all things past come to be again

rummaging through my mother’s house after she died, i realized that packing up a house is not about finding what’s valuable so much as remembering what you used to value, seeing where you used to live in all that used to be yours—your first book of poetry with your name written in purple ink on the inside cover, a handwritten recipe for empanadas, a picture of a gingerbread house you looked at so many times you taste the magic of imagining it being built by your own hands, and a beautiful, colorful book full of hummingbirds and plums pictured from seed to flower to fruit, a book full of wings and words and living things that you suddenly realize must have given birth to the art you now make. page after page it seems you are not looking at a memory but a document of what your subconscious has been bringing to life in your present life. and here it is, unbelievably in your hands.

this is the book:

it was one of the first books i ever owned:

written by my 4 or 5 year old self

inside, the pages show me this (such vivid memories of these pages!):

these pages seem to have planted the seeds for all of what my aesthetic is—birds and nature and words placed among them, around them, as if words too are part of the picture and not just letters to be read. incredible, isn’t it? i wonder if this is some kind of plagiarism or just a great gift of childhood imagination seeping through the pages of my adult life.

made in 2011


"sometimes we must swarm" series, february 2012

"i am remembering everything," currently showing at collector gallery in berkeley

maybe it’s life reminding me all things past come to be again. maybe there’s some comfort i need in this.

and, it seems no small coincidence this book was inspired by an arboretum in san francisco.

with special thanks to my mom. thank you for putting pictures on the walls by my crib, for slowly adding identifying names next to them, for teaching me, at three years old, to read like this. thank you for showing me words and images are just the same. i’m making a life of this, mom, and it probably all started with your finger pointing to those words and pictures you lovingly hung on my wall. what a gift. i wish i would have found this book and shown you this while you were still here. i miss you. rest in peace.





8 Responses to “all things past come to be again”
  1. denise says:

    I love how that book played out in your life, even when you didn’t realize it. Lovely!

  2. Nate says:

    What a way to get back in the swing of blogging! So cool! It is pretty incredible to have such tangible evidence of how your mom and the things you learned as a child impact your art and your self today. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Sara says:

    Oh my goodness, Silvi. This is the most magnificent thing ever – both the story itself and how you are able to capture and share this thread that weaves through all of our lives. And now you have me in complete tears in the the middle of my work day:-) Thank you, thank you for sharing this observation, story and tribute to your mama. You make all of our lives richer with it. AND I am also so delighted looking at this and realizing ohhhhhhhhhhh this is why we’re friends. We were destined to it from our mama’s actions and our childhood books when we were four. And we just got lucky enough to find each other.

  4. Silvi says:

    sara, i love how sincerely and truly you must be feeling the same “aha! wow!” i felt when i rediscovered this book. you’re right–this is precisely why we’re friends! and yes, certainly destined. i’m sooooooooo glad! love you!

  5. Silvi says:

    thanks for encouraging me to blog!

  6. Sherri says:

    Wow, you are destined to be a blogger! I have a feeling that enormous gems are going to come out of this blog site. Hooray for even more mediums to put forth goodness into the world!

  7. Laura McHugh says:

    Silvi – What a miracle that it is all in us, just waiting to seep out. Your mom sees this from heaven above. She’s still smiling.

  8. Silvi says:

    laura, thanks for making me cry: not tears of sadness, but tenderness for the truth you’ve shared. thank you.

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