May 19th, 2010

This is part of my packet letter to my advisor for school. Some of you may be wondering how we communicate. This just encapsulates so much of what is going with me these days and I have not really done any blogging. I may add more of my packet work as I go on, but this is my last packet for the semester and I am in my fourth semester. I will graduate in Jan 2011. Next semester I write my thesis…or portfolio, as we say at Goddard. This is just my cover letter, where we do a little catch up. The article I am referring to is called The Careless Society: Community and it’s Counterfeits by John McKnight. The story I refer to is John Deere and the Berievement Counselor. Since I am going through the hospice training I really had to ask myself some hard questions about my “helpfulness”. I will post my in-depth response to this article later. Again, this is just the beginning of a cover letter. There’s always a re-write etc.

Dear Peter,
This has been one powerful packet time. The article you sent rocked me and I spent so much time figuring out what that meant to me and how to locate myself. I also reconnected with my father’s family after 33 years. I haven’t met them yet, but emailing and exchanging photos etc. with my cousin, whom I barely remember. She sent a home video that included my mother and father and watching him laughing and enjoying life was/is such good medicine for me. I’ve been having some amazingly good cries. A family friend died suddenly, although not unexpectedly, yesterday. My views on death are shifting. Hospice continues to be a tremendously powerful education for me. There is a lot going on. The building where I have my teaching studio just sold and has me seriously considering adding onto my house and moving my entire operation home….by October. Through all of this, I feel like I’m managing well. My students, friends, my kids, and my Mom have all been very supportive. I am not trying to control any of this, so that makes it easier to flow with the ups and downs. Also, since I’m self-employed I can give myself a break here and there when I need it. I built a chicken coop with a friend of mine. It’s not exactly pretty, but it kept my mind and body occupied. There’s been some hard work on my property, digging a new garden, moving dirt, un-building and rebuilding the foundation of my salt kiln. Leveling, adding layers of new bricks, and stacking, hauling, and transporting bricks, cinderblocks, and baby chicks. I was about to say that I haven’t gotten much reading done, but I forget that my Hospice manual is as thick as a bible and I am engaged in a second major of sorts, astrology, that I have yet to intertwine. Oh yeah, then there’s the music….hmmm. I really need to tell myself that I AM working hard everyday. I still drag around a “slacker” mentality. It’s not until I write it all down that I can see how much I do. I’m getting better. I think when I am not required to do packets that I will shift into a monthly “check in” with myself, where I write, reflect, and document. It is such a beautiful experience. The blog…yes, the overlooked blog. That’s a great avenue and it seems like someone out there is listening. This could easily be a 50 page packet, but I will edit extraneous meanderings and give you the “meat” of my last few weeks.

All of the things I mention in the above letter will be flushed out and I will add the creative work I have been engaged in, with photos. The articles, books, websites, documentaries, artists, and museum visits etc. are documented through a bibliography. I will engage in some theoretical discussion and comparisons/contrasts of historical and contemporary artists. Sometimes those artists are painters, poets, writers, musicians or ceramic sculptors. The nice thing about Goddard is the full-breadth of artistic influence. The other beautiful thing about the Goddard way is advisors ability to guide, but not overtake or dominate the education we are seeking. It is for those students who are passionate about their learning and responsible with their time. Ok, I’ve got to finish this packet. It takes me about 3 or 4 days to pull it together. This one is due on Monday the 24th.

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