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What Makes Us Stay
3 Year Anniversary xx | The Muse Letter No. 122
The first rain of May is falling on my face as I walk home, a bunch of peonies in one hand, umbrella in the other. There’s an old German belief that to dance in the first drops of May brings prosperity and beauty. I swing my umbrella to the side and do a little twirl. Four years ago, I arrived on an overnight ferry, entering the mouth of the Tyne, random people waving as we landed on the shore. Now, it’s May again. And so much has changed.
I have a very flimsy concept of time. I’ve always been like that. Years in general feel like months to me, perhaps weeks even. It is practically all the same in my head. When people say I’m still young and have time, I don’t feel that to be true. It is absolutely nebulous to me how things happen in my life, when they begin, when they end. How anything ever continues or grows. I’m not quite sure why that is.
It is only when I go through a perceived future time that I realise how long things take. I have to actually feel it. Then again, my brain is also able to condense it afterwards, into a tiny moment that I shrug off lightly. Perhaps that’s a good thing.
So when I write that this project, The Muse Letter, this weekly essay monstrum has been entering your inbox for perhaps three years now: I don’t really know what that means.
I honestly don’t.
It’s so hard for me to grasp, all the thoughts and stories I have poured into this every Sunday. Sometimes it’s been flowing, sometimes it took a lot of discipline and encouragement, sometimes I felt so lost and wondered if anyone would ever even get it: I can never tell which one will resonate the most.
I never know if I’m doing it right.
I have been turning into so many directions all my life, have moved and pivoted when it felt like space was getting sparse. It’s always been a strength of mine to turn the tables, to retreat and move on, turn traumatic shit into gold. I rarely put up a fight with anyone. I just leave. I go into hiding, change strategy and explore other places. I never stayed where I felt unwanted. Not for long at least.
Stubbornness is not a particular character trait of mine. Or perhaps not in the conventional way. I’m more of a re-builder, a shapeshifter, a vagabond, nomad, someone who is guided by a north star, principles that are strong yet interpretable in new ways as time goes by. I follow an inner voice, an inner strength that I don’t quite know where it comes from.
3 years is a long time. And sometimes I think about the end of this Muse Letter.
When will that be? What will that look like? How will I feel?
“I have left many things in my life. Hometowns, first apartments, countries, bad relationships, older versions of me, jobs, ideas, department stores, theatre performances, conversations. Leaving is what makes me thrive. My early twenties were full of me leaving places and faces.” I wrote in my first book of essays, 3 years ago.
I ended many things, too.
But for the first time in my life perhaps, I do not feel this urge at all.
Perhaps because for the first time, I have built something, too big, too grand, too real, to just start all over again.
This community started with a few hundred, a small group of people holding each other up through the lockdown; we’d meet online on Sundays once a month in the Muse Salon, then it grew and grew, I wrote two books of essays, which parts of were written here in glimpses first, fostered by the encouragement of you, my lovely, wonderful readers, who have shared my work, my thoughts, who want to see this thrive, without your support, this would be nothing, I’d have ended it long ago.
I am so grateful to you, for sharing your Sunday morning with me.
Here’s to many more in the future!
Here’s to you x
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"Things I Have Loved" the second book of the poetic memoir trilogy
If "Things I Have Noticed" was about growing up and finding yourself "Things I Have Loved" is about the things that were gained/missed/lost along the way.
Told through objects Hembeck has loved, she is weaving a narrative that examines the themes of love, longing and self-worth.
By diving deep into memories of her own life, pop-culture and (lost) objects she is getting to the core of how we love and why.
Fancy decorating your room for spring?
I just released six riso art prints in my shop. Have a look!