Monday, November 26, 2012

In my household, we worshipped the God of Art.

My siblings and I have been remembering my mother as we prepare to lay the stone on her grave in a couple of weeks. It's interesting, the way that remembering some things brings up more memories. The Radiolab people describe memory as a creative process. Here's a link to the show. It's well work a listen, though: poor rats.

I woke up this morning remembering my mother's absolute devotion to the creative process. Perhaps the only thing about me she actually "got" was my art, such as it was. When I wanted to paint a floor to ceiling mural on the wall of my bedroom, she was all for it. She also approved of the world map I painted in the hall, my chalk drawings on the floor of the garage and the graffiti-like journal I kept on a wall in the garage. We had a hand crank pencil sharpener affixed to the wall outside the kitchen door. Every time I sharpened a pencil, I added a comment to the wall, always with date and time. After awhile I had to climb the ladder that lead to the attic, as I ran out of space to add more comments. My mother encouraged me to draw, paint, take photos and write. I'm very grateful for that encouragement, very.

My mother believed we should strive to be creative no matter what. It was like a crusade. She, too, engaged in bouts of creative expression, such as the year when she drew, with pastel chalk, a gigantic menorah on the ceiling of our living room. Every day of Hanukkah that year, she added a new candle. It was really dramatic and very big. She planned to paint the ceiling after Hanukkah, but as with many household maintenance projects, that didn't happen for a long time. We lived under the humongous menorah for years. I wonder if, after awhile, we didn't even notice it anymore, if we kind of forgot it was there. That I can not remember.

Except during my years in psychotherapy, I have not devoted much time to remembering my mother. Our relationship was fraught, hence the memories used to be painful. But these days I'm getting a kick out of the memories. I'm finding nooks and crannies in my mind full of old, moldering memories I put away a long time ago. I'm dusting off, polishing these old memories, organizing them such as I can. All of a sudden, I am treasuring the memories, even the "bad" memories (whatever that means).

It seems like just the right way to prepare for the trip to Kansas City.

The work of this eclipse cycle (not just for me) is directly related to the ancestors. I'm enjoying the work. My mother was such a character! Good lord.

Happy Monday. Shalom.


Kerry said...

Wow. Your mother sounds a bit crazy, and I love it that you can bring forth these strange memories in such a way that they are like little gifts, or at least tokens of your past that are certainly part of who you grew to be.

I wonder what that list by the pencil sharpener said.

Reya Mellicker said...

It was kind of like the FB timeline, actually. Snapshots of the moment.

Ten years on the couch enabled me to speak about my mother the way I can now. Believe me, there was no love lost between us. We wanted to love each other, but there was a mighty disconnect!

Pam said...

I guess if you wanted to love each other that was the main thing.Enjoyed your post Reya, particularly the last photo - should be a good trip for a great purpose.

Pam said...

I guess if you wanted to love each other that was the main thing.Enjoyed your post Reya, particularly the last photo - should be a good trip for a great purpose.