26 March 2020
My grandmothers. Two women from completely different worlds, cultures, backgrounds, across a vast socioeconomic divide, brought together at the end of their lives, because my parents loved each other, and loved them.
From Miz Pearl I learned about survival, food preservation, foraging, mending, how to find and create beauty even on the darkest days, and the power of prayer, especially when it’s sung. From Miz Ann I learned about the joy to be found in making things with your hands, the value of being a smartass, the pervasive connection of laughter, which fork to use 🙂 and how even the brashest and most self-regarding among us can learn the power of gratitude and humility.
Fierce women, strong women, wise women, loving women, despite the brokenness life dealt both of them. When they lived together, sharing the same room in my parents’ house, in the twilight of their lives, they became unlikely friends and sisters. ‘Cause that’s what Love does.
Make art about what you’ve learned from elders, about the gifts they bring to our lives.
28 June 2019
Make art about underappreciated, unsung, nobility.
16 June 2019
My dad was one of the funniest, gentlest souls to ever walk the planet. I wish my youngest son had had more time with him.
Make art about grandfathers.
11 June 2019
Make art about the wisdom of old women, about the dangerous old woman.
30 April 2017
I asked for a dream before going to sleep last night, a dream that would help me to solve a problem, answer a question I had. In the ways in which I was raised, dreams were just one of multiple ways of learning, ways of knowing.
Unlike mainstream Western culture, which tends to limit ‘knowing’ to what is categorized as ‘rational,’ indigenous cultures across the globe recognize multiple sources of knowledge an individual or community possess and can access, including traditional wisdom, dreaming, land knowing, symbols and images, shared knowledge through connectivity, and story, among others.
Make art about ways of knowing.
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.
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.