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Muriel Steinke: Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends

Muriel Steinke

Published book

Odds and Ends is an exploration of time and a celebration of life. In 2020, I found a small collection of my father’s memorabilia. It occurred to me that mine will likely be the last generation that won't have an onslaught of photographs and videos of their parents. Additionally, I found a series of essays my paternal grandmother wrote about her life and her children. It was such a distinctly intimate window into her life that really piqued my curiosity. It’s common for many people to have an unclear image of the generations above them, but I never even met my grandparents, so reading her words was a really strange experience. I decided to piece together a book that outlined my dad's life, using him as a proxy for the figures in our lives we meet but don’t truly know. The piece underscores the nostalgia of a fully-lived life and capitalizes on the chasm between one and one’s memory. As a whole, the work gives form to a previously intangible story, and illustrates the nuances of perception. Odds and Ends is my interpretation of my father’s photographs, guided by my grandmother’s words; it is softly fact, but informed by inference.