Ladies Home Hummel statuettes in a lit mirrored cabinet. A candy dish of hobnailed glass shaped like a Victorian woman’s boot. Tatted doilies on armrests and crocheted afghans draping sofa backs. A cuckoo clock just off the hour despite winding with those little hanging pinecone chain weights. I still see and smell the bric-a-brac of ladies’ homes, the curtain swags and fanned magazines on coffee tables and all the kitsch that pitched me into neutrals and bare surfaces for such a long time. Now somehow I buy bright hand blown glass vases I fill with flowers. I cover the couch with throw pillows, and even though I don’t host teas, I’ve come to understand my great aunt’s mismatched set of frilly filigreed cups. I used to want to travel light and lean, all clean lines and possibilities. But I found myself tethered in place and the days grew so long, my mind so burred with shards of thought that scoured spaces were no longer places of ease. So I invited color in. I painted. I hung up rugs and art. I cultivated my own clutter. I moved myself in and I felt fine, less a mess, even better than fine.
Amy Sage Webb-Baza is Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Emporia State University, where she was named Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor and directs the Donald Reichardt Center for Publishing and Literary Arts. She is managing editor for Bluestem Press and Flint Hills Review. She publishes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, and is author of Your Own Life: Kansas Stories (Woodley Press, 2012).
Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review. Harbor Review’s chapbook prize is named in her honor. She expects her next collection, The Book of Stolen Images (Meadowlark) to be out in a few months.