From the Editor: Home & Garden

I live in an old shoe factory. 

Just above me, there’s a billboard supported by enormous steel beams and joists that creates its own complicated architecture from street level, when I’m taking my dogs out and happen to look up. 

The walls of my loft are brick, the floor cement. There are a lot of windows—I am encased in windows—but the lighting is complex; the sun reflects from many different surfaces in downtown Saint Paul. It is not cozy. But it’s cool, cosmopolitan, a great space for entertaining—something I haven’t had the opportunity to do in a long time.

I live with two dogs, as I’ve mentioned—Gizmo, a four-pound blonde Chihuahua, and Barney, a 12-pound blonde Chiweenie (the latter being a portmanteau of Chihuahua and, I guess, weenie, or weiner dog). Gizmo prefers the company of humans to animals, although he seems to favor cats. He has some fight in him, and has lost terrifying and extremely brief altercations with larger dogs, one being a Rottweiler. I purchased Gizmo in another life, over 10 years ago, from a “breeder” on the Ojibwa Reservation who lived in an abysmal doublewide outside of town. Barney I got from a shelter in east L.A.—he’d been found in a box in an alley, and his tail had been crudely docked. Barney is the more temperamental of the two, and will bark—loudly—at anyone who tries to talk to me. 

I have lived all over the place, and have visited nearly every type of American home you can imagine. The Upper Peninsula still feels like home—not my childhood house, which never really felt that welcoming, but rather like a vessel for fear and sadness, really, which seemed to haunt the place and swim through its halls like ghosts. 

Rather, Lake Superior feels like home, and I get a romantic pang whenever I’m close enough to see it. This is not unique, but a fellow feeling shared by many folks who grew up on the water. Home, after all, is where the heart is. 

I spent most of my life on the Reservation. Apart from that, I have lived in Scotland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Montana, Portland, Minneapolis, and now Saint Paul. I always visualized a house and a family, putting down roots, but I have, as they say, gathered no moss. I think I’d like to. 

Anyway, this is the Home & Garden Issue. Your home is an expression of yourself. Look around: What does your home say about you? 

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