Monday, October 3, 2016

It really is all about you.

I'm honored to know the two artists who produced the works in this picture. While I'm not a close friend of either of them-Elaine Roemen's painting, Elk River, and Julie Hawthorne's sculpture, Birdland, I know enough about them to see strands of their work and their lives woven so intimately in their work. Yes, we are integral human beings and our work reflects our life, art imitating life, art hinting at the prevalent theme/mood/preoccupation of the artist.

And so with the rest of us, our work too. Well, not in the day-to-day details, but in the big sweep or arc of our history. After my son was killed, I could only write snippets of stories about him, snippets of poems about my loss, lines scrambled here and there, read well one day, got obfuscated the next. We tend to leave breadcrumbs, clues so we can say to the world, I was here, and here, and these were my preoccupations, my overwhelming goals during this period.

I love how we go back to the songs of our youth and wax nostalgic about those days, crying or laughing with the artist that embodied those moments that defined our deepest needs. In my life, around the time I arrived in America, eager to learn and discover, I found out that being seventeen was a precious time, a time to enjoy life and each other's company. Yet, I was lonely, and I remember vividly enjoying Paul Anka's "Put your head on my shoulder" as something that spoke to me.

We purchased the two works above right after our son died.
Each of us needed something to encapsulate our respective feelings. My husband picked "Elk River"; I picked Birdland. I don't know his reason; mine, the emptiness and yet the joy of having had the experience of being Brian's Mom, and in my recesses, that nest was still and will always be there.

Ask yourself often what you wish for, what you hunger the most in your life, what gets you up and what angers you. Ask yourself how the world of friends and books and art and purchases reflect your life, your wishes.


Barb said...

I have certain pieces of art in my home that speak to me and give shelter to my memories. They are not necessarily valuable pieces materially, but they provide value to my life. Pieces that speak to you of your son must be valuable indeed.

Elephant's Child said...

Such a poignant post.
Thank you.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

This post was so beautifully written.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria - you've made me 'sit up' and think - and can see how you've thought re adjustments through your life ... Brian's loss must have been so terrible for you and the family. With thoughts and thanks for the memory jogger ... cheers Hilary

yaya said...

Your post is so beautifully written. Your heart speaks clearly in it. I'm so sorry again for your loss. My sister lost her youngest son when he was 18. I see her in your post.

the walking man said...

I can see and understand the personal iconography in both pieces. It is true that leaving a trail so them who at the moment aren't interested one day will be. I think that is about all we can truly do, detail both the pleasures and the pains of our lives and if it is done through the pieces of art left behind, all the better.

A Cuban In London said...

Such valuable insight in your post. I have often asked myself those questions, especially in the last year or so, for various reasons. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

Maggie May said...

It is incredibly painful to lose a child and we obviously have to hang on to whatever we can to keep them alive in our memory. (I'm not speaking from personal experience of losing a child but from losing other loved ones.)
Art, music and little nick nacks that they loved take us right back and are very precious.
Maggie x

erin said...

you gather honey. you stamp it. it smells sweeter. (you move me. i move with you.)

rilke to witold von hulewicz his polish translator:

Nature, the things we move among and use, are provisional and perishable; but they are, for as long as we are here, our possession and our friendship, sharers in our trouble and our happiness, just as they were once the confidants of our ancestors. Therefore it is crucial not only that we not corrupt and degrade what constitutes the here and now, but, precisely because of the provisionality it shares with us, that these appearances and objects be comprehended by us in a most fervent understanding and transformed. Transformed? Yes, for our task is to stamp this provisional, perishing earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its being may rise again, “invisibly,” in us. We are the bees of the Invisible. Nous buttinons √©perdument le miel du visible, pour l’accumuler dans la grande ruche d’or de l’Invisible [We wildly gather the honey of the visible, in order to store in the great golden hive of the Invisible]. The Elegies show us at this work, this work of the continual conversion of the dear visible and tangible into the invisible vibration [Schwingung] and agitation of our nature, which introduces new vibration-numbers [Schwingungszahlen] into the vibration-spheres [Schwingungs-Sph√§ren] of the universe. (For since the various material in the cosmos are only different vibration-rates [Schwingungsexponenten], we are preparing in this way, not only intensities of a spiritual kind, but –who knows?—new bodies, metals, nebulae, and constellations).

Barbara Torris said...

Art is so much a part of my personal history. I gather bits and pieces of life as I go along...they are small physical reminders of who I love, where I was and what I saw at a moment in time.

I am touched by the sculpture you chose when you lost your son. I can see how it would symbolize a place we always hold in our hearts for those we have loved and lost.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful and thoughtful post. I hope it was as healing for you as it was beautiful for your readers.