“From every human being there rises a light.” --Baal Shem Tov
I want to write about light
the kind that comes from the sun
but also, what it is to feel lightness
to be a bubble, composed mainly of air
a feather destined for flight
something that rises
steam, hot air balloons, laughter
to rise up
this week in the news there have been too many shades of darkness to name
this week I heard a story about a place in Peru
where people built tunnels under the earth
so the spiritual leaders could go underground and play music
their songs filtering into the daylight above
as we continue to walk this earth,
I think one of our most important jobs is to figure out how to be that music.
– Excerpt from “To Rise Up” by Lisa Kagan
In the spirit of this theme, making beauty from the broken places, a few months ago I participated in an afternoon writing retreat led by Dawn Thompson, of Portland Women Writers, exploring the theme of “Golden Repair.” In his essay, Golden Repair of the Cracks of the World, author, mythologist and story teller, Michael Meade explores the ancient Japanese practice of kintsugi or “golden repair” as a living philosophy. He tells us, “The idea behind this ancient ceramic art includes the sense that when something valuable cracks or breaks it should be repaired carefully and lovingly in a way that adds to its value. Thus, the cracks and fault lines in a valuable bowl would be filled with a lacquer made of resin containing powdered gold. Such a golden repair does not try to cover up the cracks in the vessel or deny the facts of the matter. Rather, the cracks and splits and broken places become filled with gold. Beauty appears exactly where the worst faults previously existed, and the golden scars add to the living story and to the value of the container…”
Triumph of the Human Spirit
One of the aspects of my work I love the most, are the ways I see this beauty and inspiration rise up out of the stories that my Family Heirloom Arts clients share with me. Reading love letters exchanged between newlyweds during the war years, diary entries translated from Yiddish to English sharing what it is like to grow up as a young women in the Ukraine in the 1800s before immigrating to the United States, and reflections about segregation in the American South on the cusp of the civil rights movement…I am inspired by the sense of humor, insightfulness, and attention to detail that shape these stories. Even amidst the most difficult circumstances, the triumph of the human spirit prevails.
NOVEMBER WRITING PROMPT:
• Write one family story that you find especially inspiring at this moment.
• Explore what the concept of “Golden Repair” means to you in the context of your own life.
Save the Date:
Support Local Artists and Education
Please join me for the Lewis Elementary Holiday Bazaar. This event is a fundraiser for my son’s elementary school, as well as a wonderful way to celebrate the start of the holiday season and support local artisan vendors. I will be there selling cards and prints of my original artwork. In addition, I will have sample illustrated family heirloom books on display and will be available to answer questions about the process of creating an heirloom book for your family.
Date & Time: Saturday, December 1st, 2018, 10am – 3pm
Location: Meriwether Lewis Elementary School, 4401 SE Evergreen Street, Portland, OR 97206
Ready to begin your own life story project…
Contact Family Heirloom Arts to set-up a free initial consultation so you can learn more about how we can help you write and illustrate your own heirloom book for your family.
“Lisa’s acceptance and encouragement make it easy to get involved and enthused about embarking on a life story project.”
– Grace, Family Heirloom Arts Client