Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mother of Milk (2003 remastered 2011)


direct link: Mother of Milk

We each have our 'mother stories' -even childless women have a mother story. For those of us who had children, though, telling our stories is, I believe, important. Women's maternal experiences is a hidden subtext in culture that only began to be spoken out loud maybe in the last 30 years. There are other ways to construe reality than the ones the dominant ideologies give us. Let's let the mother speak - seriously! The paternal story, the 'important' history needs the current of the maternal story to balance it, give it greater depth and unity.

I had once made a flippant remark about how breastfeeding taught me to meditate. And, further, how I thought men in the days of yore meditating in semi-lotus sat like women breastfeeding and were trying to discover the bliss seen on her face. My flippant remark meant that I was jovially saying that meditation arose out of men's curiosity about what they witnessed while their women breastfed their babies. And, if it's true, what a beautiful cradle for meditation to grow from. Meditation is a very self-nurturing act.

Anyway, the leader of the La Leche League in Toronto, a Waldorf mother, and my kids were at the Waldorf at that time, overheard me. Uh, oh! What I'd flippantly said would make some yogic-type men angry and a lot of women deny that there is any connection. But Erin was intrigued. Next thing I knew, I was invited to speak at a La Leche League meeting, a place of support for women breastfeeding their babes. Well, it wasn't a very coherent or articulate talk!

When ARM put out a call for papers at a conference at York University on Motherhood and Spirituality in 2003, I wrote my story, an interweaving of lifewriting and prosepoetry. Since I lived in Vancouver at the time and wasn't sure I could afford to fly to Toronto to present it in person, I recorded it on video. So glad I did! My mother paid for the trip, and rather than reading it at the conference I showed the video on a large screen and got lots of amazing feedback. The personal essay was published by Mother's Movement Online and is still available at: mothersmovement.org/essays/bclews/BClews0404.htm
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There was a discussion in the comments at Facebook with Bent Lorentzen and Daisy Fierro, and I've drawn this commentary from my responses in that discussion.


I stand in an odd place theoretically on sexual difference, but I agree basically that there is difference. Thought not that there are 'man traits' and 'woman traits' so much as our bodily experiences shape our consciousness of the world to a greater degree than is generally believed.

My 'woman body/mother body' experiences have shaped my consciousness, and my beliefs, in many ways.

This talk is regarding that: an embodied consciousness.

Please see my Birthdance page at my website for more on this subject - particularly The Notebook of the Maternal Body for more discussion on our cultural maternal subtext, its hiddenness, and the video talk, How Can We Be Different and the Same? on sexual difference as it pertains to the maternal body (from a paper I wrote in 2004- I'm still adding images to the video to spruce it up a bit visually and will upload to YouTube when the final version is finished).


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Monday, February 21, 2011

The Dancer's Backskin


The Dancer's Backskin, 2011, 21cm x 29cm, 8"x11.5"
ink, watercolour on Moleskin notebook paper.
click for larger size

the dancer's backskin,
Moleskine sketchbook

the paper
cracked
like a boiled
eggshell
when you
tap it
tap it

_


The drawing was an accident - I had bought a new Moleskine notebook, the largest ever for me. When I brushed water over watercolour pencil the paper shredded badly and cracked like an eggshell when dry. Intrigued with the effect, and having seen Natalie Portman's incredible performance in Black Swan, the self-mutilation, the hallucinations, the madnesses, I thought of the underside of the dancer's life. Or her backskin.

In the image you see here, I layered a scan of the frontside of the drawing facing forwards (you can see it in the lines at the borders) under the backside which I made slightly opaque. I banded the dancer's face (some horror there, she is buried alive in her inhuman effort to be graceful for us), and her feet (to remind us of ballet as an echo of Geisha footbinding).


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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stone #44

Powdery snow like a plush carpet under the thick rubber treads of my hiking boots. Patches of hidden skidding ice wake me from revery.

Lineman



Lineman, 2011, computer drawn using this site, Scribbler, and, um,
yeah, Photoshop: http://www.zefrank.com/scribbler/scribblertoo/
click for larger size

I may print this and colour or paint it. The figure seems menacing, somehow, and what are those black balls - are they bombs? The image is entangled with Middle Eastern suicide bombers in my mind - that box strapped to his torso...

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