Un/Settled came into existence on a warm fall day during a reunion between siblings near our parent’s home in rural Iowa. We were visiting what remained of our late grandparents’ farmstead after our uncle had torn down the house to replace it with a cornfield. As we walked around the mostly barren tract of land we began to reflect on the business-like transformation of the plot we were standing on. We talked about the pain of visiting a place that will soon have no visible traces of the past. This project began as a way for us to formalize our reactions. It has since grown to encompass a whole range of emotions and ideas related to the rural as a descriptor, as concept, as identity, as a place.
Un/Settled is the collaboration of two siblings reflecting on our childhood experiences in the rural midwest and the feelings of longing, frustration, and loss that have emerged since leaving. It is a dialogue with – and confrontation of – popular notions of the rural and rural identity. It is a creative space for us to probe more deeply what the rural means to us.
Un/Settled is all of these things and more.
Un/Settled is a sense of place, a state of mind.
Un/Settled is us.
About the Contributors
William learned to cope with the boredom of growing up in the country by escaping into stories of superheroes and fantasy adventures. When he left rural Iowa for college and work, he quickly learned that this coping mechanism worked just as well in other settings. Currently, William is in Chicago where he spends most of his days directing leadership initiatives for Interfaith Youth Core. At night, he can either be found working on his novel or binge-watching the latest season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. You can follow him on twitter @thewilcam
For the last decade or so Bryna has been in the thick of all that comes with a doctorate program in art history. She narrowly escaped with her PhD. She is currently in Portland, Oregon, enjoying the great outdoors and working on a book about her peripatetic grandfather, another unsettled soul, and teaching college courses in art history. She is also the co-creator of theartandplaceblog.wordpress.com, a blog about art, place, and community, and Smart Women Write, which focuses on various aspects of writing. You can follow her on twitter @brynarcampbell