Building Joy Into My Home
Surrounding Myself With Little Pieces of Happiness
My home is my sanctuary. It is a place where I dream, compose, and find stillness. Somewhere deep in the woods of Middle Tennessee, I have carved out a small corner for myself in which I am surrounded by objects that bring me joy.
Today on WPR, I give you some glimpses into what that looks like.
A couple of years ago, I upgraded my keyboard from the one I have been playing for almost 19 years. This new Yamaha keyboard was a much-needed step up for me, and it has all the tinkling bells and whimsical whistles that I could possibly want in a portable piano. I play on it every day, and it makes me so happy.
For as long as I can remember being alive, I have always lived among houseplants. My mom always had at least 20 to 30 houseplants around our house growing up. It was simply our way of life. My home now has literally countless houseplants, and the splash of color and richness they bring always remind me of my childhood and my mom. (Perhaps it is no accident that my partner is a plant lover too.)
I am genuinely curious about creativity in all its forms. I wander into visual and musical realms quite randomly and often. I always have drawing supplies nearby. My camera is perennially charged and ready for photos or filming. Filling in the colors of my choosing for coloring books is super fun. I also love working with textiles through knitting and needlepoint.
I keep a modest collection of books that inspire me. Most of them are art books and books for children. Pictured here are some of my favorites in my collection:
The Complete Paintings of Egon Schiele (Extra Large Edition, Hardbound)
Endara Crow’s Blue Book
A quirky children’s book by Umberto Eco and Eugenio Carmi called The Bomb and the General
The World of Henri Rousseau (His art is my newest obsession.)
I am the proud owner of a small, low-budget art collection. The majority of my acquisitions have been found in thrift stores and antique shops. The most I have spent on an art piece is $200, but that was a must-have for an artist who I love and know personally. Everything else cost me a lot less.
Pictured below is a large print of an album cover (for the band Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) I found at a place in Nashville called The Great Escape for $25. I lean heavily toward anything that is whimsical. I knew instantly that I wanted it when I saw it.
Yellow is my favorite color. It is the color of light, gold, and sunshine. (What is there not to love?) When I came across this delightful framed print at a Goodwill in Murfreesboro, TN, there was no question that it would be mine.
I hold an enormous appreciation for Japanese art, food, gardens, and culture. I found this print at a museum shop in Indianapolis. It was originally a woodblock print by the artist Kawasi Hasui, and it embodies so much about what I love in a Japanese aesthetic. (Hasui’s work literally blows my mind and melts my face.)
Most of what I own are prints, but I do have some original pieces. One of my prized possessions is this portrait of a bird by Hereaclitus Here Vernon who is an artist based out of Evanston, IL. It was part of an exhibition they mounted during the pandemic, and I was so happy that no one else bought it.
My home is where I cultivate inspiration and joy and where I feel at ease and grounded with my partner (and my cat). Where I live is an extension of who I am. Some people may not like what I like, and thank goodness for that. I was not put on this Earth to impress everyone.
For the small amount of time that my life will last, amassing little bits of my own version of happiness feels like a fun, worthwhile, and meaningful pursuit.
My joy is rooted in my home, and its branches and blooms grow fully from there.
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