pegkerr: (candle)
I have been working on creating this card both before and after Rob's death:

The Widow - Committee/Council Suit
I am the One who has no comfort to ease the pain of his passing, who lingers on in darkness and in doubt as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. I dwell bound to my grief until all the world is changed and the long years of my life are utterly spent.

I am the One who has no comfort to ease the pain of his passing, the one who lingers on in darkness and in doubt as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. I dwell bound to my grief until all the world is changed and the long years of my life are utterly spent.

This one is composed of three overlaid images: 1) Arwen in mourning standing by Aragorn's sarcophagus (at 1:35 in the video below), 2) Arwen's head, bowed, in a mourning veil, (1:47 in the video below) and 3) my left hand wearing both my and Rob's wedding ring.

I became sort of fascinated with this scene in the movie (The Two Towers) after Rob developed cancer. I have a "Death" musical playlist, and I ripped the .mp3 from this scene and included it on the playlist (and cribbed the words for the description).



I like it that the images are "veiled" by being superimposed on each other, just like Arwen's mourning veil.

Rob's funeral is tomorrow. Details are in his obituary, which can found here.
pegkerr: (I told no lies and of the truth all I co)
Here's a new card I made tonight that I quite like.

I've taken the Strengthsfinder test, and my very top strength is "Strategic."

The Woman Who Copes Ahead - Committee Suit
I am the One who plans ahead to make the future as successful as possible. I can instantly plot the best path through the maze. I am the Ant who brings in the harvest, who keeps an eye on the clock and the calendar, who saves for emergencies and retirement and always remembers to pay the insurance bill. I am gifted, wise, confident, and clever. My family benefits from my foresight and organization.

I am the One who plans ahead to make the future as successful as possible. I can instantly plot the best path through the maze. I am the Ant who brings in the harvest, who keeps an eye on the clock and the calendar, who saves for emergencies and retirement and always remembers to pay the insurance bill. I am gifted, wise, confident, and clever. My family benefits from my foresight and organization.
pegkerr: (Default)
I have been at a bit of a loss because my photos are hosted over at LiveJournal, but I don't want to upload photos there anymore. Haven't quite learned the ropes here, but here goes. Anyway, made these a bit ago, but just posting them now.

Grandparent - Council Suit
I am the One who rejoices in the company of the child of my own child. I am a mentor and a teacher, a parental figure and a friend all in one. Spending time with my grandchild reintroduces me to joys which may have slipped from my own life. Our bond tightens the generations together.

I am the One who rejoices in the company of the child of my own child. I am a mentor and a teacher, a parental figure and a friend all in one. Spending time with my grandchild reintroduces me to joys which may have slipped from my own life. Our bond tightens the generations together.

Fear - Committee/Council Suit
I am the One who freezes in primal terror, trapped between the horror ahead and the threat behind.

I am the One who freezes in primal terror, trapped between the horror ahead and the threat behind.

This one is a lot about the truly difficult times I was having when I was unemployed and Rob was failing. I really don't want to go back to this mental state.

The Magical Child - Council Suit
I am the One whose holy, mystical innocence will save the world.

I am the One whose holy, mystical innocence will save the world.

The Mythopoeic Reader - Committee/Fairytale Suit
I am the One who delights in reading stories of adventure in fantastic imaginary worlds.

I am the One who delights in reading stories of adventure in fantastic imaginary worlds.
pegkerr: (Do not speak of such things)
Yet it is important, and it arises out of a number of conversations I have been observing unfold over the past couple of years.

I would like to say this is a Council Card and not a Committee Card (i.e., an aspect of me), but I don't want to be as oblivious as the subject of my card by denying my own privilege. I could have avoided the whole issue by making the subject a white man, but I wanted to remind myself pointedly of my own personal privilege rather than to sooth myself with the idea that 'this is about someone other than me.' Therefore, I made the subject a white woman, like me. I will identify the card with both suits, a bridge card.

img_privilege


Privilege - Committee/Council Suit
I am the One who is unfairly advantaged over others due to race, class, gender, education, sexual orientation, country of origin, or other characteristics outside my control, yet oblivious to that advantage. Instead I assume my success is due to my own personal merit.

This seems to me to be one of the most uncomfortable cards I've made. I also hesitate to even post it, given how raw emotions are over the recent shooting in California (and yes, I have been reading the hashtag #yesallwomen over on Twitter). But I'm going ahead anyway.

Who was it who said art should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted?
pegkerr: (Default)
I do not like this card. I am not sure whether it's because it's powerful enough to hook into an uncomfortable subject matter, or I'm not pleased with it aesthetically. Perhaps both.

(Plus I lost one of my tools while making it in the hodgepodge of all my folders of images: my burnisher, which I use to press the collage down on the matt boards. Which is extremely annoying.)

Anxiety
Anxiety - Committee/Council Suit
I am the One who is always flinching back from imagined terrors both real and unreal. I live my life in a constant state of apprehension and misery.

I can clearly see the shadow side of this card: if you are familiar with the myth of the sword of Damocles, the person the sword hangs over is powerful. Yet I feel powerless in this card. I threw in a hodgepodge of my standard terrors. I notice that many of them come from above...the sensation that an anvil is about to descend out of the sky, perhaps. The similarity of the pose of the bat and the girl pleases me. It is said that bats are just as afraid of us as we are of them (personally, they just make me come unglued).

The deatheater mask (Bellatrix Lestrange's) really should have been the Dark Mark in the sky, but I didn't have a good picture of that. Still: the deatheater masks were meant to sow anxiety and terror.

It was an uncomfortable card to make. I can't decide whether I'm displeased with it because I would have preferred the Dark Mark to the deatheater mask or because, I dunno, the sort of posed sense that the whole thing has. All the characters in the card are looking out at the audience, rather than reacting to one another.

(The girl with the steel pot over her head reminds me of the Bobs' song about Helmets, which you can hear here. The whole point of wearing a helmet, the Bobs tell us, is that it keeps you calm.)

Perhaps it just a poor choice for a card to make before starting a new work week. Nevertheless, it was the card that needed to be made.

What do you think?
pegkerr: (Default)
Here are two, one which I finished several weekends ago, and one which I am not convinced is entirely finished.

First we have this Committee Card:

The Brat (Committee)
The Brat (Committee Card)
I am the One who wants things MY WAY. If you do not allow things to be MY WAY there is no way I will be reasonable. Expect volcanic rage instead.

Marriage (Council)
Marriage (Council Card)
I am the One made from Two who have decided to join their lives and fates together, with the blessing of family and friends.

The thing that bothers me so much about this card is that I had it just about all the way assembled when I realized I was including only heterosexual couples. This was an unconscious assumption/bias, and I was quite ashamed of myself when I finally twigged to the lack. (Also a distressing lack of diversity). Duh. This from the woman who wrote The Wild Swans and campaigned for United for All Families. I like the couples I've found, but a pair of male hands with wedding rings added at the last minute--especially when all the other couples feature full body shots--hardly satisfies.

I like the card, and yet I may do it all over again. Rats.

I almost didn't post the card because I'm so embarrassed about it, but then realize I might as well show my mistakes as well.
pegkerr: (candle)
I have not been posting much because as you know, hey, cancer. But more than that, a cascade of Bad Events over the past few months (i.e., Rob's cancer), including a few more I haven't even talked about here have made things to start to feel pretty rough after almost a year of feeling quite good.

The Wave - Committee Suit
The Wave - Committee/Council Suit (Bridge card)
I am the One who can see it, in the distance but coming toward me, like a gigantic wave rising over the landscape, a doom I cannot escape. I want to flee, but I know that it's hopeless to even try. I just stand, paralyzed, knowing exactly what will happen as I watch it tower above me, crystal drops scattering like poison, and I wait for it to smash into me, sweeping me away to drown in cold nothingness.

>>>

For me, this card is about the vulnerability of fearing a recurrence of mental illness (specifically, depression in my case). I suppose it could be about anything you see coming toward you that you fear but cannot stop. Actually, now that I think about it, it would be applicable to cancer treatment, too, after you've received a diagnosis and before you start treatment.

It's also a reference to something I found in Tolkien's letters which he eventually worked into his fiction: he had a troubling recurring nightmare for years about a wave coming toward him across a landscape:
At the climactic moment of the Lord of the Rings, Faramir says to Éowyn that he is reminded of a "great dark wave climbing over the green lands and above the hills, and coming on, darkness unescapable. I often dream of it." The couple are as yet unaware of the passing of Sauron, but the symbolism is apt. Tolkien puts into Faramir's words a recurring dream that had troubled him since childhood: a "dreadful dream of the ineluctable Wave, either coming up out of a quiet sea, or coming in towering over the green inlands".

Tolkien felt that this 'Atlantis haunting' was symptomatic of a tale of universal mythic applicability, a theme "so fundamental to 'mythical history'--whether it has any kind of basis in real history…that some version of it would have to come in [to his legendarium]". Tolkien's version of the Atlantis legend was the tale of the downfall of Númenor, explicitly identified with Atlantis in many of the versions of the story that Tolkien wrote. The first was in the sketch for the novel The Lost Road, drafted around 1936 but soon abandoned.
Original reference here.
pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
I had no intention of pulling out my soulcollage materials tonight.

My backbrain, however, insisted.

This card is related to several other cards in my deck: the Bearer of Burdens card, the Time card, the Dementor card, and The Woman Who Listens to Ravens card. I also think it's the card about what can happen if you resist crossing the Hidden Passage.


Cog in the Machine - Committee Suit
Cog in the Machine - Committee Suit
I am the One who feels trapped by duty and necessity into doing work without desire. I have hidden my authentic self behind masks for so long that I am deadened to everything. I am effective for other people's profit, but never for myself. I am a slave to routine, helpless to change my own fate.



Obviously, this has been much on my mind lately.

Not sure how I feel about this card. It's something I've certainly been thinking about lately, which makes it powerful, but I don't think it's one of my more sophisticated cards, artistically.
pegkerr: (Default)
This is one of those cards where I found one image (the central one) and knew immediately I would make a card with it, but I had to wait several more months before I could find other images that would go with it. I found the second two images within the same weekend, and then sat down and immediately made the card.

This card is probably related to The Bearer of Burdens.


The Woman Who is Stressed
The Woman Who is Stressed I am the One who is overwhelmed with more than she can handle.

pegkerr: (Default)
This is a bridge card between two suits, Committee (aspects of myself) and Council (archetypes). This one is related to an earlier card I made, The Voluptuary. Where the Voluptuary, too, is extremely sensual, her sexuality is more benign, and has to do with herself. The Femme Fatale's sexuality is other directed, more calculating: she's thinking of it as a weapon she can use. She may enjoy sex, (and both the Voluptuary and the Femme Fatale are very good at it) but she may be more contemptuous of her partner. The Voluptuary seems to me to be more a purely Committee card.


Femme Fatale - Committe/Council Suit
Femme Fatale - Committe/Council Suit I am the One who is exotic, sophisticated, sensual and dangerous. I use my sexuality as a weapon. I always get what I want.

pegkerr: (Default)
I have been thinking about this.

My family has some problems that have just seemed absolutely intractable. Some of these problems I talk about in public. Some of them Elinor Dashwood is talking about in smaller locked groups on this blog on Livejournal and Dreamwidth. Some I talk about only in person, to just a handful of people.

We are trained to want the happy ending. Let's face it, happy people and winners are culturally preferred. Everyone appreciates a winner.

People in pain? People who can't get it together? People who continue to hurt, even when the people around them, the people who love them, keep trying to help them find their way out of the morass that surrounds them? Not so appealing.

I don't know quite what to do when I can't report the happy ending, both to myself, to my family and friends, and to readers of this journal.

I'm ashamed in a way. I am rather scrupulous at self-examination, and this is what I have been mulling over lately.

One of my soul collage cards is a Committee card (i.e., an aspect of myself) called The Bearer of Burdens:


The Bearer of Burdens
The Bearer of Burdens - Committee Suit
I am the One who is dependable, who bears the unbearable weight. I keep moving forward steadily through the desert that no one else can cross. I carry all that I need with me using my own inner strength. I can carry the burdens of others as well as my own.

I have been thinking lately that when I started walking across this desert, I had no idea that the journey would be so long. You keep going and going and going, reasoning, okay, this can't go on forever; sooner or later you have to get to an oasis, and you'll be able to lay this burden down. But I haven't been able to do so. And after awhile, you start to feel like a fool and a sucker for continuing to trudge forward, but what is your alternative when all around you all you see is a sandblast of desolation? Who else would pick up the burden? And if you stopped now and try to go back, who's to say whether or not you wouldn't end up just walking farther than if you just keep going in the direction you're going? There is no one to tell me. No one.

I lost one of the most important relationships in my life, I think, because the other individual, for reasons that elude me even now, said, "I'm not going to stick around any longer with you on this journey because I'm just tired of waiting for you to get to the oasis." Look, I'm tired of it, too. But I can't find any other way out of this desert than to keep walking.

I would never have believed, three years ago, that Rob would STILL not have a permanent job. I never would have believed some of the other things are still going on that I am struggling with. I can't believe I'm still walking through this desert, and the fear keeps stealing up that it looks as though I'm on the brink of dying of thirst. But what the fuck else am I supposed to do? There are no maps. No vehicles swooping down to pick me up.

I am sorry. I have no idea how long it will take or whether I will ever find the cool waters and restful shade I long for, or whether I'm even destined to get out of the desert at all. I might die of thirst out here all alone, but I have no idea which ending will happen. If only I knew. If I knew that it wasn't going to work out, I suppose at least I could put the burden down and just rest as I waited for the ending.

But I don't. If there's any chance I'll ever see the end of this desert, there isn't anyway I'm going to get out of it except under my own power.

So no, I cannot report the period of unemployment has ended, the marital and mental health problems have been solved, the house has been cleaned and the financial picture is more stable. I'm sorry, and it's getting downright embarrassing, but I just can't. The future may involve foreclosure, bankruptcy, homelessness, hospitalization, divorce. It may involve none of these things.

I don't know how this will end. But I can't see any alternative but to keep going.

(Edited to add: The ironic thing is, I am also actually on both sides of this divide, within my own immediate family.)
pegkerr: (Default)
The following cards are paired, like their counterparts in the Council Suit, the Dementor card and the Expecto Patronum card. They are related to another card, The Ravens of Unresting Thought, which is a bridge between the Committee and Council suits.

First, I did the Woman Who Listens to Ravens card, which is my Depression card.

The ravens is a reference to my favorite poem in all the world, Yeat's The Two Trees. The "ravens of unresting thought" flying through the branches of the tree he speaks of in the poem have come to represent depression for me. Clinical depression has stalked me much of my life. I had my first bout at age ten, and I'm fifty now. The marigolds are another reference to the Victorian language of the flowers: marigolds represent grief, despair, bitter pain.


The Woman who listens to Ravens - Committee Suit
The Woman who listens to Ravens - Committee Suit
I am the One who walks in shadows, listening to despair.



Right now I think my depression is under very good management. In fact, since I have to be so careful to not give depression a foothold in my own mind, it was very important to me that if I was going to do a depression card, I also had to do a Resilience Card. This feels like another Bridge card between the Committee and Council suits, like The Ravens of Unresting Thought card. I am not quite sure why. Maybe because I've thought a lot about the concept of Resilience without identifying it so much with myself. I want to BE a resilient person but old habits make me think of myself more easily as a depressive person. It is a habit I am doing my best to unlearn.

The little red bird should be a blue bird, specifically the Blue Bird of Happiness. But I couldn't find a blue bird of the right size, and heck, I like red. It seems a cheerful color to me.


Resiliance - Committee Suit/Council Suit
Resiliance - Committee Suit/Council Suit
I am the One who sees sunlight despite the clouds, who remains cheerful despite every setback. I am the living embodiment of Hope.

pegkerr: (Default)

The Bibliophile - Committee Suit
The Bibliophile - Committee Suit
I am the One who loves the written word. I am erudite, knowledgeable, curious and intelligent.


This was one of those cards that was so easy it almost seems like cheating. The picture of the library came ready-made. The only thing I added was the large book on the table in the foreground.

I love books. I inhaled them as a kid, and I wrote two of them as an adult. My Masters degree is in English language and literature.

The library on this card reminds me of the beautiful libraries I saw when I studied abroad in Cambridge, England, one of the happiest times of my life. I remember those little green lamps there.
pegkerr: (Default)
Here are some older cards:

The Sybaritic Bather )

The Romantic )

The Active Woman )

These cards were the first three that I made, and what strikes me the most looking at them now is how really simple they are. It's interesting to contrast them with a later, more complex card like this one, which layers the elements more elaborately. The Active Woman card in particular looks really simple to me: just cut out squares of little images and line them up edge to edge like tiles. If I were doing this card now, I would definitely intertwine the figures more.
pegkerr: (Default)

The Girl Who Reaches Out in Wonder Committee
The Girl Who Reaches Out in Wonder Committee
I am the One who reaches out to explore the world. I see beauty and embrace it with joy. I see love and touch it with the awe of a young girl. My senses are open to wonder. I see harmony and magic in the simple and ordinary.



This card is sort of a meta-card captures a feeling I have felt welling up in me about Soulcollaging itself. I have been feeling so desperate for so long because the fiction writing stopped, and as readers of this journal know, this was acutely painful for me. When I found I could Soulcollage, one of my primary first reactions was profound relief, that I hadn't totally lost my creativity. I don't know why it was so important to me, but it was. As I started putting cards together, I realized I was using the same process I'd used when writing short stories, and the realization was very exciting, and tinged with awe. See? Here is art. Here is beauty. I tried to capture that feeling in making this card, to acknowledge that there is still that part of me that sees and recognizes beauty and wonder. I was so tremendously relieved to discover that it wasn't gone forever, as I had feared.

I made a very deliberate decision to use only girls. I had a number of pictures of little boys doing creative things, and some of them were very good, but for some reason this card seemed to need to be a female card, not just a card about the creative child. Perhaps because I associate femininity with creativity--I still feel that being a mother (i.e., creating a baby inside myself) is one of the most remarkable creative things I've ever done. And I am, of course, the mother of daughters only. Perhaps that is related, too.
pegkerr: (Default)
This one was fun to make and rather fiddly, cutting out the images and then layering them one on top of the other. I also took advantage of the technique I was using: by using actual paper images that I had cut out, I was able to overlap them in ways that breaks the rules of perspective (characters are both behind AND in front of other characters, rather like an Escher print). This would not be possible, I don't think (?), if I were assembling purely digital images.

The Colorful Playful Free Spirit - Committee suit )
pegkerr: (Star)
The scanner is up and running. Hurrah! You can click on any of the pictures to see it closer up.

The title of this first card is a reference to my favorite poem in all the world, Yeat's The Two Trees. The ravens he speaks of in the poem have come to represent depression for me. I went back and forth as to whether this card is a "Committee Card" (something inside of me) or a "Council Card" (something archetypal). I have tentatively decided (for now) that it is a Council Card, but in fact it may be a bridge card between the two suits.

The Ravens of Unresting Thought - Council Suit )

The Bearer of Burdens - Committee Suit )

Here's one to honor one of my favorite authors. It is unusual because I use words on this card, which as a rule I think I will want to avoid when making soulcollaging cards. But this first paragraph is so famous that I couldn't resist using it. (I used the Jane Austen font, which is based upon her handwriting.) These are the table and chair she used when writing her novels.

Jane Austen - Community Suit )

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