I walked into Platform Gallery last week and was flabbergasted to find an arrangement of five carved alabaster pillows in two rows. They flung me back a few years to a bar called Tommy Gun, a dimly lit place on Capitol Hill. It was a time in my life when I was suddenly alone, and I didn't know where I was going to live anymore or with whom. I was sitting at the bar trying not to think about it.
Then I noticed this tiny drawing in the newspaper of two rows of pillows, and I tore it out. Albrecht Dürer made the drawing in 1493. He didn't title it—just referred to it as six studies of pillows and drew it on the back of another sketch. The pillows made me cry. They were so personal. Pillows take your shape; your pillow is only yours. These particular little sketched pillows somehow confirmed for me in that moment what I'd been trying to avoid noticing: that too many bad things had happened on my pillows, and I was going to have to throw them out and start all over again.