Journal #146 collage, Drozda 2009
This is the second in a short series: What's in a Name. Perhaps you'll find that this installment doesn't directly relate to a name... unless you want to toss around psych hospital and art studio...this post is actually more about how words impact this Art Life. Ok so here's a little lead in...
I'm reading The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World the third in the Art of Happiness series by HH Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, MD. A Booklist review statement on the back cover reads: "There really is such a thing as an art of happiness, and this is one of the best how to books a reader will ever find."
My Art Life focus has been all about learning to embrace the Art of Happiness...not a likely goal following extreme violence....but thanks to my mentor the only direction I wanted to move.
One day in the early 1990's I was walking through my cavernous studio. The space contained more than 25 rooms and more than one hundred feet of hallway. Eight years earlier the entire facility had been closed after decades of use as a psychiatric hospital. My studio space had been the high security lock-up ward for women. Across the lobby was the dismal abandoned high security ward for men. Between the wards were the two huge freight elevators and a wooden door with two glass panes (like all of the windows, embedded with a heavy wire mesh) that opened out onto a caged roof top outdoor 'recreation' space. Caged to prevent suicide jumps.
In the morning when I arrived, usually before sunrise, I'd strap on my high top suede roller skates and limber up by sailing down 'my ward' and into the men's area. After a few back and forths on the smooth linoleum I'd go into my painting room, also called the room of the skill, and go to work.
Since it was a high security ward it was necessary to use a special key to enter or leave. When a visitor came by they would ring the bell at the huge double entrance doors. I would walk, or skate, down the long hallway, lined on both sides with my paintings, to unlock the door.
One day the bell rang while I was writing in my work journal. I quickly made a note so that I could return to my thoughts later in the day. Several hours later I went to pick up where I had left off.
I read the passage and stopped.
What was this.
I had been writing about the fact that 'I'm scared'.
The Call, Drozda 1991
60 x60 inches
Acryic on canvas
When I came back and looked at the word on the page I was stunned to see: sacred. My dyslexia had switched the letter c on me.
Since that day I voluntarily practice this shift whenever necessary. I remind myself that my thoughts and my feelings, and thus how I create, depend upon how I 'C'. I then explore my 'I'm scared' so that I can move to 'I'm sacred'.
Aren't we all given opportunities every day to be scared sacred?
~Sing the day