Author Archives: deemallon

What gets in the way?

It’s a good thing there are only 11 days left to Acey’s Collage Month* because it’s been so consuming! Consuming in a very good way, but consuming.

The next prompt: What gets in my way?

DOUBT is what first came to mind but I went with what came second to mind: LACK OF FAITH.

In particular: lack of faith in personal good outcomes. A train wreck is one of those things: ordinary and yet tragic. It could happen to anyone on their way to work. But it’s also rare, so why assume it’s only a matter of time until I’m sent off the rails?

In the second image, strips of a woodland creek scene butt up against photos of the disaster, as if the trees and water were complicit or at least, as if failing to offer protection.

Sorry for the glare here but the day is demanding that I move on.

A big thanks to LIZ, of the blog I’m Going to Texas, for sending me a big pot of YES paste. It’s sticky to the hands but so much more effective than what I was using. Thank you!

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Acey’s Collage Month.

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

Also, here’s a little minute plus that I made last night.

18 the center

Prompt #18

consider The Center of it all.  As that relates to you and your life/the world you’ve made around it.

More below*

Not sure I’ve done the prompt or a lead in to the prompt about Center, but here is: a sweet terrier in a lush enclosed garden, Saint Francis, the entrance to a place of worship, and hands cupping light.

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Acey’s Collage Month.

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

Prompt #18

consider The Center of it all.  As that relates to you and your life/the world you’ve made around it.

Not – although I know it’s a rather impossible ask but just try – the center that can’t hold.  Not the center of a statement you feel that you must personally make/carry/protect/live by and through as much as humanly possible. Not even the center of why your individual life feels important and vital to something larger than yourself. Instead focus on the center of our body’s coiled energy. Consider the center of your instincts and refined vision. The center of your heart – the never-had home so many of us don’t so much carry in our hearts as we are carried by it. The center rediscovered every time we have an opportunity to breathe deeply and just Keep Still(ness) for a moment.

Scissors to cut and to edit

Prompt #17*

Consider something extremely literal and mundane that’s central to your life and sense of well-being. How could you exalt this subject in a way that expresses its internalized value to you?

Scissors are indispensable to the quilter as actual tool and vital to the writer as a symbol for editing.

Yesterday, I cut rectangles of fabric for a crib quilt commission and cut out almost 3,000 words from my manuscript (where, by the way, snakes like this show up more than once).

The snakes add a mythic element.

Transformation: the shedding of skin.

Eternity: the snake eating its tail.

Death: by venomous fangs.

Meanwhile, The snow did NOT turn to rain as predicted.

And it‘s light and fluffy.

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Acey’s Collage Month.

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

Arms aloft Sufi

Found my protective talisman. My agent of change. My reminder of where transformation lies.

The whirling Dervish.

Coming of age as I did near New Lebanon, New York, the site of The Abode, I knew Sufis. Worked with a few at a Japanese restaurant near the intersection of Routes 20 and 22. Watched the waitresses go weak in the knees when Pir Vilayat Khan came to dine.

Even before that, though, I’d spent a summer working at a camp in Nova Scotia run by a Sufi. I bunked with another Sufi from Czechoslovakia (it was still around back then). I learned heart-centered meditation that summer, which competed with the TM I’d learned the year before. There was lots of storytelling and swimming naked in the sea, which is warm up there because of the Gulf Stream.

Years later, when I took part in a group that looked to Rumi for wisdom and occasionally cleared the floor to whirl, I was primed.

Whirling draws down heaven, even when you are a clod with no teacher and slim practice. Reliably so.

Somewhat like Grace’s Tree Woman, this glowing image of dervishes has been in my possession been for many, many years — most recently, pinned to the basement fridge (in my studio) with magnets. Ten years? More?

It wasn’t until cutting the outline of the Sufi that I realized the similarity of the arms held aloft to the girl running up the steps and the skateboarding boy.

Maybe it’s time to dance again? Or whirl?

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Prompt 16. Acey’s Collage Month.

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

Symbol versus talisman

Still in bed. Feel like I’ve taken on some of K’s jet lag. But my cold is gone.

Speaking of cold, yesterday I opened up the bedroom after cleaning, like I do. Turned the heat off. Put the fan in the window and switched it and the air purifier on. Meant to set a timer for 40 minutes and forgot.

Ooooh whee. It was 15 degrees here yesterday. Our mattress froze.

It was fine.

We’d just seen the movie about Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, Just Mercy. I cried more than once and, I don’t cry.

After the shortest possible jog (because of the cold), we ate at Bernard’s — a Chinese place that used to be in the mall and now sits on an access road the developers dubbed, “The Street” (what can I say? It’s Chestnut Hill?). After I blurted out that K had been to China 55 times (it’s really 52), our waiter became very attentive. I drank at least sixty ounces of water, for as soon as my glass neared empty, there came Quan with a refill. Smiling.

Anyway: after reading Grace’s post, I realized my response to Acey’s “Find a talisman or protector” prompt needs a redo.

That hooded guy is a symbol and a powerful one but he doesn’t feel like mine, in a way. He doesn’t even feel INTERESTED in me. That’s part of the point of him, in fact. His eyes his view his witnessing go to much bigger things. Or smaller. But not personal.

PS I discovered while cutting out another outline, that by clipping the hood and shortening one arm so that the figure appears to be facing forward with her arms extended (in a gesture of MERCY, in fact), the figure goes from male to female.

Yes, once the female arrived, it was clear that the other is male.

Where is your strength your totem

What totem, what symbol, what spirit of grace might show up at the table today?

Another provocative and well-timed prompt by Acey at the midpoint of Collage Month.*

I was flummoxed — which seemed like a version of an old script that says, ‘I have no support, no bolstering grace.’ The potential (provable) fallacy of such a view kicked up a healthy skepticism. I went off and cleaned the upstairs.

Autocorrect changed the parenthetical word above from “probable” to “provable.” The substituted sense is stronger and I will be collecting proofs of bolstering grace going forward.

Later, shifting papers around, it came to me that my totem had already shown up. Repeatedly.

It’s that silhouette. He is part ghost, part Jedi Master, part Arab (as signifier of the larger world). He looks backwards but moves forward. He shows up anywhere and everywhere. He is witness but also, IN and OF every landscape.

The figure holds mystery. How do I even know their gender?

I consciously put strips of paper in a couple of these compositions that reference language and textiles, two areas of pursuit in my life that might be considered redemptive.

The messier assemblage below points to issues of American history and racism, since those things often arise when making collages as well.

The boat etching could have come straight out of The 1619 Project: a scene of bodies being moved to a colony as chattel. Or perhaps these paddlers are already on some planter’s inventory and move merchandise from ship to shore. The gold paper scraps represent the vast sums of wealth generated on the backs of black bodies. The big bones overhanging — weighty, limiting, obscuring of the sky — represent structural racism. Lasting, like bones. Hidden, like bones. The tri-part composition seems to graphically reference the “wealth gap.”

Finally, I also came upon the photo below — an arrangement of pieced/loose sections laid out while studying the Middle Passage. The pieces never got assembled, making the picture the only incarnation of that particular thought.

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For info on this collage project see Acey’s blog

For more SoulCollage cards of mine, go to Flickr on sidebar and open the SoulCollage album. Or, track the ‘SoulCollage’ and ‘collage’ tags here on the blog.

The ‘slavery’ tag will take you to several years of thoughts about both history and my relationship to it.

Also: The New York Times published The 1619 Project, but I didn’t link to them because of their firewall. If you subscribe, go there first. The NYTimes podcast The Daily, put out several Saturday episodes expanding on the topic which were moving and informative.

Originator of the project: Nikole Hannah-Jones @nhannahjones (on Instagram). There’s also a hashtag: #1619project.

I couldn’t capture it

The light was beautiful for Finn’s and my second walk and it defied capture. We made the long loop at three instead of at nine because it was raining this morning. Also, it’s supposed to be in the teens tomorrow with 30-40 mph winds and we might not want to venture far.

The wires caught the sunlight, making them jewel-like. Two banks of clouds in the distance sandwiched intense light.

Now I’ve got one heating pad on my lower back and one on my hips. I’m glad that K is due to arrive at Logan soon so that he and Finn can galavant together this weekend. I’m pooped. It was China AND Korea this time and he closed another deal.

As for Collage Month, I can tell you that I am very attached to the spooky silhouettes, the gorgeous dancers, and the references to flight made by wings, skateboarders, and that girl running up the steps.

Less enthralled with references to sight and vision. Tore out the drawing. The stitched bookcase. All clunky and obvious.

In every case, I prefer the digital rendering to the actual collage. Except maybe for the two below.

It occurs to me that in order to better experiment as well as to bring some of the pages up to where I find them exciting, I may be dissembling the sketchbook. Thank you resourceful readers for tips on glue. Will be trying them all out soon!

This morning I paired a beautiful profile of Prince with some Chinese round art, positioned like haloes. I want to find a place for him.