Angela Kelsey

Tell the Story

Provenance

Filed in Stories, voices, Writing :: February 20, 2012

A (wonderful) former student read about Colton’s birth and emailed me, mentioning that she loved the “provenance” of his middle name, Atreyu.

I inferred that she meant its “origin,” but I don’t think I’d ever used the word “provenance” myself in speaking or writing. So I looked it up.

It does derive from the French provenir, “to come from,” but it refers to a chain of ownership, a subject which has been on my mind, ¬†most often the chain of ownership of a work of art.

I don’t know about you, but as much as I like to wear beautiful things, I would, given Oscar Wilde’s choices, prefer to be a work of art.

And if I am a work of art, what is my provenance?

I’ve passed through my family, my schools, my beliefs, my fears, my husbands, owned by all of them in various ways. I hope the final entry in my personal provenance will be myself.

What is your provenance?