Friday, November 25, 2016

Broken Shells

Yesterday's three posts about collage and the brain are with me still, as I think about the difference between collage--disparate elements working together to form a whole--and chaos. In this time of chaos, I have turned to collage to try to make or find sense. It's a great strategy, if one concentrates on six or seven square inches of notebook page and doesn't look up.

The seashore is an example of a "natural collage," a random (laws of geology, hydrology, physics, meteorology notwithstanding) collection of stone, sand, shell, patterns of water, wind. Broken shells defy the adjective "broken," being almost as beautiful as they were when whole, sometimes more lovely for revealing the inner whorled column.

Can we defy the adjective "broken"? I think this is what artists do in every work of art: either celebrate the broken or take the first steps toward mending the break, forming the broken thing into something new.

From broken to new. It's what we are working towards in these difficult weeks, holding on even to broken things, because broken is still better than surreal. Collage is better than chaos. Even a few square inches here and there.


broken shells
complaint echoes complaint
throughout the night

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