A late 19th century unpublished ethnographic report said that Mojave people put men into the center of the maze and left them to find their way out without crossing the windrows. Edward Curtis wrote in 1908 that, "It is believed that by running in and out through one of these immense labyrinths, one haunted with a dread [ghost] may bewilder the spirit occasioning it, and thus elude them."]I did my first ritual of ridding myself of the hurtfulness of our estrangement. As I carefully chose a fragment of desert-varnished stone, as I wrote his name in watercolor pencil, and as I slowly placed it name-side-down back on a windrow - I prayed that all the pain would wash away with his name during the next rain shower. In 2006 I created an installation based on this day - aMazed - which includes handmade paper, penned with your objects to be cleansed of wrapped around a piece of slate and tied with sinew. This interactive performance is healing and seeks closure. As he is laid to rest in the majestic mausoleum he built for himself in the 70's . . . (he was a renowned stone mason and memorial designer) . . . I will continue to cause him to roll over in his grave, er - I mean mausoleum. I do have the distinct and rare knowledge that I believe I am the only person to have stood up to him and not to have been thrown against a wall (note: I realize he couldn't do that over the phone, but he did the next best thing). I think he thinks he had the last word. Not really. I am still here; and, he - he will soon be rotting in his mausoleum I get the last word by teaching my children that kindness is a better way - that love does not go hand in hand with guilt. That I am proud of my husband and my children for their intrinsic creativity and vivacious personalities - and not only because of their jobs/salaries/accomplishments or for what makes me more WORTHY. Also - I get the last word - because my work has been hung and been displayed in international exhibitions and high end museums. And - I have another 40 - 50 years to take it even further. So, thanks, Emery, for the backbone you trained me to have while you emotionally beat me to the ground again and again. I am still standing . . . the line of life . . . and you are horizontal . . . the line of death. Now that you are gone, I can possibly find some peace. There is a completeness in those lines, when they intersected like we did with our lives - they created on the most universal symbols of time . . . the cross, literally the intersection of LIFE and DEATH. Now I can stand alone. I can reach as high as I endeavour. And, dude, never once in my entire f#$*)$ 42 years did you EVER spell my name correctly! There was never a 'c' nor a second 'e'!!!!
So that was all about 4 weeks ago. I am off the crutches and am down to braces and wraps for the ankle and can hobble almost anywhere. The worst part is trying to walk down stairs. (remember, my studio is down a very steep flight of stairs, I didn't see it for a whole week). If I have been on my feet too long I am exhausted . . . but, you know - it could have been so much worse. For a few days I had the perfect excuse to sit and talk and get giddy on painkillers. Not a bad way for the universe to inform me I better slow down OR ELSE! I found out what OR ELSE meant . . . just like the Fairygod Mother that swoops down and wacks Little Bunny Foo Foo on the head.
So that gives you a bit of the story of where I have been . . . not to mention the fact that I lost the information on how to access my very own blog for several weeks . . . I am back on track, back on my feet and there are NO MORE EXCUSES!
You can expect more updates, and the saga of how I am making it to Grand Rapids, MI in the near future!
Looking back, what I realized is that ALL ALONG I had people underneath me, holding tightly to a trampoline hoping I would bounce back up. Here is what some of you were screaming up at me while I fell and after I was lollygagging on the *what I thought was the sidewalk, but was really the* trampoline:
"I know it is hard to have a career and be a mom and wife. It is a constant struggle. But having a family is worth it. I wouldn't want to not have a family. Relationships are the most important thing about life! That's what I believe anyway." - Aletha
And I even got my OWN WORDS quoted back to me from dear Carrie:
"I've been reading old blog posts lately, they make me so happy. You said this: Even When We Feel Static, Progress Is Occurring - our creativity is like unto the lunar tide - moments of fullness and moments of waning. The pull inward and the push outward. The unearthed debris visible one moment and submerged the next . . . So there you go. "
. . . Carrie goes on to say: "Remember how you made everything else happen? I know you have it in you to make this happen, too . . . You know this is your Right Work. But our calling is our instructor, too. Don't be discouraged. You are an Artist. And SO few artists have the full package as you do. Allow a discouraging day, resistance is futile. Then put on your Invincible hat. Because you are, Sher, you ARE."
"You are wonderful, know that and be good to yourself." - Caryl
And here is Maureen (always Miss Sunshine to me), again, someone quoting me: “Which, as you know – is my goal in life – to be the twisted soul that I am, but to be lovable (and, loving, of course).” That’s exactly why I love you, Sher!!!! and just a few days later this one from Maureen: "Oh Sher, beloved Sher . . . Hang on tight . . . Love ya, woman! We're behind you."
"You've been in my heart today, I can't explain why." - Amy R. (this was the day I melted down and BEFORE I had shared it with anybody)! Amy R. also saved me a vintage advertisement and is sending it to me to alter - mailing it FOR FREE as a gift!
Here is the MOST stunning which came the evening BEFORE my meltdown when I was 'holding on tight' to a modicum of 'sanity' -
from Kathleen: "I have been on your pages many times and follow your blog. One of these times, words will tumble to describe what gifts you give. Here are a few...About your vintage-ish pieces... You participate in acts of redemption with your art. This is no small thing. You wrap, seam and embellish memory and truth in teal, pink, calico. The result... reality comforted, nostalgia disturbed. And through it... your particular kind of shine persists. Your vision is shared (thus we join) yet singular (thus we marvel). Congratulations of the Grand Rapids Art Prize Show. As a mother of three soul children, Nora, Morgan, Grace lost through miscarriage, I celebrate the all akimbo view of motherhood. So this night, know this... what you do matters and people notice. Many people notice. They do not all comment. Let my comments echo as many for you this night. Blessings for whatever in your life these days is pushing me to send this to you tonight." For God's Sake - Slay me NOW . . . as I said, ALL ALONG, you (all of you) were there holding onto the trampoline. I may not have gotten it quickly this time, but I understand now. That, for the first time in my life, I feel I have people/friends who will - CATCH ME IF I FALL -(altar niche creating in 2005-2006) There are many more people, and here are some more short excerpts of love messages from my 'posse' - "Sher, your art is fabulous . . . you are BEYOND fabulous . . . Hang in there! It will all be okay. I so love the little piece you made me. It makes me smile." - Mary Lou There are a few others that have the power to lighten my heart, even if I haven't quoted them here, I give a bow to: George, Haven, Linda, GiGi, Vanessa, Kate and her Oreo Bon-Bon's and general pin-up girl fabulosity, Jim Shue, John M, Michael T., Brenda QuinkyDink (all the HK Talkers! and former BB's) basically, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND SUE ME IF I FORGOT YOUR NAME . . . Marshall, who THANKED me for being HIS friend . . . I may actually sleep tonight. I, too, wish Gigi could send me some Ambien, darn those rules and regulations!
|re·sil·ience [ ri zílly?nss ] or re·sil·ien·cy [ ri zílly?nssee ]|
|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