Sunday, November 21, 2010


Dear Ellen

I am finally home again, safe and sound, now rested, now happy to be back in the routine of simpler things. The show in Philadelphia was a success in many ways, but the connection to friends and the interaction with people seems to be most important to me in these past few shows. I find the messages in these conversations are always just exactly what I'm needing to hear and the emotional connection so beautiful. It's almost as though I sit and wait for it to walk in, expecting it, knowing there will be someone who will share something amazing with me at some point.

Sure enough, the messinger arrived.

A man walked into my booth and looked carefully at each piece of art, leaving and then returning some time later to make a selection. He chose a piece and as we completed the transaction he told me he was touched by my work and was giving the art as a gift to his five year old daughter. He then shared he had terminal cancer. We spoke for just a few moments, but the connection was genuine and touching. There was an understanding communicated through my work to him and through his vulnerable conversation to me. I thought that was the "gem" I'd been anticipating.

I returned home and although happy to be in familiar surroundings I felt somewhat lost, the result of traveling a 100 miles an hour for the past month and then stopping abruptly at the end of the journey. In a funk, I went to the studio to pick up my mail, expecting to find a stack of bills. Instead I found a letter from the man I had spoken with. The envelope contained a wonderful little drawing by his daughter and a poem he had written for me. I found myself dropping into a chair to cry. This man who I had never met had been moved enough by my work to write this beautiful poem. What an amazing gift from a complete stranger. The poem is focused on a small sculpture I had done of a feminine figure hanging upside down by wires, encased in translucent cloth and representing a cocoon, a chrysalis. The title of the piece was "Transformed" and this is his poem:

Star toed, she hangs,
The porcelain pendulum of a chrysalis,
Defying the shell of her spent vessel.

Woven memory,
Love fed new life.
Shadow partnered,
Each movement,
A dance step echoed.
The choreopgraphy,
The serendipity of lives shared.
One so close, another name not needed,
Halves merged without the vestige of separation.
Hear the wings of gossamer unfolding.

Over the many years I have been doing shows as an artist I've had wonderful encounters with people, but never have I been so touched and humbled by such a sweet gesture. It reminds me, again, of what's important. You taught me this lesson through your life and within our relationship to each other. It's the human connection, the threads which bind us to one another, making us whole and truly alive, which live on when we leave this world for another. What a beautiful gift in such simplicity.

So, I turn toward December and the month which holds too many memories.

And I carry these threads as my shield.



Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the poem - I wept before my screen after reading the words of two people I've never met (you and he). But not strangers because of the human threads that bind us all.

Could you share a photo of the piece art he purchased?

P.S. I sense that there are blessing coming at you from all directions - don't miss them!

Pam said...

That's beautiful... the encounter, the sharing. Did you share any of your story with him? verbally, I mean, since your work already spoke for you. I have to think that he was in search of a messenger as well, and he found you. Those heartfelt connections that come from pain are the most intensely wonderous I think. Thank you for sharing this story.

Anonymous said...

I think of you... and Ellen and then I check this blog... I'm never disappointed with what I find. You are so open, so vulnerable, so connected with life...
and death... This experience has forever changed you and you continue to touch us all...


danielle said...

What an amazing gift that you shared with this messenger...
Thank you for reminding us of these precious moments of life when we feel connected to simple beauty and pure emotions