Poetry Soothes My Soul

The last week has wrought many events that have upset my normally serene and content state-of-mind:

The Tucson shootings have left me even more convinced that the death penalty is a valid exchange for mass murder - I understand the idea of those against the death penalty, but in my heart of hearts, I truly believe that some souls are irredeemable in this life, that to restore universal balance, the scales need to be re-set.  Even though I understand that mistakes have been made and innocent humans have been executed, I still believe that execution is the final retribution due because of lives stolen away . . . not to mention the lives of survivors of the victims.

 

Other issues are again, not directly my issues, but as they orbit into my reality, they have upset my balance . . . secrets kept, once revealed - can be freeing.  Their revelations always bring about better understanding of the secret keeper . . . but if the information gets out, does that wreak more pain for those effected?  Only the secret keeper can weigh that issue and make that call.  Although I believe in full disclosure, I am happy to hold shared secrets until their time is come.  What is the psychological WEIGHT of a secret?????  That intrigues me . . . if I were to paint a picture, would they appear as a large burden carried upon one's shoulders?  I am reminded of Robert di Nero in THE MISSION, one of my all-time, favorite movies, the freedom he gained when he, literally, let his weight fall from his shoulders.

One of my dear friends and her family suffered a fire on their property.  Everyone is safe, but the loss of personal property, those treasured things . . . that is heavy, too.  What would I grab if I KNEW my room was about to burn?  My nook?  A Photo Album? My Laptop?   It is something to consider.

So, for all the heartache I feel in the world around me, for my dear friends and family that are dealing with these issues, I share this poem, which soothed my soul this morning.

 

THIS IS MY WISH FOR YOU by Charles Livingston Snell

This is my wish for you . . .

That the spirit of beauty may continually hover about you

and fold you close within the tendernesses of her wings.

That each beautiful and gracious thing in life may be unto

you as a symbol of good for your soul's delight.

That sun-glories and star-glories, leaf-glories and bark-glories,

glories of mountains and oceans of the little streams of running waters;

glories of song, of poesy, of all the arts may be to you as sweet, abiding

influences that will illumine your life and make you glad.

That your soul may be as an alabaster cup, filled to overflowing

with the mystical wine of beauty and love.

That happiness may put her arms around you, and wisdom

make your soul serene.

                                                                               This is my wish for you.

 

 

 

I was born in a small town . . .

If you know me - you know this fact - I WAS BORN IN A SMALL TOWN!!! I believe there were less than 300 people in Olivet, IL when I arrived at the age of 4 with my Mom, a new Stepdad and various step and half siblings, with more to arrive . . . The Carter Clan: r & back)Mom; Lisa; Joe; Janetta; Janice; Daddy Jim; middle) Me; bottom row: Johnnie; Troy; Susan If I had to choose an anthem for my teen years - it would be this song.  So many of the lines screamed out from my soul . . . there were a few lines that I 'wished' were true . . .  here are some random thoughts and memories which bubble up every time I hear John crooning . . . Lyrics are copyrighted by Mellencamp   www.johnmellencamp.com "Small Town" Written by John Mellencamp Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town Probably die in a small town Oh those small communities
All my friends are so small town My parents live in the same small town
 
 
  My job is so small town          my first job was at Burger Chef, Danville, IL Provides little opportunity   perhaps one of the reasons I ran away at 18? Image of a similar Burger Chef from the '70's Educated in a small town     attended Pine Crest Elementary (Georgetown), First Baptist Christian School (Danville), Hope Christian School (Danville); but where I really learned the MOST and glimpsed the wider world was in the boundless walls and bookshelves of the Carnegie Library just down Route 1 in Ridge Farm, IL.  But I've seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town   Married an L.A. doll this would be married a Jersey boy and brought him to this small town now my kids  are small town,  just like me  
Notre Dame de La Salette Boys Academy - across the highway from my Mom's house, Olivet/Georgetown, IL Used to daydream in that small town   reading about worlds far away Another boring romantic that's me       how many Barbara Cartland's can one girl read?? . . . then my brother's threw one of those paperbacks out the back window of the Olive Green/Panel Country Squire Station Wagon on vacation . . . "Bye, Bye Bawbwa Cawtlan!" No I cannot forget from where it is that I come from
 
 
 
I cannot forget the people who love me from the Sunday gatherings at Grandpa's farm . . . to the church families . . . and the immediate family of siblings and nieces and nephews . . .  
Yeah I can be myself here in this small town  well, I didn't feel I could be myself
And people let me be just what I want to be    and I always felt I was expected to conform to Fundamental Baptist rules - I couldn't be what I wanted to be - but I figured that out later on . . .
 
 
Got nothing against a big town  I feel just as comfortable in NYC, in fact! Still hayseed enough to say Look who's in the big town But my bed is in a small town Oh, and that's good enough for me
Well I was born in a small town And I can breathe in a small town Gonna die in this small town Oh that's probably where they'll bury me  well, I will be cremated and submerged in Copper Canyon, along the Colorado River, near Lake Havasu . . . but you get the idea.  I love to visit the graveyards where my Grandpa and step-dad lay . . . those graveyards are some of the places where my heart has been completely broken, and yet I felt close to those of us left behind.
 
Torpedo as Mailbox? - Olivet, IL 2009 My daughter Lauren, age 15, at Forest Glen Park, Georgetown IL, May 2009   Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town   what I loved were the people in the church and the hymn worship services.  My favorite hymn is "It Is Well With My Soul" . . . my Daddy Jim's funeral was in this very auditorium which occurred just before the interior was burned in a fire . . . from ages 4 to 18, I attended with my family and we filled an entire pew . . .
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Woman Artist MIA for Two Months, Reappears, Injured, But Determined

Quick Update on Why I Have MIA on MY OWN BLOG . . . After a big health in October (dogging breast cancer but still needing to have a lumpectomy) and then having my former health issues of an injured back flare up again (culminating in a painful herniated disc) - the last month has been all about getting through the holidays, family visits, and getting myself to and from the chiropractor . . . I still have some very bad, pain-filled days which has caused me to be fighting off depression . . . but I think I have turned a corner today. Today I turned in my Fellowship Grant to the Tennessee Arts Commission.  It has been a goal for 3 years and this is the first time I didn't miss the deadline.  It almost happened, but somehow, with the help of friends and my supportive husband - that paperwork was delivered! As to the 'art', here is what has been going on since my last entry: Currently I am on the couch with my left elbow up so I can type with 2 hands.  This gets very tiresome, however, I can research and play lots of games with only my right hand! (note: I am not to sit more than 15 minutes at a time) So - more good news this week (if you haven't seen my Facebook updates) . . . 1.   I will be part of Miami Basel in December (hopefully, my pants shan't fall down as happened to a dear friend in the Miami Airport).  This will be the traveling exhibition I have been in Take Care  .  My work in it will be Coping Skills, see below. 2.   My art was featured on the Home Page of   OvationTV  (might still be there). 3.  Yesterday Adrienne Outlaw and myself were invited to be part of a museum exhibition (based on our pharmaceutical work) at The Customs House Museum & Culture Centerin Clarksville, TN for March-April  - which is actually an amazing place for kids and adults.  Not sure of exact dates or our exhibition title yet, but there you go!   The exhibition will feature 10 Distinctive Contemporary Women Artists - celebrating National Women's Month.   4.  I got the fellowship grant delivered 4 pm today to Downtown Nashville.  I don't want to throw away that 5K!  Keep your fingers and toes crossed - it would truly be a blessing to have those funds for attending a workshop at Arrowmont, to purchase more art supplies and studio equipment . . . it would be a miracle. So, if I can just live through this herniated disc, I can accomplish all these things.  I have decided not to travel to NYC for the (group) Queens, NY show in February at Flux Factory- but I will still travel to the Gulf Coast Florida show that I am assisting in the jurying . . . doing this with an art friend, Aletha Carr, because she can drive and I can be prone on her back seat . . .  so I have about a month to be mobile. Even more great things -   I made some new art a few weeks ago - it has many excerpts from emails sent by friends about encouraging me in my art.  Created from encaustic, tin, model magic, archival inkjet, tracing paper.  14"h x 12"w x 12"d.  Created for "CALL HOME" installation at Flux Factory, Queens, NY - February, 2010.   "YES YOU CAN . . . HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT, TOO" YES YOU CAN . . . HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT, TOO!           Detail view of "YES YOU CAN . . . " Currently (November '09 - March '10) I have an installation up at seedSPACE, Nashville, TN - it consists of site-specific installations and include: Coping Skills and A Paxil A Day: Coping Skills          Detail View of A Paxil a Day  above right: (detail of A Paxil A Day) - it actually covers a 4 ft x 6 ft wide area and can have as many as 169 units . . . Fresh off the press is "JUST DESSERTS" Just Desserts, 3"h x 11"w x 8"d        Detail of "Just Desserts" consists of: glass vanity mirror tray, foil candy cups, lucite cones, fabric, silicone So - I feel like I am completely unaccomplished, but I guess a few things are going on beneath the surface. So, what do you think???
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On Reading - Gillian Flynn's "DARK PLACES"

Ok - so I bought a new book [not true: I bought about 8 new books and 5 art journals] for vacation (which doesn't start until Friday).  dark places Here is the thing - I stayed up all night READING one of them (DarkPlaces by Gillian Flynn).  It qualifies as one of those, 'perhaps someone else had a worser (I know this is bad grammar) childhood than I (I know this should say 'me').  The point is, if you can forget my bad grammar, is that it has been a long time since I have been gripped by a book in this manner.  I have 'enjoyed' some and actually 'loved' others.  But this one - it is like the first time I read Augusten Burrough's A WOLF AT THE TABLE or Haven Kimmel's IODINE.  I was rocking, reading, and closing the book, turning off the light, turning the light back on, until 6:15 a.m.
PLEASE TELL ME I AM NOT THE ONLY PSYCHO NIGHT READER!           Hence - being in an altered state of stunned stupidity (or perhaps just otherworldness), I appeared at a 10:30 a.m. meeting with my web designer, which isn't until tomorrow.  um.  ding dang.  I blame this fugue on my altered literary reality. That is what I consider a good read.  To be so altered that I don't know, or really give a taco, what day it is.  Another sign - when you feel that you have only 2 toes on your right foot, like the main character.  Check - GOOD BOOK.  Sitting up rocking yourself - CHECK, good book - thanks Augusten and Haven!!   Kudos to Gillian Flynn for having the balls to write about a flawed, but -therefore- believable character.   This girl woman - Libby - is someone with twisted thinking, but is loveable at the same time.  Which, as you know - is my goal in life - to be the twisted soul that I am, but to be loveable (and, loving, of course). So, dear readers, who are all readers yourself - tell me, what is the last book that kept you up all night???  I'm just dying to know!   Other 'wee hours' of the morning books from my literary past: IT, THE STAND, INSOMNIA (how Ironic) - Stephen King I Know This Much is True - Wally Lamb  . . . . just to name a few!
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What I Have Learned From Trees

I began this post several weeks ago, which now seems like years. Since then, many events have occurred in my life and the lives of my most beloved of souls.  The thoughts I was having seem even more timely now.  Perhaps my soul was preparing itself . . . in any event, I feel led to make these observations on TREES.   Right View: A view as seen along the Natchez Trace in Rural Tennessee.  Taken May, 2009. If I could choose to be any kind of tree, it would be a POPLAR.  Poplar trees have the added bonus of filtering toxins from the soil/ground water.  I would love to be considered a filter - to take in the poison and give out only cleansed energy. From my early days as a barefooted, country girl growing up in rural Illinois and Indiana, trees have framed my life.  From the giant, canopy of grandpa's oak tree on the Indiana farm to the Ginkgo Trees that grew across the street, I have been drawn to the strength and beauty they provide.        What intrigues me most about trees is that they internally and externally exhibit their key characteristic of RESILIENCE - which if you follow me at all, you will know is my eternal quest to grasp.
re·sil·ience [ ri zílly?nss ] or re·sil·ien·cy [ ri zílly?nssee ]
noun 
Definition:
 
1. speedy recovery from problems: the ability to recover quickly from setbacks
2. elasticity: the ability of matter to spring back quickly into shape after being bent, stretched, or deformed It is amazing to me that a view of the tree's internal rings reveal it's entire biography - the year it was born, the travail of injury, the years of abundance and nurture.  I am amazed at the individuality of each scar.  Not only the individuality, but the fact that these scars are the cause of so much beauty and the site of resilience and self-healing.  In a way, these trees are my 'heroes' and nature is where I can instantly receive the succor and peace from everyday challenges.  It is like an instant realignment of internal and external health.  See, echophsycology posting, http://sherfickart.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/01/essay-eco-psych.html (Eco-psychology and Inner-World Balance) as well as a previous posting http://sherfickart.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/10/natures-gifts.html (Nature's Gifts)   Along the Natchez Trace I became lost.  Lost, literally, but emotionally as well.  This sojourn provided time to dwell in the bucolic world.  I saw the way nature ate away at the attempted confinement of man.  The trees were devouring the very man-made structures used to tame them.  As time passed, the con-finements were devoured, but the fact of them was left behind - the trees had continued to grow about the chains of man and left behind the visualization of their conquering spirits.   I, too,  seek to be triumphant and to devour my oppression and create a beautiful outcome.  Just like these trees, I hope to heal and transform my internal and external scars into marks of strength.   So, once again, my ruminations return to WHAT REMAINS?  What we keep and why? What will my story say at the end?   To learn more about the Life of a Tree, visit

http://www.arborday.org

 

 
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A Spirit of Restoration

res·to·ra·tion