"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty

Posts tagged ‘Family’

Daily Prompt Love <3 Another Chance: A Very Special Birthday Prompt

19 May 2017

Seven years ago today, my oldest son J was in a terrible car accident, his little plastic Saturn sedan t-boned by a brand new Dodge Charger with its all-steel construction.

J, my laughing, charismatic, kind, smart son, only 22 then, was critically injured, with a compression skull fracture, subdural hematoma, subarachnoid hemorrhaging, and four feather bleeds into his beautiful brain. They airlifted him by helicopter from our small town to the major medical facility, MCV, in Richmond, admitting him directly into the neurological ICU. He was conscious the whole time, talking, joking, charming the nurses, complaining that he couldn’t look out the window on his first-ever helicopter ride, even saying things meant to reassure me, his sister, his brother, the friends who stood by us at the hospital. We bedded down in the ICU waiting room, while behind those heavy doors, monitors clicked and hummed, documenting my son’s traumatic brain injury. That was Wednesday. 

Early Thursday afternoon, as I stood as J’s bedside, a doctor we hadn’t seen before strode in, his crisp white lab coat flowing behind him. He introduced himself as the head of neurological research, and after a moment, he asked us if we had seen J’s latest CT scan. We hadn’t, so he hurried from the room, telling us he’d be right back. J and I looked at each other, confused, and my son must have seen worry in my eyes, as he patted my hand. 

The doctor returned, wheeling in a large piece of equipment, a medical imaging viewer, and positioned it at the end of J’s ICU bed. He turned it on and the image of my son’s skull appeared,  stark in the black and whiteness of it all. For a second, we were completely silent. Then the doctor, smiling, began to explain what we were seeing.

What we were seeing was nothing: no bleeding, no bruising, no swelling. The only sign that remained of my son’s injury just 24 hours before was the spiderweb of fractures in the bone, as if a pencil eraser had been pushed into the fragile shell of an egg, a network of bone break just beneath the C-shaped wound on the side of his head.  J’s brain looked completely normal, showing not a single other sign of the blow he’d taken the day before in the wreck that had left his little car mangled, left nothing but the driver’s seat intact. 

The doctor grinned, saying, “We want to study you, study why and how you healed so quickly.”

That was Thursday. We brought J home midday on Friday. Six weeks later, he was back at work, then back to his last year of college that fall. We talked time and again about his miraculous healing, about why it might have happened. 

J, my wise son, said, “Mom, I don’t know why it happened. I just know I got another chance.” 

He now calls May 19 his birthday. His Facebook status this morning read, “Today, I am alive.” 

Make art about being given another chance. 

 

J and Max

 

 

 

Daily Prompt Catch-Up <3 Family, Ground, and Grief

8 April 2017

First Birthday party today for my grandson!

Make art about the miracles of family. 

max laughing

 

9 April 2017

Tilling in the summer garden today.

Make art about breaking ground. 

breaking ground

10 April 2017

A friend of mine lost ten family members in the recent tragic events in Syria. 

Make art about extreme loss, or extreme grief. 

grief-reaction

Daily Prompt Love <3 Getting Lost, and Finding Home

11 March 2017

Spent the day lost in a book. 

Make art about being lost in a good way.

lost good way

12 March 2017

Dreamt a future conversation with my grandson, where we talked about what it meant to create home wherever you are, that our true home is what we carry inside us, from our experiences, from the ancestors. He nodded solemnly, as if he already knew this. 

Make art about where home is, or how we create home. 

home heart ancestors

 

Daily Prompt Love Catch-Up <3 Uncles & Curiosity

4 March 2017

In many cultures, the teaching of heritage and cultural practices is carried out by members of the extended family, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. In certain cultures, this relationship and teaching is formally recognized, and in cultures with matrilineal descent is referred to as the avunculate, sometimes called avunculism or avuncularism, a social institution where a special relationship exists between an uncle and his sisters’ children. Several Native American tribes practice a form of this, where the uncle is responsible for teaching the children social values and proper behavior while inheritance and ancestry is reckoned through the mother’s family alone. Modern day influences have somewhat but not completely erased this tradition.

Thinking on this especially today, as I watch my sons interact with their sister’s baby son, my GrandPerson Max <3. Thinking on it too, as it’s the weekend of my lovely daughter’s birthday, and my own brother, Bill, now gone on to the next life, was present and there for her literally from the moment she first drew breath. He remained a constant source of Love and education for all of my kids until he left us. My daughter Lia couldn’t say ‘Uncle Bill’ when she was small; it came out ‘Opie Gill.’  So now her brothers are not just ‘Uncles’ to her son, but ‘Opies.” Important job they have ❤ And I have no doubt they’ll honor it well. 

Make art about extended family, about aunts, or uncles, about those elders from whom we learn our culture. 

j-and-max

5 March 2017

Spent the day with my sons, two wise and funny young men.  The two things that impress me about both of them are: 1) their shared sense of honor, and 2) their shared insatiable curiosity. They are both always–always–learning something new, or seeking to learn something new, or thinking about how they can learn something new. 

Make art about learning, about loving to learn, about the magic and mystery of curiosity. 

curiosity_quote

 

 

Daily Prompt Love <3 Unexpected Letters

1/9/2017

My daddy was a sweet, gentle, and wildly imperfect man. But one thing that we all knew, without question, was how much he loved our mama. And lest we forget, periodically, he would sit down and write a letter to each of us kids, telling us how much, and all the reasons why. We all lived in the same town, for so many years, but these letters would arrive unexpectedly in the mail, missives of fierce and eternal Love. 

Make art about an unexpected letter, or about fierce Love. 

img_7412

 

Daily Prompt Love <3 One Body, Many Parts

12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body…13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.

15 Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 16 And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18 God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body?20 As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.

21 The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23 The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor.–1 Corinthians 12:12-23 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Make art about Connectedness, the inescapability of how we are all connected.

one-body-many-parts

 

 

Must Read–and Must See–Monday: Poetry of Witness

 

poetry-of-witness-posterSomething a little different this week: recommending a documentary, Poetry of Witness. Poetry of Witness is a 2015 documentary film directed by Billy Tooma and Anthony Cirilo about the lives of six contemporary poets who have lived through, and survived, extremities such as war, torture, exile, and repression, using poetry to preserve their memories.It debuted October 16, 2015 at the Buffalo International Film Festival.

The film documents the struggle of six contemporary poets who have faced the duress of war, exile, and human rights violations to give voice to their experiences while wrestling with the complex moral quandaries of artistic production, memory, and trauma. The poets: Carolyn Forché (Salvadoran Civil War), Saghi Ghahraman (Iranian Revolution), Fady Joudah (Doctors Without Borders), Claudia Serea (Socialist Republic of Romania), Mario Susko (Bosnian War), and Bruce Weigl (Vietnam War) offer first-person accounts of how their experiences as soldier, activist, doctor, and survivor imprint their poetry as evidence of those conflicts, rather than as representations of them.

Buy Poetry of Witness: The Documentary

A Couple of Suggested Anthologies (there are so many more…)

Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness

Award winning poet Carolyn Forché spent 13 years compiling Against Forgetting: 20th Century Poetry of Witness. It is an exhaustive and illuminating work of breadth, beauty, wisdom and tragedy.

Poetry of Witness: The Tradition in English, 1500 – 2001

More about the Poetry of Witness

Anthony Cirilo Talks about Poetry of Witness

Carolyn Forché talks about the poetry of witness

Poet Carolyn Forché gathers 500 years of suffering in new anthology

Sandra Beasley: “Flint and Tinder – Understanding the Difference Between ‘Poetry of Witness’ and ‘Documentary Poetics’”

More About Against Forgetting at3Generations

Love y’all. 

Mary

 

 

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