can make anything you want.” And then the person passing through might be like, “Okay, um, but doesn’t it all melt come spring?” And the people who live in that town would say, “Oh yes, and what a relief.” 

A few months ago, I had to get rid of almost everything I own. The reasons are frankly mold-related and I’m so tired of saying the word mold so I won’t get into it here, but I was allowed to keep metal and plastic and clay, and I had to get rid of paper and fabric and wood. My friend, Will, on the phone, said he could hear the ways that I was trying to protect people from how hard it was. My mom had emailed to remind me to bring a specific jacket for Thanksgiving (because it will be colder than it is in LA), and I’d gone online and bought the cheapest, nearest-identical one I could find, hoping she wouldn’t notice. There was a period where I had two outfits and one of them was my Halloween costume. 

It felt, before letting it all go, like I had moved to that town of snow right at the end of March, you know? (The location’s amazing but the climate—!) But the longer I live without those things, the more it feels like we’re always living in that town, we just don’t always see it. All the time advertising and buying and selling these so-called Permanent Snow Forts. Snow is so joyful to make things with partly because it goes away. We just get this one chance to run outside and make ourselves red in the face packing bricks together and rolling up massive snowballs, and I guess what strikes me about that is that none of it lasts, but lasting is not the point. 

This is also related, but it’ll—it’ll take a minute for me to get there. This year my ovary also grew a teratoma, which is one of those benign tumors where your germ cells that can become anything get really ambitious and they start turning into different types of cells like teeth or hair. And something about that, too, felt like snow? Like a snowball had tumbled down a hill and, like, on the way had rolled up cartilage and neuroglial tissue and a little combover and finally come to a stop in my pelvis. A friend of mine said, Of course you’d be the person to grow a little cartoon character inside you, and I said, I’m creative. :) In a small surgery in July, they took out the snowball, and yes they took pictures and no I did not name it. And thinking about it now, I guess that’s just another way in which I’d accumulated too many things. 

The very last of the things I had to give away was a medium-sittable chair that I’d hand-made out of bamboo that was growing on the street of my childhood home. I walked it to a vintage furniture store, to leave it outside with a note, feeling like I was leaving a baby at a fire station. And when I turned and walked away, I expected to feel this despair. But instead the feeling that I had was just very distinctly that the chair had never been mine; that the bamboo I had cut down to make it had been borrowed; that letting it go didn’t negate that time that I’d gotten to spend whittling next to my parents. And that, in choosing to do this one hard thing for my body, I was choosing the chance to make many more chairs that would not only be possible to sit in, but sitting-encouraged! And as I turned the corner and walked away, I felt that it was spring; and what a relief. 

Miden Wood

Miden Wood is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles. She has just changed her mind about Brazil nuts, and currently finds them delicious—proving that we all are capable of even those changes we never thought possible.