Monday, March 15, 2010

Myth-ing Persons

Paul Bradley
Separation Myth

I've just returned from a 4 day trip to RI to visit with family, and to see my mother who has recently moved to the Alzheimer's unit in a nursing home. She was in the Alzheimer's unit of an assisted living facility for the past couple of years, but now needs more intensive one-on-one care. Her short term memory is kaput, but she recognizes her family, and even remembers some of our names. She loves to see us. She is sweet tempered, and when I am with her now, I simply feel her warm and gentle spirit. Visiting with her is always bitter sweet. The bitter part is perhaps all about me and my feelings: my wanting to hang onto memories, my wanting it to be like it was, my missing my father and our childhood home, my nonacceptance of her condition. I cry my heart out every time I drive back north to Maine.

l-r: My aunt, grandmother, and mother in the early 50's.
My father on the right with two of his boyhood friends in 1938.
My parents in the 40's.
My father and one of his brothers in the early 40's.
My father surrounded by friends in the early 40's.

What is memory? What is real? What is myth?

I have a one woman show coming up in September and have been searching for a theme for a body of work, and think I've started something with the drawing in my last post. I always draw people larger than life and I am examining the implications of this tendency. I idealize and mythologize people. Is it possible that I am searching for their eternal spirit?

When you dream of loved ones who've passed, how do they show up? What do they look like? How old are they? When my father shows up in my dreams, he's often younger, and looks like he did when I was a girl, at a time when he certainly was larger than life. Are there times in our life when we are most truly ourselves? Does it show? What does that look like? We are constantly changing roles, as well. What does that look like?

Not sure where am I going with this, I am really just beginning to piece this together, this idea of doing a series of charcoal portraits from photos that speak of archetypes and the mythic figure, and can I make it interesting. One of my therapists used to say, beware the "euphoric recall."

But is there not a place for this?


Susan Beauchemin said...

I love the the video!! Mom looks good and so good to hear her try to recall those ditties. Her word for juice is better than juice! I can so relate with her, since I have a hard time with words myself! Sounds like you might have a title for your show already---I like Myth-ing Persons, but I also like Euphoric Recall!

Martha Miller said...


Susan Beauchemin said...

The art of Paul Bradley is interesting--I've never heard of him before, but I clicked on your link and watched a video of him working. It looks to me like he goes on imaginative adventures with his art--something I should do more of myself.

KaHolly said...

I love that title, Martha. I think you've hit it! This was a great post today. I enjoyed the opportunity to click on the various links to youir previous posts, all the photos and feelings expressed. Your mom is the sweetest thing. It's difficult, I know. My own mom died suddenly at the age of 50. Thanks for sharing your inner most! ~karen

Deborah Ross said...

What interesting questions for thought. Your mom looks like she had a lot of fun when you visited. It's wonderful that she still remembers you. I know how hard it is to go through all of this.
I love the title Mything Persons.

Dean Grey said...

(((HUGS))) Martha!

I'm sorry that your mother needs more care but am happy to hear she's in good spirits.

This is EXACTLY why I love your blog. You always discuss such interesting things. I'd love to have lunch with you one of these days and just pick that amazing brain of yours!

To answer your question......

The few dreams I've had about my now deceased father all showed him being 10-15 years younger and he seemed to know something that I didn't. Like he learned a secret on the other side and wasn't telling me.



Martha Miller said...

Thankyou ALL for dropping in! I just might very well call my show Myth-ing Persons! Your encouragement and feedback is so helpful, THANKYOU!!!