"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 ‘travel’

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

 

 

 

“Traveling as Family,” Still, and Always, No Matter the 100 Days

from Citizen, VI [On the train the woman standing]

Claudia Rankine

On the train the woman standing makes you understand there are no seats available. And, in fact, there is one. Is the woman getting off at the next stop? No, she would rather stand all the way to Union Station.

The space next to the man is the pause in a conversation you are suddenly rushing to fill. You step quickly over the woman’s fear, a fear she shares. You let her have it.

The man doesn’t acknowledge you as you sit down because the man knows more about the unoccupied seat than you do. For him, you imagine, it is more like breath than wonder; he has had to think about it so much you wouldn’t call it thought.

When another passenger leaves his seat and the standing woman sits, you glance over at the man. He is gazing out the window into what looks like darkness.

You sit next to the man on the train, bus, in the plane, waiting room, anywhere he could be forsaken. You put your body there in proximity to, adjacent to, alongside, within.

You don’t speak unless you are spoken to and your body speaks to the space you fill and you keep trying to fill it except the space belongs to the body of the man next to you, not to you.

Where he goes the space follows him. If the man left his seat before Union Station you would simply be a person in a seat on the train. You would cease to struggle against the unoccupied seat when where why the space won’t lose its meaning.

You imagine if the man spoke to you he would say, it’s okay, I’m okay, you don’t need to sit here. You don’t need to sit and you sit and look past him into the darkness the train is moving through. A tunnel.

All the while the darkness allows you to look at him. Does he feel you looking at him? You suspect so. What does suspicion mean? What does suspicion do?

The soft gray-green of your cotton coat touches the sleeve of him. You are shoulder to shoulder though standing you could feel shadowed. You sit to repair whom who? You erase that thought. And it might be too late for that.

It might forever be too late or too early. The train moves too fast for your eyes to adjust to anything beyond the man, the window, the tiled tunnel, its slick darkness. Occasionally, a white light flickers by like a displaced sound.

From across the aisle tracks room harbor world a woman asks a man in the rows ahead if he would mind switching seats. She wishes to sit with her daughter or son. You hear but you don’t hear. You can’t see.

It’s then the man next to you turns to you. And as if from inside your own head you agree that if anyone asks you to move, you’ll tell them we are traveling as a family.

Daily Prompt Love <3 Strange Courage

29 April 2017

“It’s a strange courage
you give me ancient star:
Shine alone in the sunrise
toward which you lend no part”
― William Carlos Williams

Make art about a moment calling for strange courage. 

star

Daily Prompt Love <3 Where Would You Go?

27 April 2017

Make art about time travel.

time travel

Daily Prompt Love <3 In Which Direction

 

24 March 2017

Many cultures hold sacred meaning for each of the cardinal directions.

Make art about a compass. Or about choosing a direction.

hand holding a compass

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 <3 The Study of Us

17 December 2016

One of my undergrad degrees is in Anthropology, and the gift of that, the ability to view ‘us’ through the detailed and complex lens I learned from my amazing professors in that field still, every day, shapes the way I move through the world.

I first discovered Anthropology in the library as a child, those trips we made to get books every weekend with my mama, and one of the things I first loved about the anthropology books I found was that, in those books, I found women–not as subjects (although that fascinated me too)–but as the authors, as the experts: Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, Jane Goodall. They were who I imagined myself to be as I “excavated’ arrrowheads and shark teeth from the plowed up tobacco field beside the trailer park where I lived as a child.

_____________

It is these undeniable qualities of human love and compassion and self-sacrifice that give me hope for the future. We are, indeed, often cruel and evil. Nobody can deny this. We gang up on each one another, we torture each other, with words as well as deeds, we fight, we kill. But we are also capable of the most noble, generous, and heroic behavior.”
―Jane Goodall,  British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace

“As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own.”~Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist and author

I gambled on having the strength to live two lives, one for myself, and one for the world.”~ Ruth Benedict, American anthropologist and folklorist

Make art inspired by anthropology, by an anthropological discovery.

anthropology-benedict

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