Friday, November 5, 2010

David Steven's inside space paper

When I was trying to think of an inside-space for my essay, I thought of somewhere that cultivates intimacy and attachment. I thought of using a space in Columbia, but none of the places I have lived or spent time in have a big emotional attachment because of the lack of time that I have spent in those places. Then, when I started thinking about home, I realized most of my memories do not come from there, but from my friend Kyle’s house, and more specifically basement. While it’s not my home, it’s as close as one could get without living there. Countless nights have been spent there with my best friends, watching movies, listening to music, talking, playing games or doing absolutely nothing. When I think of my hometown, Florissant, my mind goes straight to his basement, and the fun that will undoubtedly be happening there when I return. The excitement I get whenever I think about his basement is the reason I chose it as my space. My memories of home are most often with all of my friends in Kyle’s basement, and one of the things I look forward to most.

I chose Kyle’s basement because of the memories that I have of it. His basement has always had the most fun or happy memories for me and memories are a huge factor in what I consider to be a space or place, and what place I chose for this paper. Not that I don’t have good memories of home, I have tons of them, but Kyle’s basement brings memories of the best group of friends that I have ever had, and the most fun I have ever had.

Thinking of Kyle’s basement brings back the memories of playing Risk or Monopoly for all hours of the night, playing ping pong, at least when his mom’s Christmas decorations aren’t cluttered on top, which they are year-round now, and just being with my best friends. As Bachelard says in his writing, home always conjures memories and dreams that are poetic, and that has always been the case for Kyle’s basement. Dates and specific times have never been important when thinking of these nights, and in some cases, separate nights from different months or even years, sometimes combine into one memory, and it’s hard to differentiate from nights that I’ve combined in my memory and the actual night in question, and in that sense, I think it’s very poetic. The memories are jumbled in a way, with no specific beginning or end.

Bachelard also mentioned in “Poetics in Space” that trying to describe the memories or dreams that you have of the particular space you’re trying to describe, it puts limits on the memory itself, and I find that to be especially true here. I can describe the exact layout of Kyle’s basement, going down his stairs to see his drums, bass, guitar and piano and to the left of that his giant couch and TV, with his even bigger movie collection. I have a memory attached to each of those, from watching the Mizzou Tigers play and ultimately lose to the Memphis Tigers in the 2009 Sweet 16 NCAA basketball tournament, the countless number of movies seen there, or the times he tried to teach me to play drums, that all ended up failing. I have all of these memories, but trying to describe them puts limits on them that don’t make them seem nearly as important as they are.

Kyle’s basement means many different things to different people. I believe that our group of friends and Kyle himself may be the only people that see this space as a place. His mom uses it as storage and a place to do laundry, and his dad only seems to use it to take their dog outside. Kyle lives down there and it is really seen as his “wing” of the house. The rest of our group of friends uses it as a hangout place quite often, and I think that we all have the emotional attachment to it. Whenever all of us are home for a period of time, we make sure to go over to Kyle’s because it does not seem official or right unless we are over there. As his family has found out recently, the basement had an interesting meaning to them as well. The house is supposedly haunted, and the family that owned the house before hand had much of the encounters in the basement, and they never went down there. So to them is was a place that they rarely ever went to, and when they did, it was for an extremely short period of time. It all depends on the perspective and experiences you have with a place or space, and with this particular space, mine has been a great one, which is probably why my attachment to it is so strong.

I don’t believe that any one part of the basement makes it a space or a place, it’s the sentimental and emotional values that we have to the objects in his basement. It’s a very open space, with lots of room and it’s an inviting space, which may lend itself more towards being a place. It doesn’t have any features that makes people want to get in and get out. The fireplace, television and the couch are also a big factor in making it a place, but even with all of those things, his parents primarily use it as a place. It is the time that we have all spent down there and the bond we have made with these objects over the years that have made it a place.

Kyle will be moving out of his parents house shortly, and with that he will take away the space that for years, we have used as a backup plan for most nights when we could not think of anything else to do and days spent celebrating New Year’s Eve, Fourth of July, or just celebrating. Our friendships have grown stronger and longer in that basement and even as Kyle moves away, and our chances of using that basement much longer are slim, the memories and friendships that have been fortified in his basement will carry on in my memory for a long time.

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