L'anthologie of Global Inestabilidad Transpuesta - A House on a Hill - America (Part 49)

Transposing emblem by Michael MacSweeny
I am from Oklahoma, the US state located smack in the middle of the country, a land of flat plains, dry yellow grass, and clear blue skies. It's a good place, full of good, solid people, a place where a child can grow up in safety and peace. And yet as a child it was a place I had always hated. I thought it was boring and dull, and I yearned to leave it behind, as far as I could go, seeking travel and adventure in strange lands and foreign cultures.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, America - City

As soon as I was old enough to leave, I did – and over the years I moved farther and farther away, moving first to Chicago, then to New York City, then to Europe, and ultimately all the way to the Middle East. Along the way I met my wife, had children, started working in offices, started eating healthy and going to bed early. Over the ensuing decade I returned to Oklahoma to visit family, and suddenly it started looking different to me. I started remembering that Oklahoma – stable, boring Oklahoma – had been a good place for a child to grow up, safe and peaceful, surrounded by good, solid people. After all the traveling and excitement, maybe a place like Oklahoma was just what my family needed.
Oklahoma, America - Downtown

And so, to the surprise of everyone who knew me, I found myself moving back to Oklahoma, living an Oklahoma life, dining in Oklahoma restaurants, sending our kids to Oklahoma schools, meeting good, solid Oklahoma people. We stayed for a year, then five – longer than we'd ever stayed in one place before. Soon Oklahoma was looking less and less like a place I had left, and more and more like a place we would stay. Oklahoma, it seemed, was to become our home.

And settling down in Oklahoma could mean only one thing: it was time to buy a house.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, America - Canal

The thought filled me with dread. It wasn't just the expense, the commitment, the fear of what could go wrong. It was the feeling that by settling down I was giving up the travel, the adventures, the new cultures and experiences, the excitement... and accepting that my future would always only ever be here, in this solid, stable, boring state. Don't get me wrong: as a father, husband, and provider, boring is good; it suits my current life, age, and needs far better than chaos and danger and excitement ever would. But I still couldn't help but feel that the dreams of my youth were being put to rest, and the thought saddened me.

That is, until I found the house on the hill.
Oklahoma, America - House

The house on the hill, I believed, was the perfect compromise, the only way I could imagine myself remaining in Oklahoma for the rest of my life, and loving every minute of it. It wasn't just that the house was beautiful, exotic, and unique. It wasn't just that the location was fantastic, that the neighborhood was safe and classy, that the landscape was breathtaking. It was that, somehow, I had finally found a house that didn't feel like Oklahoma.
Stillwater, Oklahoma, America - Fishing sculpture 

The hills that surrounded the house reminded me of Europe (everywhere else, Oklahoma is famously flat). The architecture of the house reminded me of the seaside town where I had spent summers as a child. The very design and aesthetic of the house was like nothing I had seen in Oklahoma, so full of suburban sprawls covered with identical single-story flat-earth ranch-style houses. Indeed, my family teased me, the only thing I liked about the house was that it let me dream I was somewhere else.

And yet it was a dream from which I would be rudely awakened.
Oklahoma, America - Oklahoma National Memorial

No sooner had we made our offer than the final home inspection found that the house was – quite literally – falling apart. Maybe out West you can buy a house on a hill, our inspector said; in California or Colorado they know how to build them. But here in Oklahoma, where hills are hard to come by, developers just don't have the expertise to handle the challenges of building on one – especially when that hill is full of Oklahoma sandstone and is constantly being shaken by oil company earthquakes. And though the house looked beautiful from the outside, on the inside it was a disaster: the basement wall was crumbling, the kitchen floor was collapsing, the front deck I had loved so deeply was literally sinking into the earth – and taking the front of the house with it.

In the end, I had tried so hard to buck the boring stability of Oklahoma that it had left me with nothing but, well, instability. And though we wisely cancelled our purchase of the house, that instability is with me still, all the more keenly now, as I continue growing older without a home of my own to raise my family in, while the good, solid people around me plant gardens and grow tomatoes in the yards of their stable ranch-style Oklahoma houses.
Oklahoma, America - Route 66

And yet a strange relief, and even joy, has begun to overtake me in the days that have followed. After all, our thwarted effort to lay down roots in this state has meant that, for better or worse, we are without roots, unfettered, uncommitted, free. Will we stay? Will we go somewhere else? Suddenly, anything seems possible. And that's the kind of instability I can handle – not the earth shifting under my feet, but the skies open and clear above my head.

Michael MacSweeny
The Emblem of Instability Transposed in postcard booklet at 1080

Credits

Photo 1: Oklahoma, America - Severe thunderstorms - Minerva Studio

Photo 2: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, America- City - Josue Barrios

Photo 3: Oklahoma, America- Downtown - Svetlana

Photo 4: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, America - Canal - Lance Anderson

Photo 5: Oklahoma, America - House - 33ft

Photo 6: Stillwater, Oklahoma, America - Fishing sculpture - Wolterk

Photo 7: Oklahoma, America - Oklahoma National Memorial - RamblinRod

Photo 8: Oklahoma, America - Route 66 - Peek Creative Collective
The Emblem of Instability Transposed in postcard booklet at 1080

Parts of the Emblem of Instability

Alvisi, Andrea. Political and Social Instability: The Brexit Mess. May 2017.

Bahras. Unstable Air Pollution - Unstable Solutions: Mongolia. June 2017.

Bichen, Svetlana Novoselova. Mental and Cultural Instability: Russia and Turkey. February 2017.

Borghi, Silvana Renée. Living in Inestabilidad. September 2017.

Caetano, Raphael. Instabilidade emocional: Brazil. February 2017.

Çakır, Peren. On the Road in Search of Stability: Argentina and Turkey. June 2017.

Cordido, Verónica. Instability, a Stable Reality: Venezuela and America. April 2017.

Dastan, S.A. The Stability of Instability: Turkey and Syria. March 2017.

D'Adam, Anton. Psychosocial Instability in Argentina and America: El granero del mundo and The Manifest Destiny. January 2017.

Delibasheva, Emilia. Political Instability: Electoral Coups in America and Bulgaria. December 2016.

Ellie. Angry Folk: Korea. June 2017.

Farid, Isis Kamal. Stability Is Not An Option - Egypt. August 2017.

Friedrich, Angelika. Introduction: The Emblem of Instability. September 2016.

Fondevik, Vigdis. Unstable Nature: Norway and Denmark. October 2016.

Ghadir, Younes. Political Instability - Lebanon. September 2017.

Halimi, Sophia. Modern Instabilité: Youth and Employment in France and China. March 2017.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Embracing Instability - Spain. February 2017.

Kelvin, Sera. The Stability in Expecting Emotional Instability: Brazil. April 2017.

Konbaz, Rahaf. The Castaways: On the Verge of Life - Syria. August 2017.

Korneeva, Ekaterina. Instability... or Flexibility? July 2017.

Krnceska, Sofija. Decades of Economic Instability - Macedonia. September 2017.

Larousse, Annabelle. Legal and Emotional Instability in a Transgender Life - Ireland. August 2017.

Larrosa, Mariela. The Very Stable Spanish Instability. April 2017.

Lobos, José. Political Instability: Guatemala. May 2017.

Mankevich, Tatsiana. The Absence of Linguistic Stabilнасцi: Does the Belarusian Language Have a Future? December 2016.

Meschi, Isabelle. Linguistic Instabilité and Instabilità: France and Italy. November 2016.

Mitra, Ashutosh. The Instability of Change: India. January 2016.

Moussly, Sahar. The Instability of Tyranny: Syria and the Syrian Diaspora. December 2016.

Nastou, Eliza. Psychological Αστάθεια and Inestabilidad during the Economic Crisis: Greece and Spain. December 2016.

Nevosadova, Jirina. Whatever Happens, It Is Experience. May 2017.

Partykowska, Natalia. Niestabilność and адсутнасць стабільнасці in the Arts: Polish and Belarusian Theater. January 2017.

Payan, Rodrigo Arenas. Impotence - Venezuela and Columbia. September 2017.

Persio, P.L.F. Social Instabilità and Instabiliteit: Italy and the Netherlands. November 2016.

Pranevich, Liubou. Cultural Instability: Belarus and Poland. March 2017.

Protić, Aleksandar. Demographic Instability: Serbia. July 2017.

Romano, Mavi. Unstable Identities: Ecuador and Europe. October 2016.

Sekulić, Jelena. Нестабилност/Nestabilnost in Language - Serbia. August 2017.

Sepa, Andreea. Instabilitate vs. Stabilität: How Important Are Cultural Differences? - Romania and Germany. September 2017.

Shunit. Economic Instability: Guinea and Gambia. April 2017.

Shalunova, Marina. Language Instability: Russia. June 2017

Sitorus, Rina. Instabilitas Toleransi: Indonesia. May 2017.

Skrypka, Vladyslav. National нестійкість: Ukraine. July 2017.

Staniulis, Justas. Nestabilumas of Gediminas Hill and the Threat to the Symbol of the State: Lithuania. July 2017.

Sousa, Antonia. Social and Economic Instabilidade: Portugal. January 2017.

Vuka. My Intimate Imbalanced Inclination. March 2017.

Walton, Éva. Historical and Psychological Bizonytalanság within Hungarian Culture. January 2017.

Yücel, Sabahattin. The Instability of Turkish Education and its Effect on Culture and Language: Turkey. July 2017.

Zadrożna-Nowak, Amelia. Economic Instability: Poles at Home and the Polish Diaspora. November 2016.

Zakharova, Anastasiya. Instability in Relationships: Russia. April 2017.

To follow: emblems by Romanian, Moldovan, British, Macedonian, Mexican and Philippine writers and translators.


Further reading

Azazeal, Alex. Отражение Spiegelt Reflection. 2014.

Friedrich, Angelika. The Emblem of Instability. September 2016.

Friedrich, Angelika. Sub-Under-U-метро-Bahn-Ground-Way. 2014.

Gergiev, Vladimir. Street - Straße - Улица. 2014

Metivier, Anthony. Kunstart. 2014.

Smirnov, Yuri. Art de streetулица. 2013.

Whittlesey, Henry, et al. Transposing Emblem - Junk Culture - Müll Trashed Мусор (Part I). August 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry, et al. Transposing Emblem - Junk Culture - Müll Trashed Мусор (Part II). August 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry, et al. Transposing Emblem - Junk Culture - Müll Trashed Мусор (Part III). September 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry. Forward to Next Transposing Emblem. January 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry. Changes to Transposing Emblems. November 2015.

Whittlesey, Henry. Excerpt of new emblem transpoзиция on trash. September 2015.

Whittlesey, Henry. Müll trashed мусор. 2013


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