The things that unite us
Tunes for a Monday Morning

The stories that take root

Hillside 1

Fridays are my day for re-visiting posts from the Myth & Moor archives. This one comes from a quiet morning at the cusp of spring two years ago.

Today, a misty moorland hillside and a passage taken from "Testimony Against Gertrude Stein" by Jeanette Winterson:

"We mostly understand ourselves through an endless series of stories told to ourselves by ourselves and others. The so-called facts of our individual words  are highly colored and arbitrary, facts that fit whatever fiction we have chosen to believe in. It is necessary to have a story, an alibi that gets us through the day, but what happens when the story becomes scripture? When we can no longer recognize anything outside our own reality?

Hillside 2

Hillside 2

"We have to be careful not to live in a state of constant self-censorship, where whatever conflicts with our world view is dismissed or diluted until it ceases to be a bother. Struggling against the limitations we place on our minds is our own imaginative capacity, a recognition of an inner life often at odds with the internal figurings we spend so much energy supporting.

Hillside 4

"When we let ourselves respond to poetry, to music, to pictures, we are clearing out a space where new stories can root, in effect we are clearing a space for new stories about ourselves."

Hillside 5

Hillside 6

The passage just quoted nails, for me, precisely why we need art in our lives and not just the familiar, repetitive stories of mass entertainment, enjoyable as they may be. Entertainment amuses, distracts, and consoles us, and that has its use and it has its value, but it's not the same use or value of art. Art enlarges us. Transforms us. Heals what is broken inside us. Deepens our understanding of ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

Hillisde 7

"Art is central to all our lives, not just the better-off and educated, " Winterson once said in an interview. "I know that from my own story, and from the evidence of every child ever born -- they all want to hear and to tell stories, to sing, to make music, to act out little dramas, to paint pictures, to make sculptures. This is born in and we breed it out. And then, when we have bred it out, we say that art is elitist, and at the same time we either fetishize art -- the high prices, the jargon, the inaccessibility -- or we ignore it. The truth is, artist or not, we are all born on the creative continuum, and that is a heritage and a birthright of all of our lives."

Hillside 8

Hillside 9

Art Objects by Jeanette Winterson


Teach us clarity and compassion
that we may heal the earth
that we may heal ourselves

There is a line in a book that is the Art I open to, choose over and over again, dozens of times. Toward its end, the mages, the guardians of the place, jostle over whether a human could EVER be part of the circle of guardians. Watching from his place outside the circle, on the spiral path, Crow listens. At last the Wood Mage, the Wood Wife says, "They create." There! That ended it, judged Crow.

Yes to Winterson's final line quoted in your post, Terri, "The truth is, artist or not, we are all born on the creative continuum, and that is a heritage and a birthright of all of our lives." And a bushel of goodness and thanks to you dear woman for The Wood Wife!! which enlivens me anew with every read.

Today is difficult for so many reasons. Some small, some huge. Some personal, some public. Thank you, Terri, for reminding me that the important thing to do is stay open to art, beauty, and transformation. Much love to you.

Your wise blog and beautiful dog walk kept me company while eating lunch alone in a quiet Houston restaurant ..... staying open to life and normal life has been my challenge since being wicowed in early August ...... staying open to arts and things around me was so much a message I needed to hear ....
Transformation Is not my enemy .... but the path is less known .... your blogs shared by Edie Bishop have been encouraging and persistent reminders of saying yes to life.

The Art Of Improv

In this time of healing, I have found
Space unseen, rules going twisted,
Body changed, and at first, puzzles.

All i am and do has made a turn.
It is so for millions, changes private,
And Worldwide. In my studio.

It came to me that all we do it improv.
That once I learned for amusement and
Theater, and childish make believe.

With others to made choices odd, fun.
For all of us to make story twist like
Ribbons, to find what is in the gift.

But - Flash! - we all improvise, each
Moment after moment. We are not stuck.
An art is waiting always, for our truth & life.

Brava! Phyllis.

Thank you! It was a flash, but I didn't think of a poem until I read this and it matched my feeling.

Wisdom here, thanks!

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