by Patti Jahsman
May you love all beings
living together in this light.
May you release any hatred
allow the truth of compassionate sight.
May you feel within your heart
the wound of love that we all grieve.
May you be blessed by mystery
breathing us all like a breeze.
May you bow in gratitude
and be graced with depth of peace.
May you find the hope of courage
and the power of release.
May you love all beings
May we love all beings.
Patti created this beautiful poem and collage when the Art and Writing Class met for the third time a little over a week ago. The depth of our work and our bonding seems to be growing together each time we meet. And the flexibility of art, collage especially, for different types of writing, different kinds of exploration keeps surprising us. We hope others will join this great experience, especially the parents of Middletown Unified School District students. We also would love for students to join us.
Jennifer Kelly has taken collage as a vehicle to brainstorm plot, character, and setting. She graciously opened the class by sharing her idea journal as she maps out the story for a novel she intends to write in a couple of years. The collage below is for a short story she is working on at present. Notice her notes below the pictures as she asks herself questions about the pictures…what are they telling her about the story than needs to be written?
Pat Giacomini began a memoir at home after the second class. For December, she continued to work on it as, well as making this lovely design.
Pat’s story is about risk taking:
Gently sloping rounded hills mask the invisible dangers. As far as the eye can see ahead … tan, brown, golden sands glistening here and there with the light from the sun. Those dark clouds are still up there … moving across the sky, but the sun follows and finds its purchase thru cracks … then the glistening answers from below ahead of me as I glide over the rolling sand dunes. Up, then gently sloping downward to another endless rise, to the next rise, and over and over I ride … the sand and movement hypnotic in its gentleness and beauty. The freedom of movement carries me quickly over the endless landscape. Joyfully, the ocean rolls to my right as I follow the dune colored hills up the coast … the waves pushing and crashing with the momentum from the storm out to sea … that storm. We’ve been keeping an eye out, watching for its first drops to signal a change in plans … or just a change. I have no plan to stop … I am here and am pulled with the beauty and seemingly endless roll of the dunes.
I ride with a partner to my left … she, in her Odyssey, and me in mine. Both strapped in tight, helmeted, no way to talk … hand signals are all we share. Cold fingers gripping the wheel. I never seem prepared enough with protective clothing … so my fingers are reddened and chapped as they grip strongly. It hurts to raise them to the cold wind in signal… so I don’t. My thoughts don’t reach her, nor do hers me. We just ride the dunes. Up … down, up … down ….
Coming to a rise we stop. This was the point of attention and focus or goal … if you can say we had any goal other than just to ride. Seen from afar we headed toward the top of the rise.
No rolling dune this one … hidden steepness so unexpected and stunning. Last year’s winter storms whipped up this dune carving a slope so steep … as steep as the sands would stack. Below, a bowl … not just one face of the dune, the wind must have swirled around and around carving dune faces into a gully bowl surrounded by several tall dunes, each curving and folding in on each other with shadowed hints of pathways. But, to our eyes from above, the trails below only promised to guide thru and out.
Cold fingers not wanting to fumble and find the seatbelt catch, I leaned my helmeted head out to see below. Glancing at my partner, she is craning her neck too … but, the helmets, wind and cold stifle any words. We lock eyes, questioning our next move …
The sand only stacks so steep … Odysseys will go down anything … keep my arms inside no matter what … I will be brave … I am going to do this …
Fran Ransley’s collage brought up memories of a mystery in her past, an acquaintance who disappeared without a trace, and plot for a story about a missing person and a pioneering family coming from the east to the west.
I used my collage to help me find the “bigger” story for a novel I’ve taken up and then put away again. I’ve managed to get 4,000 words from an hour’s work of putting pictures together! I have the collage above my desk and have used the images to “tell” me the next steps.
Just a sample of the writing. Novel unnamed as yet.
A voice more male than not said her name, “Lilith.”
She stepped back and turned to see the eldest of the four angels. Who knew an angel might be bald and have skin the color of pure onyx and eyes like sapphires? As a girl, when she was human and unimportant, from a poor family whose only legacy was that they were not slaves, though they had less to eat than many who did work for others, she had been soft spoken, a quiet, dutiful child. Alone now in the presence of Raphael, she felt her words lift from her mind, birds flying off to the beautiful dawn, and she felt naked and unprotected.
“The OnHigh rejoices that you have joined us,” Raphael said. His hands lightly touched her shoulders and he bent and kissed her left check. “Uriel told me she has never seen more beautiful wings on any angel newly born. I’m sorry that the birth was so painful, but here we are now.”
Lilith noticed that his wings were now invisible. She reached to rub her neck and simply thought hers evaporating like sugar in water.
“You’ll get used to their weight,” he said. “We don’t use them nearly as much as the stories might indicate, even on Earth when we’re working. We like to blend in.”
Lilith finally could speak, “I’d like to see how you blend in there.”
Raphael laughed and the sky above them shifted to a color just a shade or two lighter than his eyes. “I manage.”
They began walking and others…angels?…appeared, most walking past and politely nodding, but a few stopped and scowled.
“They’re angry I’m here,” Lilith said.
“Yes, as is Michael.”
Lilith humphed. “I wondered if he still held his grudge.”
“And you?” Raphael asked.
Lilith stopped and grabbed him by both arms and then let go, her hands suspended in the air, “Oh…maybe I shouldn’t touch you…but I’m just pissed off that he’s still pissed off. I’ve forgiven him for sending me to Hell. If I hadn’t gone, I’d never have gotten here. But, he’s an archangel, and shouldn’t he get off his high horse and show a little humility. My God, we’re in heaven. If he can’t do it here, is there any hope for anyone?”
Raphael took her hands. “If Heaven was perfect, you wouldn’t be happy here, admit it. Michael is not pleased, but he has been and will always be loyal to the OnHigh. It is impossible for you to be harmed by him.” He sighed. “Dear Lilith, you are the sand in the oyster. An important job.”
His words passed through her like a breeze rising from a deep lake of compassion. She felt her heart open wide enough to receive his love, and this terrified her. Love was what had gotten her in this mess; what had driven her mad, and finally what brought her back, the magnet that had gathered the particles of her soul she had deliberately smashed and debased. The panic she had been ignoring since she first saw her wings, rose up inside her like a tortured bird, flaming feathers, a phoenix fighting its rebirth.
She pulled her hands away from Raphael’s grip and put them over her heart. He pulled her close to him as she began to sob. This was the pain of love, what Beatrice’s wound carried, it was now hers, coursing through her body and in her scars.
“How do you stand it?” she asked the archangel.