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this moment of june:

blue epistles from the middle

Dear Friend,


I’m telling you this story from the middle.


June: the middle of the year; threshold between beginning and end. A construction. 

It is also the month of my birthday. The month of some of my most prominent memories. The month of what would have been my anniversary with my partner. The month I decided to leave this country, and it will be the month I pack up and finally go.


June; in Iowa; June; in Wisconsin; June; in England; June; in Denmark.


Ultimately, this exhibition is a showcase of memories. 


Much like memory or grief or God, I don’t perceive the emotional landscape of the last year as linear. When I tell you how 2022 played out, I am telling you from a place much wiser, much more medicated, much more gracious. Everything I have ever learned about myself has been because of another woman’s memoir, another woman’s autofiction, another woman’s diary. What I am presenting here is the liminal, murky middle of my own. The visual and written narrative available for consumption in this exhibition is my offering to you. Nothing here is complete, but it is the coalescing of numerous branches of research that are yet unfolding.


This show’s title, as well as the phrases repeated in a loop by the performers, are from 'Mrs. Dalloway;' a novel by Virginia Woolf. In 2022, a year of bramble; stinging, nettled by that which I could not prevent, I went to Monk’s House for my birthday. Virginia Woolf’s East Sussex home was the inspiration and impetus for this exhibition; a display of leaden emotional and intellectual circles that have merged, themes that have coalesced through my lived experience. I framed my exhibition around Mrs. Dalloway, a book that follows the journey of a woman throughout a singular day in June. The story culminates in a party. The entirety of the novel has the heroine reflecting on all that she has done in her life; who she may have married, what would have happened if she had succumbed to illness, her disappointments, and her joys. The book concludes with Mrs. Dalloway summoning the will to keep living, despite having been once mortally sick and not knowing what was yet to come.


'Mrs. Dalloway' was written by Virginia Woolf after a window of great illness as she negotiated the treatment of longstanding mental illness. She wrote it at Monk’s House. The unedited, spiraling series of letters and the vignettes offered here emerged from my own illness, written desperately in my own home. This space contains pieces of furniture I have lived with, my Bibles, my hymnals, my notes, my unfinished manuscript- consisting of dozens of letters addressing several individuals who have played roles in my becoming and unbecoming. This is a less refined, less funded Monk’s House. Endowed only with my drabbles, church pamphlets, and desperation.  


By telling you my story, I am editing it; cleaning the narrative up, refining it, trying to expand upon details. When we tell our stories, our memory and the nature of our story changes. To present memory is to reconstruct. To come back to oneself is to reconstruct. To create a vignette that reveals the emotional state of the artist is, too, an act of reconstruction. 


We are who we are because of the parts of the story that we fixate upon, look at, write about, document. I am not simply compiling memories and offering tidbits of my psyche: narratives about Midwestern Danish women with strong religious fervor and mental illness; the irrevocable pain of my collapsed relationship; a fantasy about leaving this country for another. 




I aim to show you how I find that I am standing at the crux, deep in the thicket of all that has occurred; hoping for the sweet bloom of blackberries to offset the awful. Through performance tableaus and my unedited manuscript, I am offering a glimpse of what has been.


Now, as I straddle the void, bramble woven into my history, my head, my heart, and I look at the high heat of Junes to come, I recall and hold this deep and true:


I believe that I am moving forward, but there is no moving on. 

I carry it all with me. 


Forever yours,

Caitlin Mary Margarett

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