Samhain collage–10/29/2013. I have always loved Halloween, thank in part to my father, who lived for the holiday. This love was passed on to me and my best friend, Barbie and I, would wait impatiently for the season to creep up so that we could plan our costumes. And of course, the yearly Halloween party!
Birthday collage for 9/17/2013. Yes, I’ve turned 38. It does not seem like I should be this age although I am not really sure what age I feel. Perhaps it is because I have never known what “age” should be. How is a 38-year-old supposed to act like? Not sure so I guess I am doing right.
I have been rereading one of my journals from 2011 and inside I found this list of things i wanted to accomplish by the end of 2012. All in all, I nailed it.
1. Be awesome at my job at Wellesley College. (did that! I really learned a lot in the past two years and value all of my successes and failures. Not to mention the awesome colleagues, faculty, and students I had the pleasure of knowing and working with).
2. Write an article or two and publish it. (did that! My article appeared in the July issue of C&RL News).
3. Become more outgoing! Be adventurous! (did that! I took a part-time job as a ‘barker’ at a local witch shop and interacted with tourists on a daily basis. Way outside my comfort zone).
4. Continue weight training. (did that! I am still committed to daily strength training and exercise).
5. Practice mindful eating. (somewhat accomplished this. I could be better at this and I am striving for it this year. One of my issues is that I tend to eat too fast and I want to slow it down so I actually enjoy what I have in front of me).
6. Visit Matt as much as possible. (definitely did this! And luckily for us both this portion of our journey is almost over as he graduates on January 31 and is moving to Salem!)
7. Learn to sew with the “Stitches for Bitches” kit. (failure. I did not even look at this. I am still really interested in learning so perhaps this year?)
8. Venture out in my new surroundings. Discover! (I could have been better at this but in my defense, it is not fun sightseeing on my own. I did however, explore NH and ME with Barbie when she came out to visit. This year I will be able to explore new places with Matt).
9. Write Matt actual handwritten letters. (did this although I slacked after the first few. We did manage to google hangout quite a bit, email, and chat so it wasn’t a total failure in terms of communication).
10. Get a part-time job. (did this! I managed to score a part-time job at a local witch shop for the summer months and through the month of October which is a big deal in Salem).
**Despite a few non-successes, I am pleased with all I accomplished in 2012. For 2014 I plan on being awesome. I start a new job at Simmons College on Monday so that will bring new colleagues, new faculty, new students, new courses, and new adventures. I’ve learned a lot since I wrote this list and I know what I am now capable of—so, so much as long as I work hard, have patience, and stay balanced.
For this week’s memory assignment, I wanted to discuss the growth and significant changes I’ve experienced as a person. From my teenage years until now, I have gone through what I refer to as a series of “little deaths.” Not only in a physical sense but in an emotional and psychological way as well. I chose to select images of myself throughout the years, showcasing how I have obviously changed over time in a real physical sense. The outside envelope is addressed to the viewer in the form of a found poem and the postage is the day I experienced my most significant death to date. The insert itself is shaped like a headstone. The top flap flips up to reveal cutout letters that spell “RIP.” The inside has photographs of me over the years as well as more snippets of found poetry. The back of the insert has a poem I wrote a few years ago called “Six Year Psalm” which I thought was fitting to the overall theme of this piece.
I chose to use watercolor paper and cut out the envelope shape before I created the watercolor. I did two different watercolors on both sides of the paper. The insert, I cut out in the shape of a headstone and watercolored both sides of it as well. Then I constructed the collage over the watercolor selecting photographs, cutouts from an english book, a poem I wrote, and a peacock feather. I used a gluestick to glue down the envelope flaps as well as all the collage items.
My hope is that those looking at this piece will feel a connection to the idea of personal growth and death. I hope that they will take a moment to reflect on their own journeys and how they have arrived at their current position. I know that the creation of this assignment allowed me some much needed personal reflection and I am immensely happy with the final product. This particular piece represents the little prayer cards handed out at wakes. It is also a pun on personal awakening.