Friday, February 08, 2008

Collage and the vortex

A salvaged canvas with a background already painted, some old photos and copies of metal signs and I'm on my way to a collage about my new year. I'm moving elements around to find how I want to place them and deciding what text to add. I will attach a puppet of young me over it all when I feel "done." Just getting a head start before the collage workshop I'm leading tomorrow. Can't wait to see how this turns out. Should be a fun small group of people gathered who don't ordinarily do visual art. I am always amazed at the variety of expression that comes out. I will post results.

Collage is sort of keeping me alive at this moment. Can't seem to keep my head above water for long without suddenly going for a deep-sea dive into a watery grief place. Some days I'm fine. Some days I wake up thinking about my dad. Not the good memories, but the ones from the hospital the last day. I keep thinking I'm done with that piece. It keeps saying, "not yet." This week at the chiropractor I was connected to the electro-stim machine and the neck-stretcher vice (my label for it) and while lying down listening to relaxing music, I smiled as I thought of a little girl I had seen. She was in Hobby Lobby with her grandpa talking it up. We were on the same aisle and I was hurriedly checking out the clearance stuff. She asked, "what does 'valentine, it's your time to shine' mean?" He just chuckled as it became immediately obvious to her, "Oh, I know it means just be your self! Just be yourself and shine!" Next she was saying how even the girls love Mickey Mouse, not just the boys. "How could anyone not love Mickey Mouse?" I was so amused by this tiny little free spirit I was thinking of her an hour later during my appointment. Instead of closing my eyes and totally relaxing (hard to do when your neck is in pain) I looked around as far as I could without being able to turn my head. I could see the skeletal chart directly above and behind me. I tried to read the upside down letters which formed the unfamiliar medical terms. Then, I slid toward the hole in the floor, the one that sucks me in to unbidden memories. I saw my dad in the hospital bed. Tears came quickly to the corners of my eyes. I had flipped from smiling about a pleasant experience into the vortex that Joan Didion speaks of in The Year of Magical Thinking. No matter how you intentionally avoid it or distract yourself, all roads somehow lead back to the subject of the loved one, the loss, the images of the last days, etc. There are invisible dots that form a trail of connection. It caught me off-guard. Most of the time I am focusing on all the things I am excited about doing and have going on-- especially the creative stuff. Right now it's the collages, the web work, and designing visual pieces for experiential worship that have my attention. I want to do so many things, but I know that some of my energy is going into the vortex and I will just have to be a little bit patient. It's hard. It's frustrating. It's what is. But, at this moment I want to think about that little girl and Mickey Mouse. Hmm, maybe that will become a collage.


Blogger Susan said...

In The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran says:

... "When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Thanks, Susan. I've seen this quote before, but in this context it really hits home.

11:06 AM  

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