Conversation about “GR 09-01”

I had a hard day yesterday, teaching in spite of a bad sinus infection–a student left the room and showed up sobbing in Susan’s office—I got home and it was dark and cold and my arms were full of packages and I couldn’t find my key and the outside light kept going off and on. It was all very disorienting. When it was over and I was in my jams, I drew this picture called “GR-09-01,” which can viewed on my Picasa site also, at:

GR-09-01 was our telephone number in1957-58. Animal graveyard, lost in the backroads of Whidby Island, lake reflecting moon, bird with a banner that reads, “Peace, Mercutio, peace. Thou speakst of dreams….”

In the middle of a lecture, I had suddenly thought, “GR 09-01.” The images that emerged with it are of a bird with its head cut off and a snake chopped in two with the axe beside it. There are small animal headstones–all this relates to a really mythic experience I had and subsequently constellated with other images, in Edmonds. My sister Cheryl took me to an animal graveyard she had constructed with other kids her age; she led me up a path in the woods (the stepping stones you and other kids had built are in the picture). She showed me a chicken with its head cut off on the side of the path. At the top of the path was a snake that had just been cut in two–it was still writhing in a terrifying danse macabre, and I saw only the heels of a boy disappearing up the trail ahead into the woods.

On the other side of those woods was a lake that was still wild in those days (a golf course water hazard now), and the moon is reflected there speaking also to the Tarot card called The Moon and its depthful meanings.

When Cheryl and her first husband Frank were living in that cottage on Whidby Island, siblings Lisle, Toren and I were in a car with Mom–she was driving. The road was narrow and winding; the trees closed in on both sides illumined only by the sweep of headlights. We kids were doing “looking for a short-cut they never found,” when Mom cut us off sharply, and we suddenly became aware that she wasn’t sure where we were, so we were afraid, too. There was a double thump and Mom screamed–she had run over a raccoon. I said, “It was just a raccoon,” and Mom said, “Every life is a precious life. I hate killing any living thing.”

At the end of my drawing session (and I really do need to take drawing lessons), I added the bird with the banner in its teeth with a message from Shakespeare:

Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk’st of nothing.

True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who woos
Even now the frozen bosom of the north…

End of my post.

Cheryl e-mailed me, humorously, I hope!

“Well, I am a bad sister and that is for sure. I recall the little animal graveyard with delight because I built it. I do not remember showing it to you or any corpses laying around. I obviously used poor judgment and I traumatized my little sister for life!
Actually, you use everything past and present to make passionate art.”

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