Mia_1Mia_1

 

 

Mia

 

Mia, where were you born?

Well, I was born in Chicago Illinois. In a hospital called St. Joseph which is in Lincoln Park. At that time the 1978 Lincoln Park was kind of ghetto I think, I’m not certain. My parents were eighteen and seventeen at the time. So, they were pretty doomed. But they managed to somehow, stay together for 20 years. 

Chicago is a pretty magical city for two reasons: It’s big, but it’s also small. Chicago is the only city is the only city I’ve ever visited that feels like a small town as people just talk to you, randomly. You can talk to strangers, and you can get along with strangers, and it is easy to meet people where in other cities I find it really hard. It really feels like a community.

When you talk about birth, I was born in Chicago but I grew up for the most part northwest Indiana on the lake, on Lake Michigan. It was mostly a farm town and horses, thats where I grew up. But I would definitely say that in 1998 I…no in 1996 when I moved back to Chicago as a teenager and kind of had a rebirth because I was coming from this place that was very rural, very white, middle class, and farmers. To now, this big city which was only an hour and a half away so it was fairly accessible to be there, but it was super foreign.

 

"...I grew into my adult self, or some resemblance of my pre-adult self in Chicago..."

 

I went to college at Columbia which is a film school, I studied journalism and sports media. I really kind of woke up at that time. I was always this curios person. And active, and outdoorsy. I probably didn't sleep a wink the whole time I was at university because there was so much stimulus in Chicago. 

I spent my childhood in northwest Indiana on this ranch. But I grew into my adult self, or some resemblance of my pre-adult self in Chicago. Going to shows... I mean I would say I would go see live music probably 50 percent of the time that I spent free time. The other 50 percent was probably spent galavanting around town. There was a time in Wicker Park, which is now the most expensive place in Chicago of course, like any other artist neighborhood. Soho, it turns into basically a rich person mecca. 

In the early 2000’s when the dinosaurs roamed the earth you could walk down the park, down Milwaukee Avenue and run into so many people you knew. It was almost the same sensation you get when you walk down the hallways of your high school. You high-five people and you say “what's up Charles! What's up this person!”. You can walk down Milwaukee Avenue past the book stores, past the vintage shops, and you could just run into a lot of people you knew. You knew who the shop owners were, actually Reckless Records, this mug, my favorite record shop is there on Milwaukee Avenue. It was a magical time for me. To feel known part of a community, an artist community. Going out, but I don't know. It was completely pointless. You were getting drunk all the time and going to see shows and going to see punk shows in the back of taco stands and staying out until the sun comes up and it was completely pointless. But you were growing. Everyone was growing. 

 

 

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"... I don't think of my home in terms of words. I think of my home in images and emotions..."

 

You mention these two places, but where would you say “you're from”?

I would say I’m from the midwest. Because the midwest has this common denominator of personality and that is firmly two feet firmly on the ground. 
If I say I’m from Chicago it’s not entirely true. Because there’s so much about the country that is still a part of me. I mean, look how often I wear cowboy boots to work. I am making dream catchers for our wedding.

 

 

How do you identify yourself with the midwest, how is that a part of you?

Well. Thats a good question. When I think about midwestern people I don't exactly have the words but images of families, gelatinous desserts, fried chicken, sparklers, blue sky, green grass for as along as the eye can see. I mean thats really what I think of when I think of home. I don't think of my home in terms of words. I think of my home in images and emotions. You know I dated this person around 2002 who said to me: “You spend an inordinate amount of time talking about your childhood!” . And I was like “what?!”.
 

"...I hardly think of my childhood anymore. I think identity, and home, and the idea of home is kind of this thing that is in constant evolution..."


I don’t think I ever really realized. At that point I was kind of in between this child state, and child-like adult stage and I was trying to be an adult. But I was still identifying myself with my childhood. I think that was the root of me telling these stories. Now, when I’m 35, about to be 36 in a week, I think that I identify myself more with my twenties because that’s how I grew into myself in my 30’s. I hardly think of my childhood anymore. I think identity, and home, and the idea of home is kind of this thing that is in constant evolution. I don't really think that there’s one place that anybody can say it’s home unless you're the type of person that has never gone anywhere. I mean, you talk about birthplace. But I don't think of birth in the terms of the moment when I entered the world in St. Joseph Hospital. I think of birthplace as times of how my mind awaken to things. Do you know what I mean?

So, I call many places home. But what they really are, are places in my heart and in my memory. 
I’ve been to my old home. There was a time in my twenties where my parents split up... when I was 21. I was already out of the house so it didn't seem that… it didn't have a lot of gravity that they split. It was actually something that was kind of  expected and I was kind of  a quasi-adult and I was living alone. But three years later I found myself without a place to go to when I was in pain. And thats kind of something you don’t realize that you miss. If you cant go home to the place where you last knew yourself in these moments of feeling lost or not really knowing where to go. You're in a breakup, you're stressed out from school, the place that you go to is…home. And when that home is gone, because your parents split, there’s nowhere to go. You feel a little bit like a lose hair, or a ballon that just been floating and lost from this party. 

 

 

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"...So even in the moment when I tried to find my birthplace, or my home that I knew as a child, it was almost shut out. It was a very unwelcoming experience. I think that was the moment where I realized that home was the people. That's…my mom, my dad, my brother..."

 

Knowing that, how do you relate to home now?

People. I think home is where people are that I love. Home is where my kids are. Where my family is. Where my mom is. But I think to some degree there’s a home that you will never get back again. That birthplace home. It’s only going to be in your heart and your head. It’s never going to be that place where you were. Because that time in my twenties that I described, I drove an hour and a half to just be on the property where I grew up. It has a wall of…a big fence around it. It never did... it was seven acres of land and horse pasture. I got there and it was completely walled off. Fences all around, electric fences, a big gate from the soap opera “Dallas” in the front drive way. It felt completely inaccessible. So even in the moment when I tried to find my birthplace, or my home that I knew as a child, it was almost shut out. It was a very unwelcoming experience. I think that was the moment where I realized that home was the people. That's…my mom, my dad, my brother. 

 

If you miss home today, what do you do?

I call my brother. I think he’s the one that I can…I can communicate with my brother in a way where it feels like home because he doesn't have any expectations of me like my parents would. I mean my parents have moved on. My mom has a new boyfriend, my father has had two wives after my mom. He has other kids, he has one twelve year old, one two year old, with another on the way. Every time I reach out to my dad it’s kind of like, reaching out for a ghost. He’s not really the person that he was when he was my dad growing up. He’s actually more of a, this tired, stressed out vestige of himself. Or what I knew of him. But I reach out to my brother because we feel on the same plain. Like, I feel something and he feels the exact same way.
 

"...That feeling of being scared. Like, frightened scared. We always say: 'Were you scared like run-from-the-barn-scared?'..."
 

We talk about a lot of when we’re scared. That feeling of being scared. Like, frightened scared. We always say: “Were you scared like run-from-the-barn-scared?”.
That means, when we were kids we used to have to mock out the stalls. So we’re out there until seven or eight o’clock at night with a pitchfork picking up horse poop and shaking it out of the hay. Putting it into a wheelbarrow and taking that wheelbarrow around the barn and dumping into a dung pile. That was our job when we were twelve and on. We would be out in the barn for hours I would say. The sun would go down, but we wouldn't realize it because we’ve been out there working on our chores that we would get ten dollars for. For several hours of work. We’d realize that it’s completely dark and the house is almost half a mile away and we’d have to basically run through the field back home because we were so petrified. It wasn't like cougars would come out and jump and tackle us or anything but when you're a kid and you're afraid of the dark. It’s completely dark, there’s no light. Just stars. You’d think "that’s beautiful". But when you're twelve you're petrified. We used to literally stand with one foot out of the barn "like this", with one hand on the light "like this": “GO, GO!” We would run at each other. We would fucking go fast as lightning just to get back to the house. 

That’s the kind of thing that me and my brother. We understand each other, because we spent so much time alone together. We were latchkey kids.

 

 

 

 

Looking back, is there anything you would have changed to make the sense of home better?

I think my knee jerk reaction is to say “yes”. But, I don’t think I would be who I am…(Olive comes into the room). I mean I wouldn't really change anything. Why would you? Going through all of that is the reason I am who I am now. I fucked up. I made lots of mistakes. I wouldn't take any of them back. 

And look at her. I mean. The worst possible thing that ever happened to me in my life, she was a product of. You know what I mean?

Olive…Olive! Hey baby… can you do a pose? Booger nose, you've got a booger nose!

Can I see my pictures? Thanks…

Hey Olive can you give Robin your nasty face? Your mean mean face? Nasty scrounge face! Now do sad eyes and smiley mouth? I swear, she’s just a little actress. Can I see your sad, sad, sad face?

 

 

 

 

I'm foolish and I'm funny and I'm needy. Am I needy? Are you sure I'm not needy? 'Cause I feel needy sometimes. That coat costs more than your house! Look, you are playing adults…with fully formed libidos, not 2 young men playing grab-ass in the shower. You go buy a tape recorder and record yourself for a whole day. I think you'll be surprised at some of your phrasing. Friend of mine from college. He also has a boat tho not called the Seaward.

I'm foolish and I'm funny and I'm needy. Am I needy? Are you sure I'm not needy? 'Cause I feel needy sometimes. That coat costs more than your house! Look, you are playing adults…with fully formed libidos, not 2 young men playing grab-ass in the shower. You go buy a tape recorder and record yourself for a whole day. I think you'll be surprised at some of your phrasing. Friend of mine from college. He also has a boat tho not called the Seaward.