Makenzie Goodman

Makenzie Goodman (b. 1986) grew up on the east side of the country on a farm in rural Pennsylvania but currently lives in Los Angeles. She received her BA from the University of Delaware and her MFA from Brooks Institute in Southern California. Her work circles around themes of the mythology of place, restlessness, and dissatisfaction in America, nostalgia and family. Goodman’s work has been exhibited and published nationally and internationally

A Far Empty Place

People always say that looking back gets us nowhere and should be avoided. ‘Live in the present!’ they say. ‘Be here now!’ This, however, is easier said than done. Calypso’s enchanting melodies couldn’t keep Odysseus from yearning for Ithaca. Marcel Proust spent the last part of his life as an invalid in bed remembering his childhood, writing the seven-volume novel In Search of Lost Time. Even wild Huck Finn couldn’t stop himself from creeping back into town to shed a few secret tears. So, while nostalgia may not bring joy to our lives, nor does it satisfy us in the present, the experience of looking back and remembering a place fraught with poignant memories is one of the most human things we do. We lament the passage of time and the places we cannot get back to, and from that time-warped perspective, the places and people of the past shimmer.

The allure of the mythical west is in sharp tension with the provincial, east coast home I grew up in. I spent my youth yearning to live in the American West and now that I have finally landed in coastal California I yearn for rural Pennsylvania and it’s cold winters. And so I restlessly search between the local and universal, finding that I am a native nowhere.

To view more of Makenzie’s work please visit her website.