Sunday, January 22, 2006

Tragic Sense of Life

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My collage: The Tragic Sense of Life.

Based on Me and My Parrots by Frida Kahlo


It's been a while since I posted! I've been busy with school and research. I determined that this weekend I'd get back to writing and collage.

I had a very productive weekend. I wrote a short-short story about an incident that has plagued me for years. It was a story that wanted to be written, but I didn't know how to do it. It was based on one of those events that feels like a dark, ugly secret. The subject matter was very painful. When I thought about the incident, I hurt.

This weekend, after taking a random book of poetry off my shelf and glancing at an unfamiliar stanza, I suddenly knew how to write the story.

As I worked on the story, I also worked on this collage. Frida knew how to turn her suffering into art. She led me the way.

I've been feeling lately like my writing is trying to take a new turn. This feels like both creation and destruction. The image just to the left of the parrot's halo is of buildings burning down. That's what this change feels like to me. Scary. Flowers are for rejeuvenation. The flowers in my collage are thistle. Pretty, but painful. We have lots of thistle on our property. The birds love thistle seed. The butterfly is symbolic of the psyche.

The parrot is, I've read, a symbol of beauty, wisdom and spiritual knowledge that is tragically imprisoned. That would certainly be true of Frida Kahlo. It's also true of most of us.

I included the graffiti behind the bird to remind me that the creative life must often turn to ordinary things, to seemingly ugly things. Things we think of as base or low can actually be sacred.

I look for the sacred in everything.


TiAnKa said...

Theresa, a good friend gave me the movie Frida Kahlo this weekend. If you haven't seen it already, please put it at the top of your must see movies.

Frida, by virtue of her life and artwork, is a true inspiration to all artists, especially those that have endured great pain.

I love your newest collage!



ggw07 said...

"I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration."
Frida Kahlo
Brave beautiful images- looks and sounds like your work is blossoming-
with meeting the pain- and letting go of control- as you said you "didn't know how to do it" but found a way-

ggw07 said...

Some interesting tidbits:
FYI- Julie Taymor, director of the Lion King, also directed the film on Frida Kahlo. Below is link about her.
Look for new film by her coming soon-
After playing Frida, Salma Hayek blossomed and went on to direct and produce her first feature, "The Maldonado Miracles"

Nelle said...

"I look for the sacred in everything" I do too and it's nice to know others do the same. I am just starting to read the book you wrote. I had it on my list to read for months and finally I am making the time!

Anonymous said...

You KNOW I love this. You know it. Frida said: “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.”

Me too.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on the new story...


Anonymous said...

Theresa - another powerful, thought-provoking, and beautiful collage. You are revealing ever more of Theresa through your art. And I am happy for you that the story made its way out and onto the page. Sounds like a special birthing experience that I hope has brought you some sense of achievement and fulfilment.

You write about the thistle, the national flower of my home country. It is beautiful, sturdy, strong, and a true survivor. Kinda like you.

Be well, my friend.

Love, Vicky xxx

beths front porch said...

I like, admire, and use the concept of approaching ordinary and sometimes base things in a creative way. I believe we must stand our own and others' beliefs on their head, to take what we think are known "truths" and ask "but is it really..."?

There are so many wonderful ideas to respond to in your entry, Theresa - your story, the collage...thank you for sharing you. I think you are helping me follow my instincts and "do my mining" of myself. I thank you. --Beth

ckays1967 said...

I included the graffiti behind the bird to remind me that the creative life must often turn to ordinary things, to seemingly ugly things. Things we think of as base or low can actually be sacred.

I look for the sacred in everything.

May I live so nobly and be so bold with my own soul. I strive and long for the sacred, at times to distraction. Afraid of missing it.


I haven't seen the movie yet...I hope my mom is bringing it to WA.

ckays1967 said...

PS: I bought four books, including 2006 Poet's Market and the Novel and Short Story wrtiers Market.

They have yet to arrive.

I am scared to death.

T O D E A T H.

How is that for noble?

GreenishLady said...

I'm not sure how I stumbled into your blog, but I want to thank you for these collages - they are very beautiful, and very deep. And Frida too. Beautiful, and deep.

Gannet Girl said...

GREAT collage. I've been thinking a lot lately about how the blissful and the excruciating in life are all part of one and the same, and this college expresses that so well.

Gannet Girl said...

collAge collAge collAge

McFawn said...

Theresa-Nice to see you posting again. I am a new blogger and a BGSU BFA may have heard of me. I was friends with your former student Christopher Stephens. Anyhow, nice to see the blog in action again and perhaps I'll be a freqent commentator. I am impressed by anyone with five writing desks with five DIFFERENT purposes. (If I had 5 writing desks, they would all soon deteriorate to "misc" desks 1-5)

dreaminglily said...

Beautiful... I hope the story helps/helped with whatever that pain may be.

I love the collage, I love all your work. Can't wait to see more.


V said...

Frida, Diego and Trotsky!
What a manage a trois!

Frida is the perfect inspiration for a time of growth through pain.

Theresa, I love your collage!

Judith HeartSong said...




About Me

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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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