Friday, February 26, 2010

Life Speaks to Me in Signs . . .

And When It Does, I Listen.

As I said before, I am not new to being open to 'signs' when they show themselves - sometimes just when I need them and often when I least expect them. The next were a bit of both.

The second sign came to me the day after my return from Harbin in the form of a request. My friend and vocal instructor Scarlett asked me if I might create a special clay piece for her dear friend who is going through heavy chemo as well as a double mastectomy/reconstruction in the next few months. And would I include my own writings, which describe these pieces as ‘my life as a vessel’ – torn, carved, altered and delicately balanced?

I had been itching to get back into clay, wondering what direction I might take after finishing the 2D Dora and Anna commission. Just thinking about working on this theme again stirred my creative juices and of course, I agreed to do it without a second thought.

The third was an email I received yesterday from a dear friend whose daughter-in-law has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and who, according to my friend, would like to talk with me about my experiences, as she will be having a mastectomy/reconstruction in June. Of course I’m always available to share my experiences with any woman who has become a member of this sisterhood none of us ever wanted to join.

The final sign came again through an email from Joe, our friend and collector of my art over the years and who recently purchased one of the 2D series “Protector/Betrayer” which I created during my first bout with BC. He now owns the piece titled: “The Myth of the Cure.” (see August 2009 post - "My Life As A Vessel) And he wrote, “I wanted to tell you that after several months now it has been a source of inspiration living with your work of art. I love it.”

These signs have raised an internal mirror, which I can no longer ignore. I can see more clearly now who I am to myself and to those around me. I am the 64 year-old woman who lost her breast, and is no longer afraid to bare her body to the world. I am the creative person who has taken that loss and used it as her muse. I am the artist who takes her scarred soul and damaged body and with them, makes objects of beauty to be seen and admired and sometimes even loved.

Seeing this reflected in the internal mirror helps me accept a little more easily the deepening wrinkles and sagging skin, which is so obviously present in the external one. Not that I like it, but, hey, as I always say to my friends Nancy and Ricki when we go out every year to celebrate our birthdays together and I insist on taking pictures, “we’re never going to look as young as we do today.”

Do I take these birthday pictures as a sign?  Only when I can remember where I put them.

1 comment:

Janet Grace Riehl said...

Happy birthday! Happy 64 and the images reflected in your internal mirror. I like that metaphor and will use it when the external mirrow images of various types are daunting.

My long-time friend Alan Brody (Marilyn's brother) suggested your site to me.

I love the clay work especially as I was trained in clay sculpture at CCA(C) in Oakland.

The reference to Harbin was a lovely reminder of the riches in Northern California...a separate state to its twin in the South.

Janet Riehl