I began writing poetry during my adolescence. I wrote/write poems about life. Whatever one's creative work, macramé or poetry or another visual or textual art, or a performative art, one's lived experiences can, and do, inform one's creations. The book shown above is a collection of poems written during, anticipating, or following trips taken with my daughter.
I live in a city only a short drive away from the most eastern point in North America. My home, St. John's, on an island on the edge of a continent, is a city known for its arts, its crafts, its poetry. Place, particularly Home Place, also very much informs my writing.
Poetry, like macramé, is about, and for, healing. In 2009, I wrote Notes To My Prostate, a chapbook of poems about life after being diagnosed with prostate cancer; it was published in 2010. The writing was a way to deal with the emotional and physical experience. A decade later, my long-time friend, photographer Ed Wyse, and I created this book celebrating living.
I did a lot of macramé in the late-70s and early-80s. Deciding to retire after almost forty years working as an educator (elementary school teacher and university professor), I felt an urge to return to knotting. This macramé holder was created for a very special friend in appreciation for the creativity and generosity he inspires.
As well as functional and aesthetic creations, such as my macramé holders, I also create works that are more purely aesthetic. SPIRIT OF MORRISSEAU, above, was inspired by the work of Norval Morrisseau. The work of other artists often calls me and challenges me to explore new possibilities for my own creativity.
In making my macramé holders, I aim to create something with both functional and aesthetic qualities. This walking stick, which I titled WISDOM STICK, also integrates the functional and the aesthetic. I am grateful for any gifts, such as this fallen piece of a branch, offered to me during my walks. The values of gratitude and generosity guide my work and life.
For me, education has always been about relationships. Whether a year long or a semester long, and whether held in one classroom or throughout a school and other sites, education is first of all a relationship. Like any relationship, how we behave while in it has a very real impact on the kind of relationship it will be, on the quality of the relationship.
We are all complex individuals. I think we work best when we are appreciated, if not entirely understood. The effort to listen to our stories as we try to explain, while also trying to understand, who we are and what we are doing is what is important. If I know you are listening, I know you care. It isn't a giant leap to the awareness that others (might) feel as I do.
I created this piece as a reflection on my own learning in a graduate class I taught about Decolonizing Pedagogies. We sat in circle for each session. I invited guests to speak with the students about their lived experiences. One of the guests was the author of the textbook we used. Each of us has our own journey. Together, our journeys create something bigger.
We all need guides on our journey. We never really know where we will meet these guides. Being open to possibilities, noticing and paying attention to the signs, and reflecting on where we have come from and travelled to all help us be present in the moment, to be aware.
Sometimes changing the position from which we view something changes not only our perspective but our understanding. Do we need to step back and taking a broader view, as in this photograph, or get closer, as in the photograph to the left? Sometimes we need both perspectives to understand what are are looking at or looking to do.
After my first year of life coaching, I created this journal for people who wanted to have a guide to work towards growth and positive change.
I also use this journal when working with individual clients or in small groups.