Home, prison, companions

Continuing with Collage Month.* Sort of.

Prompt #22: Breathe deeply and visualize a place that you love. Send it a Valentine.

It may be trite to say that home is a place I love, but it truly is. What follows is a little bit more of a meditation than a valentine — one that includes ‘home’ as well as intellectual/heart preoccupations that have taken place within its walls. Maybe a valentine is to follow.

The nest: a classic symbol of home. My nest is empty now, but it hasn’t t always been.

I put the photo of the prison work force picking cotton behind the nest as a way of saying that from the comfort of my home (and my white privilege), I’ve been able to delve into the darkest period of our nation’s history — a history that some would say hasn’t really ended because ‘slavery didn’t disappear, it evolved’ — unpaid or barely paid prison work forces who are disproportionately black standing as one piece of evidence.

When I noticed what looks like tufts of cotton in the bird’s nest, I thought, “how appropriate,” offering symbolic testament to how the comforts and ease of my life are facilitated by the color of my skin, purchased with black sweat and suffering.

It is my belief that once you truly internalize this, you cannot help but support reparations. (See the Atlantic Article on sidebar).

Home (below), from this morning.

BTW, that first shot is not a double exposure but created by shooting the glass case of a cabinet.

Then I went to find a companion for the tree as directed by Acey in Prompt 21, only to discover I’d already inserted one.

Before discovering Stag Boy already glued in, I’d had the impulse to add a fabulous couple, clipped from Vogue or Elle ages ago. It is the only SoulCollage card I’ve ever made with a single clipped image. I love them so much.

But then my printer went wonky and even after replacing the color cartridge, produced some bizarre and intriguing results.

It’s weird how the stripes continued the reference to prisons.

Prison vs home.

And then, because it came up, here’s an old SoulCollage card about America. You’ll recognize the lead from True Blood.

Not sure you can see, but there is a tear falling down her cheek.

Okay, one more. A less literal more Feeling State card about America.


Acey’s Collage Month.

See also my Flickr album, SoulCollage, and the tags for SoulCollage and collage here on the blog.


15 thoughts on “Home, prison, companions

  1. Acey

    A wonderful post. You have an evening more wonderful home. Nothing trite about loving it. Especially when paired with such mindful ruminations.

    I think a lot about the collective cost for others within the course of my average day. Multiplying it by community sized numbers and wondering where the crippling level of disparity can ever be dismantled effectively …

    1. deemallon

      Heard a great response by Ta Nehisi-Coates (who wrote the reparations article in side bar), to question “how on earth do you make reparations policy?” And he said, “I’m a writer. There are smart people out there who know how to figure these things out.”

      I don’t think I’ll live to see a political climate that would ever support such a policy.

  2. Liz A

    So glad your comment link returned so I could say publicly how much I love that “low printer ink” result … next time I run low (of course I just replaced my cartridges), I’ll be sure to have some pictures in reserve to print thusly

    1. deemallon

      Thanks for letting me know. It seems I need to be checking my wordpress dashboard more often.

      I’ve never seen a low ink result like this. Usually it’s awful pinks and washed out other colors. In person these copies are delicious!

  3. Acey

    I got those bars on my old printer and loved what happened. Only way I found to somewhat duplicate it is to print photos on small address labels, peel them off and separate on paper the color you’d like the bars to be.

    Sometimes I love the awful washed-out pinks for cutting apart and contrasting with pieces of the same image but with proper color distribution. At times when the pinks are still vivid and bits of yellow streak through everything looks like a permutation of the Aladdin Sane album cover.

  4. Mo Crow

    (((Dee))) you have a very beautful nest & love the banded image, my old Epson from early this century did that just before it went to printer heaven, have sworn by Canon’s ever since, the latest is 11 years old and still going strong!

    1. deemallon

      Eleven years is impressive! We’ve had epsons and hps and they all seem to be semi-disposable products.

  5. nancy

    So much here to love, mostly you and your big heart. Your home is beautiful. I still wish we could have met when I was there. Boo. Love seeing you, the Christmas cactus, and the red books with the black bands, which remind me so much of books on my mama’s shelf. And then there is your couple in their prison garb…what a great effect! Perhaps they should be ones out there picking cotton? Great post Dee.

  6. Anonymous

    hooray the link is back for comments 🙂 I commend your ability to draw back that invisible curtain that keeps dividing the human race by a class, skin color, historic perspective, education, and all our various versions of reality that can become destructive. To me, you create these visual experiences as gifts to see there is a spiritual common ground. I can imagine myself looking in the window of this house, expecting to envy your way of life but then I don’t experience envy, I find thoughtful intentional work going on inside that feeds others with a love of life. Sounds so sappy. However the juxtapositions you create bring forth the life of a seeker. Your version of possible truth expressed through art (choose whatever medium) seeks truth in a language that can’t be negated, and the disruption is somehow healing. There are people who do not seek common ground, and I hope they will all get to see your work someday, like we do. If they had a chance to see your whirling dancers, for example – if only briefly, I imagine a seed of hope might be planted to stop the violence and take on building peace.

    1. deemallon

      Wow thank you Maggie. Perhaps a slightly exalted view, but I’ll take it. Especially on a grey day when it isn’t clear to me WHAT I accomplish.

  7. imperfect dabbler

    I once held a hummingbird nest of cotton, most likely cottonwood tree seedings but the softness similar in a bud picked from a cotton field. Often I’ll say pull over, let me just stand in that field to fully feel what the pickers endured. You bring such food for thought with your art. A beautiful storyteller.❤️

    1. deemallon

      oooh the idea of holding such a nest is heaven, somehow. Standing in a field of cotton would be one way to develop compassion. A grounded way, literally.


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