Monday, January 22, 2007

Some history

As it turns out, I have only ever had one ovary. No-one ever knew this: not my mother, none of my doctors, neither of my two husbands and certainly not I. My remaining ovary stepped in and filled the void of its missing partner without a hitch—my monthly periods being generous and rich; that is to say, over-flowing to the point of excess, to the point of illness, to the point of too, too much. It was too much to deal with; I could not embrace my body’s vagaries (much less understand their spiritual metaphor) and so I suppressed that which I could not endure, first with hormones and then with years of child-bearing and breast-feeding.

At the same time, had I but the eyes to see it, I was struggling with similar issues in my artistic life. The art was there, burning within me, and issued forth endlessly in large and small ways—no blank piece of paper was safe from me. As a young child I created all day, every day—drawings, paintings, poetry, small sculptures, dance. Even drips of water on the kitchen counter were an opportunity to trail out an ephemeral pattern that made me smile inside. But eventually, as I understand it now, that also became too much and I had to channel and control that effortless out-flowing as well. Art was all very well as an avocation, but it was certainly not a suitable vocation—why, everyone has heard of starving artists. I soon developed countless rationalizations why art was not suitable as a center of my life. But always, always waiting in the wings, in the small quiet corners of my soul, art lingered and waited and bided its time…

As my years flowed, I continued to create; in small ways, usually. Like breathing, it is not something in my control to stop permanently. I may well hold my breath for a time but I must then inhale deeply to compensate. So too, with my art—for a few years when my children were young and demanded constant attention, I held my artistic breath. This was as it should be, of course. As they grew older, art beckoned to me, gently at first and then insistently, to renew our sacred relationship.

Older, and perhaps a little wiser about the ways of the world and ways of my soul, I began the dance with art once more. I had learned, and continue to learn, that a suppression of my words, emotions and desires inevitably leads to a mortal wounding of my body, my sense of self-worth, my very soul and of course, my art.

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