A Greater Boston native, I'm a professional dancer and award-winning interdisciplinary artist with talents in choreography, filmmaking, art, and graphic design. I'm co-founder and artistic director of Luminarium Dance Company (Boston, MA), art director of Art New England magazine, senior contributor for The Arts Fuse, and am the Boston area dance critic for the international Fjord Review. I recently completed a one-year term as co-chair of the Arlington Cultural Council, and am regularly hired as an arts advocate to speak at events ranging from legislative assemblies at the State House to entrepreneurial panels for students at Mount Holyoke College. This blog serves as a behind-the-scenes peek into the life and journal of an interdisciplinary artist. Learn more at merliguerra.com or luminariumdance.org, and thank you for reading my thoughts on setting the visual and performing arts into motion.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Marbles on a quiet floor

One week ago, I attended the funeral of a very dear friend. It was the second death close to home this year, and as synchronicity will have it, it was the death of the first (a completely unrelated loss) back in February that prompted me to take a day off from work, and to drive out to visit Meg.

Meg was sharp, witty, brilliant, and gleaming every day I knew her. Even as her body failed her, her mind and soul stayed true beyond comprehension. I am so grateful to have known this woman; to have laughed with her, told her about my latest projects, watched her try to set me up with the young men jogging by her window, and compared our latest Target jewelry finds together. When we were little, my brother and I would spend hours rearranging her jar of glass marbles into colorful patterns gleaming across the quiet beige carpet. I'd love to see those marbles again.

It was that last visit, the one prompted by the loss of another, that turned out to be my last. Valentine's Day of 2012. But it was the visit before that my mind continues to wander to. Ted and I went apple picking out in Northboro specifically to then visit Meg (No more talk of cute boys jogging by the window now that Meg had met Ted!). After picking too many to legally leave the farm with, I sneakily hid the prettiest ones in my scarf, and snuck them to Meg. As I pulled apples from my scarf, she told me (in her fashion-savvy manner) how much she loved it. "Well, when I perform in India, I'll bring you a scarf like this for your 96th birthday," I told her. "But I'm turning 95 in February, not 96!" was the reply. "Oh, I'm aware, Meg. But I'm not going until December of 2012, so you'll have to stick around for another year to get this scarf, ok?"

I guess there's a piece of me that really thought she would. And yet, it's a strange thing when a friend dies at the age of 95. It feels both natural and impossible to process all at the same time. It feels natural that she's moved on, and yet I can't shake the feeling that she's just a phone call away.

Kim suggested that during my trip to India, I find a scarf for Meg. It's a promise I made, and a promise I'd like to keep, so I think it's good advice to follow through. Perhaps then I can find true closure.

Below are is a series I made in college--a project Professor Karin Stack called "Postcards from Home." Now, more than ever, I am so thrilled to have them. Now that this house, these things, and these people (Meg and Bob) are now gone, but the sentiments do remain.

This post is lovingly dedicated to the Marsden family, and to all the joyous memories I have of my beautiful friend Meg on Old Marlboro Rd.