Angela Kelsey

Tell the Story


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?




  1. wholly jeanne

    WOW. WOW. I love the word “provenance,” and this post is so appropriate, so applicable, I am left saying only WOW. Owning our power, our quirks, our lives – that’s huge. I’m staying with my mother this week, and this morning I heard myself say (on the inside, of course) “I sure had a good and experienced woman teaching me how to hand over my power.” I am tired of handing over my power. I am tired of deferring to others to make decisions that affect me and my life. I am tired of keeping quiet so I don’t offend. I am tired of riding in the backseat, of being the last to serve my plate, of going where I’m told and doing what I’m told. I’m ready to own my life, and I wish somebody had insisted I do that sooner.