The quote under my name above is painted across two stained glass window panels in the conservatory of the Winchester Mystery House, a few blocks north of where I once lived in San Jose, California. While we know that these phrases are two separate quotes, and come from two different Shakespeare plays, their significance and context as the only written words that remain inside the Winchester House remain an enigma whose meaning went to the grave with Sarah Winchester.
Unlike Mrs. Winchester, I am (at least currently) very much alive. My name is Tamara (rhymes with camera, three syllables), and my last name, Siuda, has a silent i. I am no millionaire hermitess plotting unending reconstruction to my Queen Anne home either out of grief and madness or a canny desire to keep my millions out of unworthy hands. Instead, I live in a modest space in Portland, Oregon, with a giant cat named Zigzag and an even bigger collection of books. It might be fair to call me a hermitess, but my privation is far more in the mold of the Coptic martyrs I study for the dissertation I’m writing.
There are few things that do not catch my interest if they have a story attached. Lucky me: this is a world filled with stories, and I’m out to read them all and write a few in the process.