Friday, September 6, 2013


Pieces of work, we are.  As I listen to the news these days and the debates about peace, war, weapons, dialogue, pressure, messages, children, women, men, humanitarian motivations, communication, persuasion, support, choices- I am reminded of the amazing thought that we are one body of and as humanity on this Earth. Think of all that makes up a body: the chemical interactions, the ingesting, digesting, eliminating, the pleasures of each nuanced move and play and touch and taste and joy of breath. All that makes us a dynamic system we call a body, even though we may think or know so little of its intimate workings. We are constantly creating, challenging, constantly changing.

Each mind makes its own environment, its own landscape in which to learn what it wants or seeks to learn. This is our gift. Think of W. G. Sebald. “…They combine memoir, fiction, travelogue, history, and biography in the crucible of his haunting prose style to create a strange new literary compound.

Our minds are our crucible in which we digest all elemental information which makes us who we are. What we choose to eliminate as we digest, just as what we choose to ingest, reveals to us the magnitude of our knowledge and appreciation of our gift of life to learn and expand our true sense of who we are as spiritual beings. Sebald’s theme of memory, loss, the fragments and pieces that a mind must open itself to in order to feel truly “whole,” is a key theme for all human minds. For me, a key is understanding and celebrating the trinity of minds and our trinity design – as I was born one of triplets who were taught to think of life in terms of both the and “a” Trinity (as Us, and as “God the father, son, and holy ghost,” or mother, father, child) – ever present in our visible lives and how we live and choose to live. My melancholia was my version of My Antonia (Note, Willa Cather's "prairie trilogy"). Sebald and Cather have places at my table of tour guides, as do many others. 

One body.

Now, I’m turning pages as I see new images of life and our body of human work and art. Kathy Oddenino’s Ancient Storybook, which we have recently published, has brought new satisfaction to my soul in exploring our human landscape and creation. My storybook, at some basic level, is your storybook. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. What fun we can have as we share our stories, as we begin to see them and to see ourselves, together, as one body of work-in-progress.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Joy of Health and Jackson Pollock

Continuing to read Joy of Health this morning (Kathy Oddenino's first book, ca. 1988-89), and prompted to think about fractal patterns again. I pulled out an old beginning of a story I started a year or two ago called, then, Eyes Wide Open. I began it while thinking of Jackson Pollock, of all people, and his continually refining method of dripping paint in patterns. (Discover Magazine wrote a piece on this, among others, years ago.) One comment went something like this - we humans prefer subtle variations on a recurring theme rather than patterns that are too regular, like test bars on a TV, or too random, like a snowy screen.

What came to me when I began writing Eyes Wide Open was this:

subtle, ruffling of the wind
to the freight train force of a tornado, whipping vortices into hungry funnels

We strive to become aware of what we like, what we want, what pleases us on a basic human level. (Enter Jackson Pollock.) This is the beginning of happiness, a refinement beyond the basic survival sense. Then we learn to refine and consciously recreate the patterns that please us. This is a definition and display of learning (living).

In our desire, our motivation, to relive these sensory pleasures, we recreate (repeat) them. When we consciously set in place structures or patterns to repeat them, these became our habits and/or rituals. Our interpretation of these rituals and their purpose became fragmented as the rituals themselves became the purpose rather than the refinement (civilizing, evolution) of our senses. The repetition becomes the purpose and worship becomes the "sense" - we reinforce our fear as "adoration" which we misinterpret as love and thus "obeying." True love is suppressed rather than acknowledged and honored in its energy flow of life and the refinement of the mind coming to know itself and all of life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Motivation, Incubation, and Expression

I have always been interested in collages – visual images spun, placed together in ways that may be surprising.  I had not thought much about it, except peripherally - as something would remind me, until a few months ago, when my friend’s granddaughter sent her a beautiful birthday card with the right amount of whimsy and charm and insight to motivate me back into the playful joy of childhood scissoring of all manner of papers and pasting.  Since then I pasted a picture together which reminded me both of the card, of my sister and me squatting on the living room floor surrounded by paper dolls and more, and of the absolute joy of creating and remembering.  That led me to making a “collage-book,” which I’ll display soon.

In the last few weeks I have been seeing all kinds of articles about collage, and the way certain artists integrate materials. One is BrainPickings, the fascinating brain-child of Maria Popovva, curator-at-large and troll of all manner of connections of potential human inspiration and interest. Another is the facsimile (and more!) of Joseph Cornell’s Manual of Marvels, noted in a book catalog I received in the mail (holiday time and all). In yesterday’s New York Times, I read “Recycled Newsprint,” by Carlo Rotella, which describes an exhibit running at Washington’s National Gallery until January 27. The curator and her collaborators call the exhibit Shock of the News, the catalog of which “offer(s) a cogent, evocative account of artists’ use and abuse of the newspaper from 1909 to 2009.” I find this fascinating – both the making of images from other images, and the collective consciousness summary of the findings/creations by others who “discover” them in a new context, as more of a whole over time. What more do they say, in context over time?

Again, bodies of work reveal themselves “naked” in the world in which they are incubated and expressed. The bodies change and show other interaction as context is expanded.  Keep looking.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mother & Child, Cycles of Creation

A body of work – addition. I just finished reading Carole Maso’s novel, Mother & Child. I have read all nine of her other books, so can truthfully say that I have read her body of work, in book form. Mother & Child took me a while to read, though as always with her writing, I found that finding the moments to sink into the lilting rhythms was the most satisfying way to appreciate the images, the “singing narrative.” The reading itself becomes almost a cradling, a sense of lullaby, both muted and softly incoherent at times, lucid as starlight on a cold night in other moments. I was carried along with the rhythm and pace of the Spiegelpalais, and the dreaming and waking images Maso created of the mother and child’s interaction, their growth cycles and changes, how experience and knowledge become a way of life as love shown, lived.

I now have one more image of how we create our reality, each of us, individual and collective, how we mold our world into reflections of how we know ourselves to be, each blinking moment in Time.

“Pupa is from the Latin for puppet, and from puppet, or young girl, comes an animated doll-like puppet creature. Pupa is the life stage of some insects undergoing transformation. The Romans also noted that when you looked into the center of the eye, you saw a small doll-like image of yourself reflected, and this was called the pupil. Look, the child said, shining a light into the Grandmother’s eyes.”  (287)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An Opposite Force can and will work for you and with you

The ego can’t understand that the spirit and soul are there to help. The ego of man will simply not understand what to do first to gain access to this world of the inner self. Indeed, the fear of this ‘other world’ will be so great that the ego will feel much ‘safer’ when it denies that another world could possibly exist. This is not right or wrong, but it is a lack of understanding that an opposite force can and will work for you and with you.”  (Bridges of Consciousness, 210)

            I read a few sentences the other day that have stayed with me – maybe like a piece of sand or grit that burrows to much later become a pearl. The sentences were about how we don’t usually understand that opposing forces can work together to help us. This pearl of thought is relevant to me as I watch the news, and as I review the “endless electoral cycle” that has become an embedded part of our American life in particular. As I watch the news stories every day, and read Spiritual Philosophy with an ever-growing appreciation and intention, I understand better how necessary it is that we understand our mission in life, AS life, and that life is meant to be understood to be truly enjoyed and celebrated (shared). We cannot truly do this (live) as our “best angels” until we know our best self, which is designed to live love, truth, and equality and all that unfolds from the Ethical Values.  Knowing our best self requires a motivation to know and developing a love for life and learning.

            Every day now I listen to stories of how we, as a culture and world, are struggling to understand truth and lying. From the most respected and accomplished personalities to the most singular and “invisible” personality, we are showing ourselves the challenge we have to know the love, truth, and equality of our internal self as we are designed to be and to live as a whole energy being.

            A body of work is a body of knowledge that sustains itself as a whole throughout its eternal life, in whatever form (as energy). I am a body of knowledge as physical matter, as I have been created from the passions of my parents, and as I have continued to support (or abuse) myself as a physical human being growing, day by day, year by year – cellular matter adding density and mass, into the time and space of Time and experience. What do I know of the body of knowledge that I am? How do I use or apply the knowledge that I am? Knowledge is only a possession when it is used only by the intellect. This can be very useful in many ways, as I’ve enjoyed and acknowledge throughout our human history, yet this is not the true gift of knowledge as a body of work, a whole (a gift that keeps on giving).

            This is what is coming to me as I listen to our collective challenges and struggles to understand truth and lying, and therefore love and equality – the basis of the Golden Rule, love your neighbor as yourself.  We have lots of words for how we think and live this struggle to be who we want to be – “cover up,” denial, secret, secretive, private, privacy, hidden, revealed, levels, shades, sharing – the list goes on and on. Just as the elements of wind, water, sun, and sand (Earth) shift and change throughout time, and together, we uncover within ourselves the levels of consciousness that we have lived as we have created our evolutionary cycles of life.  We cling to beliefs that we have made “sacred,” or “set in stone.” We become possessive of who is entrusted with “right” and/or “wrong.” A deepening exploration and exposure to the study of myself as energy is teaching me to understand what Mandelbrot exposed in his own ways about fractal geometry; what Jackson Pollock expressed in his own ways about the cohesiveness in the distinctive patterns of nature; what Pythagoras heard and defined as the music of the spheres.

            I am coming to appreciate what “a body of work” means.  What does it mean to “age gracefully”? How do we know and define objects or practices or thoughts and emotions as “timeless”? What do they tell us, show us; how do they enlighten us? Fragments are essentially part of a whole, and can be in themselves beautiful, of course. A perfectly curved lip (Think Elvis!); a perfectly delicate flower petal just beginning to burst into full bloom; the head of a dandelion; a single pearl. Yet without the identification or association of their being, they mean much less. The parts add up to the sum – yet the sum is not simply a sum of parts. We are energy beings – organic in our consciousness journey as we create our lives, inviting ourselves to wake up and smell the coffee (and the natural perfumes of all of life, the joys that transport and set us down, gently, etc.). To begin a journey of reading a writer’s body of work is to acknowledge the design and pattern of life, and to begin to incorporate, to absorb, to integrate knowledge that cannot simply be taken in by the intellect. The same is true of any art form, and life is designed as the art of change and growth. Evolution. To begin to learn is to begin to apply the knowledge that “I am that I am.” Thought form expressing itself as love.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Teach a Man to Fish

I've been fishing only a few times in my life, but I have a few vivid and fond memories of being present while others fished. For instance, my Dad - standing on a pier while on family vacation, simple fishing pole in hand, looking over the lake in full contentment, it seemed; swimming below a long thin waterfall in Nigeria while on school vacation (junior high or high school), splashing in our big bright inner tube as a tall man approached the watering hole carrying a large carved gourd under his arm. Without changing expression, he walked to the edge of the water and kept going. He held onto the gourd and speared fish, which he placed inside the hollowed gourd until it was full. Then he made his way back to the water's edge and walked out and away. It was a fascinating sight, and I often wondered how the dinner tasted.

Memories are knowledge gained. What do we do with them?