Thursday, May 6, 2010

When Darkness Falls

A winter's day in a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock, I am an island.
I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship;
friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock, I am an island.
Don't talk of love,
But I've heard the words before;
It's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock, I am an island.
I have my books,
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock, I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.
—Simon and Garfield.
Tonight this is what plays at this late hour—music from my very first album purchase. A musical icon of individuality from the 1960's. Yet they followed up with the opposing mantra "A Bridge Over Troubled Water".
Like my sister Mary, I enjoy music that has poetry behind it. Unlike Mary and my husband Jim, I enjoy working to it. The words and musical compositions unsettle the unspoken words of Mary, the writer, the to be figured mathematical compositions of Jim, the engineer.
As I paint or create art, a deep river of rich inputs flow through my mind. Perhaps it is the nature of the paint brush or of creating imagery. The brush does not detail words or code, but reflects back color, light, emotion. True I do chose music that supports my current project in some ways....

I just can't always describe beforehand what that may be.
Debbie, a dear painter friend whom I truly respect wrote on Facebook "your painting and writing show your sensitivity and style, but the hours you keep prove that you're the real deal!!". First—thanks Deb for the compliment! But I may just be crazy, the hours are a bit of a struggle. When I am painting I tend to only get 4 or so hours of sleep and then head off to an intense day of work. But there is no choice and I do not know if I would chose differently. Well maybe, like most of us, add hours to the day.
I am not an island. My day job propels and informs my sleepless, yet dreams-made-real night.
We are working on an intense project at the moment with the students at the EMC—one that I believe can reach into the deepest, darkest private worlds of domestic violence and create a global shift. No more women cowering in corners afraid of their partners, no more 9 year old girls sold or kidnapped as sex slaves to die young from AIDS ...can YOU imagine 9 year olds! And no more believing that violence is the way to make it to the top—is that pile worth being the top of?????
I have my story but this project has bound me to seemingly opposite lives: the creativity of my students and colleagues, the passion of those who work on this issue daily such as the fine group at PMC and the United Nations, to poor, under-educated children around the world, and to the girls and women whose lives are not valued from the day they are conceived. Those who are subject to atrocities, far more horrendous to be detailed—their stories haunt my dreams.
And this is in my head as I paint...and I have never felt less like a rock—or more connected to the river of thought and creativity—or more able to give and receive.

"cut him till he cried out in his anger and his pain....lie, la, lie, lie, lie,lie, lie, lie..."

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