Creative Prompt for Today

Today’s inspiration is a childhood memory.  So first close your eyes and focus on a landmark from  childhood.  This may have been a friend’s or relative’s home, a park, a backyard sandbox,  snow fort, swimming hole/pool.  The possibilities are endless.

More Snow Forts

More Snow Forts (Photo credit: CaZaTo Ma)

Now take out a crayon or some other crude implement of mark-making. If you have anything else around the house that could help jar some memories, get that too.  Something with scent is good: a flower, a can of play-doh, a chocolate chip cookie, etc.  (Personally I like bubbles for this exercise when I assign it to my college writers.)

Missing chocolate chip cookie.

Missing chocolate chip cookie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next take the crayon/implement and begin to draw the place/item from memory.  (You can use more than one color.)

The second step asks you to take it to the next level.Once you finish, you can branch out with whatever you do that’s creative.

For fiction writers and poets, the memory can be used for narrative inspiration, image and detail.  Essay and memoir writers may even want to talk about the process itself and then proceed to the story and descriptions.

If you’re wanting to do something visual, continue the drawing on your medium of choice:  canvas, drawing paper, assemblage, sculpture, collage, film-making or whatever else strikes your fancy.  Just let the child-like brain keep plowing forward.

Play-Doh festival

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Reading Recommendation: Joy, Interrupted: An Anthology on Motherhood and Loss.

joybest

Cover Design by Fat Daddy’s Farm

Front: “Adieu Maman” by Jemila Modesti – Oil

Back: “Broken Chain” by Grace Benedict – Mixed media


The plain truth is, you do not have to be the parent of a lost child to appreciate the shared stories in Joy, Interrupted: An Anthology on Motherhood and Loss ISBN 9780985235604, a new collection of works edited by Melissa Miles McCarter of Fat Daddy Press.   The seeds of separation are sown at conception; our first loud and audible breath nothing short of a full-throated attempt at explaining the shock of lost connection.  The acknowledgement of that tiny knot in our lower abdomen  all that is necessary as frame of reference.

Aside from the candid honesty and epiphany found in these poems, prose and illustrative works, the thing that I most admire about Joy, Interrupted is its inclusion of voices from a landscape of backgrounds and personal  histories.  Missing from this anthology is the mindset that insists on a resume and a list of publications as validation for the act of putting words to human experience.  Each work  stands on its own merit in terms of articulation and expression. While  some of these pieces read like masterworks,  others provide the raw insights and vulnerabilities found upon pages from a day in the life of a grief survivor.

The common thread running throughout is the expression of a need to connect and find temporary shelter in shared experience.

In the words of its editor, herself the parent of an infant lost to SIDS:  “In reading about other dimensions of loss, I saw new opportunities for coping, for making meaning out of  pain and for healing. I watched as the contributors processed (or didn’t process) their grief and it helped me see that my own space between grief and joy was wider than I had imagined, with me moving closer and closer to the other side of joy. The contributors to this anthology helped me, as Shakespeare wrote, “give sorrow words.”

Baby Blue and the Missing Part,  Michèle Aimpée Parent

Baby Blue and the Missing Part, Michèle Aimpée Parent

From Joy, Interrupted, various authors and excerpts:

She, lying on the couch, shrouded

by an army surplus blanket, never spoke and stared

directly ahead at the nocturnal painting

of Christ Watching over the City of Jerusalem.

Nauseated by the smell of sweat and cod liver oil,

I relished digging my jagged nails into the jellied flesh

of her freckled upper arm, pinching her and telling her

she was faking because she didn’t want to divide fractions

or help her mother dry the dishes. She never flinched. Did I learn

she had been struck by lightning or did I make it up?

Now all I can think is “Christmas is a time of miracles”

as I listen to the hiss whir of the baby’s ventilator.

Already pneumonia has scarred his lungs

and now they babble about tracheotomies,

laser shavings, and Amoxicillin.

A lightning strike might take him home.

— from Struck by Lightning, Liz Dolan (24)

~~~~~

Marc twitches his nose and his bushy mustache lurches—

the most “him” thing left. That, and the lift of creases in his forehead.

And the small pursing of his chapped lips. His throat clears

and coughs still hold his sound, too.

Thomas has hiccups. “People were looking for Scream

this weekend at the box office,” says TV. Why do we want

to scare ourselves when life already provides the horror?

And more of Lindsay Lohan’s ongoing drama of jail and rehab.

This is news we care about. Not my stepfather dying of cancer,

unknown by most. Even I like celebrity news—flipping back

on my iPhone from Perez Hilton to TMZ. I crave

the nonsense; the non-scream.

–from “Celebrity News,” Sheila Hageman (25)

                                                                                            ~~~~~

A little girl smiles at me from the photo – a smile as bright and carefree as a summer day. Her hair is brown and long, just like the woman’s. I can almost hear this radiant little girl with an infectious smile giggling joyful delight, secure in her mother’s love as she relishes each day’s adventure. But the agony of the woman standing before me explodes in my brain, cruelly silencing the little girl’s laughter. The distance from the photo to this street corner – and the painful loss that brought her here – is beyond all measure.

Somehow I know, even before I read the words. I know the message. I know the pain and agony. I know the fear and desperation. The sign reads “Have you seen this child?” Suddenly, a lump in my throat makes it hard to swallow and tears sting the corners of my eyes, running down my cheeks. I can’t stop myself from being pulled into a flood of emotions. For a fleeting moment I see my own children, my daughters. The cardboard mirror exposes my worst fear as a mother. It has been said that to lose a child is to lose a piece of yourself.

I believe that the bond between a mother and her children is primal, instinctive, and even intuitive. My girls are the very heart and soul of my being. There isn’t anything within my power that I wouldn’t do for them or to protect them. I would fight for them to the end. If they were hurting, I would comfort them as long as they needed. And if they were lost, I would never rest until they were found.

–from  “The Sign,” Rebecca Manning (30)

~~~~~

Fragments lure her–

water snake head

shiny link chain

tender pink sole

damselfly wing . . .

The child, bands of sunburn

down her peeling back,

the scars of cigarettes

on the reticulated spine,

notes the quiet

revolution

in the earth,

and half recalls

the rules, rude and sly.

But Lilia and Marie

have fled the pond,

clambering from the

ooze, shrieking gaily,

eluding phantasmal foes.

Just one arrives

too late in the game

and shrugs: no wonder,

where rift and wrack

of cloud in coming night

glow, lurid as arsonist’s fire.

–from “Dandelion Child,” Carol Alexander (32-33)

mothersbond


The Moon is Always Human: DBT, Dreams and Demons

--Vincent Van Gogh, "The Sower"

–Vincent Van Gogh, “The Sower”

Today is May 29, 2013,  two and a half years into a life-changing course of treatment called  “Dialectical Behavioral Therapy,” a program  designed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, herself a survivor of the mental healthcare system, a system still operating under the insidious influence of a puritanical and damning western society.

And for folks who fit into the category of having been born with such an intense kind of wiring, it’s oftentimes a lonely road. “If you are overtly emotional and suicidal, then you must not be praying hard enough or trying hard enough to change” they tell us as if that kind of judgement would make a body feel any less alienated and strange.

The Way Out, or Suicidal Ideation: George Grie...

The Way Out, or Suicidal Ideation: George Grie, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For me, it’s been a chorus for years inside the walls of my brain.  Over and over to the point where that tired old tune becomes the default of all thinking, the root that strangles and rambles through every nerve and neuron. The soundtrack of my life until the day I was moved to the top of a waiting list to receive this new therapy, one born of Dr. Linehan’s own struggle and study of traditional academics and Eastern spirituality.  I know I owe my life to this treatment.  I also owe it to the doctors and team of specialists it has taken to help me move towards wellness.

It is for them I am writing this, but also for the countless numbers of other borderlines, who must not only deal with symptoms of their illness, but also each the stigma of being categorized as someone whose personality is disordered, someone  incapable of having a stable relationship, gainful employment and the list goes on and on ad nauseam, dismissed and discarded mostly by a world that would rather categorize us as manipulative as lead us to relief from the awfulness of states created by brain chemistry.

Your cries for help go unanswered.  Your desperate and imperfect attempts at connection falling into a grand canyon to echo as reminders of your utter unlovableness.  You are told to pull yourself up by your broken bootstraps and buck up.  To grow a thicker skin and endure it like the rest of us.

Don’t call if you in the hospital. Don’t tell us if you are buying the supplies to do yourself in. We cannot bear the burden of your suffering.

We have had our fill of this illness. And we are just letting go of you and letting God.

But that was then. Now, with the right kind of help, there lies hope and healing.  Help that includes validation and radical acceptance, non-judgement, inclusion, caring, compassion and kindness.

Imagine it.  The universal message of every single spiritual path in existence, the core beliefs sans the politics and hatred, beliefs that unite and empower us as individuals but also as members of the human community.

So now instead of letting my illness rule my life, I am letting the love do the work. I am letting myself share that love.  And surprisingly, the suicide attempts and the romanticism of those attempts are over.  The stashing of pills and sharp objects, the dream of death and the sweet relief I always believed it would bring.  In a life of mostly nightmares, I am beginning to dream something different.  I am learning to save my life by embracing the moment and being present for whatever is born of that moment.

Last night I dreamed I was looking at this enormous glowing harvest moon taking up half the sky and upon closer observation, I could see that it wasn’t really the moon, just a projection of a map of the solar system, one that I had fed to the imagined  overhead projector in my upstairs bedroom, the bedroom I had at eight, three years into the realization that I was so different I wanted to die.  The bedroom where the nightmares began.  The ones where I watched as the demons crawled up the blinds in flames, their pitchforks and sickles aimed in my general direction, the fake angels hovering about my bed and shaking their forked fingers at me in my sleep.

But last night, I made a new memory of what dreams can do.

The moon in the sky had my first name on it, but only because I had inked that name on the map of the universe.   Without the conscious recognition it takes to find the words to describe such an experience, I had already landed, taken my first small steps towards infinity and planted my tattered flag .

High voltage from a Van de Graaff generator pr...

High voltage from a Van de Graaff generator produces a field that is made visible with an overhead projector (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Letting Go of Dawn. . . Unraveling and Madness in Progress (working title)

Hello, gentle reader.  What follows is the first chapter of a work in progress, a memoir of bipolar, borderline, mental illness. . .PTSD and journey of healing

The first time I saw a therapist, I was nineteen.  Newly married post- miscarriage.  Her name was Marilyn and she was the quintessential earth mother, comforter and confidante.  I don’t even know how we managed to pay for the sessions, my highschool sweetheart- turned-husband and I.

He had been stationed in the Mojave Desert with the Navy and I was a bride in a rose-colored going away blazer, my little green Nova packed to the gills with leftovers from the reception and wedding presents. We had a cooler full of ham sandwiches and peach- frosted wedding cake, a menu which sustained us for much of the trip.  I still remember the way that heavy butter-cream would melt on my tongue as I watched the panorama of the plains go by.   We drove straight through from Chicago to Nevada, stopping at a Holiday Inn somewhere in the vicinity of Lake Tahoe to rest, get washed and phone home.  We proceeded to our tiny place in California, my husband’s bachelor apartment, only to move out  in a couple of weeks and settle into a two bedroom cinderblock in base housing.

It was my first time leaving my parents home outside of summer camp and grandma’s house.  First time traveling west of the Mississippi.

So when we got there, I didn’t know a soul. ..just my beloved initially and it was idyllic.   Eventually he introduced his navy buddy, Tom, who’d also just gotten married.  Tom’s wife Dawn and I became fast sisters.  She’d been one of those Estee Lauder girls at a Hudson’s in their hometown  of Detroit, beautiful and so much more sophisticated than me.  “You’re so funny, ” she’d say, “always rubbing the eyeshadow off with your fists. . . and such pretty eyes. .here let me show you how.”

We did everything together, the four of us.  When the boys were at work, Dawn and I did our girl-bonding routine , going over and over the details from our respective coursthips that led to the wedding and honeymoon we’d each just had, (I always thought that Dawn’s shebang was so much more spectacular than mine. . .they’d had the blowout version with the band and the big reception hall. . .and I had taken the more affordable route, with champagne punch and potluck in the adjoining basement of our church)  And when we weren’t talking about the joy of sex and friendship with a significant other, we were comparing recipes and exchanging nest-making tips. So no big surprises when we both ended up expecting.  For the first few weeks, our shared experience of early pregnancy was all we wanted to talk about.  So many preparations and things to get ready.  The books and charts that showed us what to look forward to as the child grew inside us, the split vision illustrations of hips and insides, not to mention those first doctor visits. . .from giant vitamins and dietary advice to explanations of what to expect during labor and delivery.

I started the squirreling-away process beginning with soft yellow blankets, baby lotion, teething rings and diapering powder.  I would stand at the closet and twist at those caps just to get that smell. . .that new baby in my arms smell.  I loved my husband so.  I wanted what any young girl wants when she evaporates into marriage.  I wanted the lullabies and nursery rhymes.  The bubblebaths and baby shampoo. The car seat, the crib linens. . .  I wanted to be useful.  I wanted to be a wife and mother.

And then, about three months into my pregnancy, it started.  The cramping and spotting.  The doctor-prescribed bed rest for days.   At some point, after having heard someone comment about the luxury it must have been to lie in bed all day.  .I don’t even remember who had said it, the madness began.  Madness that hadn’t been around so much since I’d left home, but familiar and indescribable at the time.  I’d no more had a clue about how to articulate those feelings or even begin to grasp the science and physiology behind it, but there it was again, that crazy insane self-punishment mode that always kicked in when I felt helpless and afraid.  It made this surge of angry energy just course through my body and brain until I had resolved to do everything in my power to be awake and making a difference. I began by moving the bed and dresser across the floor.  I wanted to make space to put the crib in our room and wasn’t about to enlist the help of my hard-working husband to do it after he got home. I had been told specifically to rest and refrain from heavy lifting, but the memory of that advice only made me stronger in my resolve.  I just pushed and pushed until the guilt came in and made me stop it.  I may have been hurting myself with those self-destructive and defiant activitiies, but I was also taking a  big risk with the baby I wanted to have so badly.

I remember how it felt, how incredibly exposed it felt when the bleeding came.  Great clots of it like calf’s liver. . .gelatinous masses I tried to gather in my hands and preserve with newspaper.  I wasn’t prepared for anything that came next.  The emergency room where they jabbed and jabbed at my hands with their attempts to find vein enough to start an IV.   The ward of women. . .only those curtain partitions down the long hallway of hospital beds and the sounds of someone moaning in tagalog.  Oy yoi yoi yoi.  Oy yoi yoi yoi.   I would hear it over and over, invisible like the song of a mourning dove with a broken neck.   Until one day I was able to see her face when our curtains had both been pulled back.   The nurse said she was recovering from hysterectomy; I guessed that must be one horrific recovery process.  Everything just seemed so cold there.  From the stiff sheets and blankets to the stark white walls and linoleum.  Everything a desolation of sensory input.  No warm smells or images to speak of.  Not even television to help the time pass.  Just the scent of rubbing alcohol, bleach, and pine cleaner.  There was a cold war going on at the time and this military installation was not going to splurge on anything so frivolous as a picture frame, carpet,or drapery.  The family that was not issued with the sailor’s duffle bag was lucky to have healthcare let alone any kind of comforting or diversion while they lay in bed and waited for the painkillers to kick in.

A minute or so later, I heard the sound of the metal drapery hooks scraping along the ceiling track as the internist came in holding his clipboard.

“You have a mass near your ovary,” he said.  It’s large like a grapefruit. . .and we won’t be sure of what it is until we operate; I am so very sorry to have to tell you this, Ma’am, but you should know that it’s a possibility that you will not even pass a fetus with this miscarriage; sometimes you see this with an ectopic pregnancy.”

I was so young I didn’t know any of those latin words for medicine, but I did know the layman’s term.

“Tubal pregnancy, you mean?”

“Either that or a tumor,” he said.  “And we need you to sign a release.  Won’t be able to ask after you’re under anesthesia.”

I read over the release form which stated they would be removing all problematic tissue as they encountered it:  ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus. . .

“A hysterectomy?”  I said.

I knew that latin word well enough to ask.

“Yes, but that’s worst case scenario.” he said.  “We won’t know until we get in there.”

I was so alone and there was nobody to talk to except the Filipino lady three curtains down and she could only speak in tagalog.  I had everlasting cramps from hell and my husband was off at work learning how to fix the engines of cargo planes and fighter jets. Meanwhile it seemed that Dawn was too afraid it may have been contagious or maybe she’d just left town.  I just felt abandoned and oh so jealous. I signed the paper that put my reproductive future in the hands of strangers in the LeMoore NAS Navy hospital.   I was nineteen. I didn’t know anything could hurt as bad as this did.

I passed the three month old fetus and placenta in the middle of the night among surges of violent and massive contractions.

And when it was over, when I went home with news the mass in my lap had been removed and biopsied as a benign tumor, I should have been relieved.  I should have been happy to help Dawn bring her baby into this world while I waited to get pregnant again.  But instead,  I took my vicoden and went to bed.  And as the bikini scar began to heal. ..in the place where it had been stapled, my psyche began to unravel.  And upon waking up and walking around on my sealegs, I found the intensity of daylight a little too much to bear.  I closed the curtains all over the house and went to bed again.  And I cried so inconsolably my husband insisted I see someone. His mother had been through it, the doctors and hospitals of depression.  And she had gotten better over the years.  So maybe there was hope for me too.

So I went to therapy.  I went to meet my therapist, Marilyn.  (to be cont.)

Posted: No Trespassing

Screenshot of Brittany Murphy, “Girl Interrupted

A long bus ride to a dental school destination across the river…a stop in the most dangerous community in like the entire world, but also the most wise and loving people living there and gentle…so there is lots of time to talk with fascinating and inspiring strangers (I always imagine them all  to be angels…but if not, then it must be someone earthbound who’s made a bargain with the divine saying it’s OK to use their skin for awhile)

And anyway there’s this man talking about what he would do if he won the lottery, how he’d spend his winnings …and another one saying it would be just as hard to be a billionaire as to be poor as dirt. . .and I jumped in, more or less agreeing…but also thinking of that Dylan-inspired Kristofferson line that says, “Freedom’s just a another word for nothing left to lose.”

And then strangely, as he didn’t seem like the kind of person who’d be into such things, he starts talking horoscopes and signs.  So I tell him I”m a Libra…

and he says, “Ahh. ..well, you know, Libra is an air sign so that means you spend a lot of time taking it all in from this very high place…like a bird on a skyscraper…or you know…the flying nun.

You aren’t satisfied like all those folks who walk close to the ground and do what they are told…you can’t make a move before you feel like you have got a sense of the bigger picture, an activity which, taken to extremes, can be at times unbearably awful…you think and think so much it makes your brain hurt.  And you need a rest sometimes, a lot of rest because going that high can take its toll on a body.

I mean nothing Honey, if it aint free.

Tess F’s Most Excellent List of Superheroes Who Do Not Exist, But You Really Wish They Did

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman (Photo credit: Looking Glass)

(Note to parents: This post contains openthroated gut spiattering emo stuff nobody wants to let themselves see let alone the kids looking over their shoulders.  You might want to close your eyes for this one)

OK so it will probably take awhile for me to come up with more of an actual list here, but I just really needed to get this off my chest and say that I am tired of doing everybody else’s job instead of mine right now,

and that is being a  hideous sycophant to the point of no return, free to roam the earth and lick the shoes of mean people everywhere:

Ahem. So here is number one and if you want more, you will just have to invent them yourself because I am spent from trying to digest most copious amounts of wax and lacquer:

Tess F’s Excellent List of Superheroes Who Don’t Exist, But You Really Wish They Did

And the Reasons Why We Need Em:

1.Tess F’s Most Excellent and Much Needed Frankenterminator and How!!!

Reason A: We need somebody to ice that guy Frank because he never has anything productive to add to the conversation.

Reason B: There is no reason B.  Reason A is reason enough.:) ibid et al see the reason below:

“Madam, may I please be be Frank?”

“Don’t call me Madam.  I am not the kind of a girl.”

“Mademoiselle, please.  I simply must be frank.”

“Ummm, well hmm. ..Mademoiselle is much Frencher and I like French, but tell me this first please: what happens to YOU when Frank takes over?.”

“Well, you might not like what I am about to say, but alas I feel I must be. . .”

The League of Frightened Men (1937 film)

Image via Wikipedia

“Oh, whoa. Dear me.  Somebody please save me from the awfulness of truth!”

Dun Da Da Presto!  Enter Frankenterminator

“FrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrtttTTTTTTTTT

fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffrittitittatfirtitittatffffffffffffffffffffffffit.

I’ll be back!

There.  Aren’t you glad I invented him?  Now you can be an idiot all you want and nobody will be the wiser.  :But especially you.

OK.  My job is over for today.  Now it’s your turn.

My Blue Heaven

--Tess Farnham "My Blue Heaven," mixed media on canvas, 20x24

So in the past, I have admitted to being one of those artists who grapples with intense bouts of sadness, bouts that are at times so gripping and intense you can barely hold a brush in your hand, let alone steady the thing for detail or realism.  The curves turn linear and the lines wave and bend with trembling.  You erase and erase until the frustration just leads to tears and the tearing up of preliminary sketches and grids. 

At some point in this process you finally get so exasperated, you just grab the closest implement of application and let the strokes go where they will.

This piece actually began as a much darker work with lots of primary colors for contrast; it was a piece that I cherished mostly because its importance to a friend of mine, nevertheless, a piece that I had more or less made to suit his tastes instead of mine.

As it happens, I store blank canvases in the same corner of the basement where I store finished works.  And the other night as I was flipping through to find the size I wanted, my eyes fell upon that painting. ..and I started to think of how much I wanted to take out those awful strokes of ocher and red. . . 

So instead of starting fresh, I decided to go to work there. 

After I had taken this painting upstairs, I noticed that there was a tiny ding in the wood support where it had been dropped on the basement floor.  At first discouraged by this discovery, I quickly recovered when I realized I could patch it.

With lacy mesh from an old curtain panel, its mate lost in the fog somewhere now.  A slumping and ravaged mishap in a heap on the chair beside the easel like a castoff bridal veil. 

I cut the bandages haphazardly, applying them to the corners of the canvas as reinforcement. Afterwards, I applied some gel medium and paint to anchor them.

Next came coats of color and gel medium mixed with pearlescent powders to address the areas where the piece had fallen short of my vision of a completed work. Blues and maroons, mixed and unmixed with dabs of this and that and at times patched together with leaves shakily extracted from that cast off curtain.

A couple of hours later,  I was finished.  Happy and satiated that I’d lifted myself out of this sad spell, but also had done sufficient triage to resurrect a work that had gone to a corner of my basement to die.

Letting go of heartbreak songs

In matters of self-education and scholarly pursuit, I can be honest and say for the most part, there has always been motivation enough to make me wise and willing to learn.  In matters of the heart however, I have been remiss with myself and sorry.  And, in looking back all I can say is: Man am I a sap and a moron.

I almost never listen to mainstream pop or country so this song is new to me. ..and it’s coming at a time when I could use a reminder of what really happens after having let yourself be stupid to the point of laying face up on the floor like a golden retriever: here ya go, trample my guts and eat my heart out.

And sad songs are OK when you want to cry, but if you want to get angry and get over it so you can get on with it. ..I think Reba says it best.

Watch this one.  Even if you have to click the link and wait for the advertising.  It will be worth it!

For the Students at the Back of the Room, the Faith-Based Believers from the “Writing God” Experiment

Chagall's Window at All Saints Church Tudeley,...

Image via WikipediaImage via Wikipedia

A day or so ago, I wrote about the “God” creative writing experiment and mentioned how illuminating it was to listen as my  students read their free-writes and spontaneous poetry aloud.  And also how it began with one student sort of expressing reticence about speaking his mind because he seemed to fear it would lead to judgement and criticism, but that as he read, he just grew stronger and more grounded in his personal beliefs and was reassured by several other students who more or less shared similar feelings.

I also explained that my next goal was help draw out the shyer students at the back of the class, those who seemed to fear the same thing.  The latter pair also struggling to share as well.

I had left the class feeling like I needed to validate where they were coming from as we had spent quite a bit of our discussion time on fears and doubts and breaking free of what many saw as a form of forced faith. . .something that was more or less handed down from generation to generation, strong in traditional adherence to a set of rules that didn’t always resonate.

We were able to establish common ground and caring, looking to core beliefs such as the practice of love and compassion. . .it was the dogma that more or less got in the way of a meeting of the minds.

Some students admitted that while they felt uncomfortable with the inconsistencies and hypocrisy practiced by others of their chosen faith, they themselves were still able to find peace and freedom in another kind of upbringing, one wherein those core beliefs remained the basis for their spiritual existence,  and this at times within the same setting that had left so many feeling oppressed and questioning.

And I left class feeling kind of sad for them, as it seemed as if they too were struggling to be heard.

So this motivated me to search for poems to help draw them out a little, maybe explore some ways to write about their own journeys, as these like-minded writers had done.

And so here then is some inspiration and validation for them:

Gerard Manley “Hip” Hopkins, “Spring”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=WhQwFf6Qb9U&NR=1

William Blake

The Angel that presided ‘oer my birth
by William Blake
The Angel that presided 'oer my birth
Said, "Little creature, form'd of Joy and Mirth,
"Go love without the help of any Thing on Earth."

Bob Dylan, sung by Emmy Lou Harris:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHgzOkeCgVY&feature=related

direct link to “Every Grain of Sand” in case the above imbedded one malfunctions.  🙂

We Shall Overcome  😉

Love,

Professor Tess