The “Torah of Jenny” was a project that I started with an art therapist, Lore Caldwell, who I was seeing in Littleton. She started me with a roll of brown paper, and it turned out to be my life as seen by a fierce feisty part of me. I really enjoyed seeing each new section develop. You can see that it’s colorful and has lots of energy.
(The process took from April to July 2006)
Painted all day with group in Marshfield. Really got into the colors. Except for a pink bunny — and a tree— there were no recognizable shapes. I enjoyed the process. At one point I got stuck. Sue suggested painting details so I did. Then I began to see what needed to happen with a patch, so that the painting began to refine itself, get more cohesive. The result was a combination of heaviness groundedness-earthiness and a light bubbly quality. Reminded me of my mountain with all the tiny helium balloons. (Too bad I don’t have a picture of it.)
Took the pink rabbit to Lore. I had gotten a sense that the rabbit represented an irrepressable part of me that is “still going” despite all attempts to squash it. Behind it is chaos which becomes a primitive sea creature and a tree, backed up by the tree, the rabbit is headed away from the chaos and into new territory. Lore confirmed this reading.
Saw Lore yesterday. Told her I’d gotten to “an edge”, the place where if I start to feel beautiful, creative, talented — I shrink in fear of being attacked. Lore said “Draw the edge.” I said “Nooooo” crouching and rolling like Bella. Then I conceeded it was worth a try. She got out a roll of brown paper and a big box of crayons. I began with an explosion of color, and then it was squashed by “Don’t think you’re so great.” The story went on in surprising ways. I hadn’t finished it when time was up, so she cut off a lot of brown paper so I could finish it at home. I’ll have to get a box of real crayons. She made me shift to my left hand, tho I don’t think it makes that much difference. The same one got out who made the self portrait. Angry, spunky, outrageous — the tough little drip that just wouldn’t quit — I drew a pink bunny under the first round of oppression. Lore suggested google images, so I went there and got one and printed out a page of 9. Tee hee.
Went to Lore yesterday and worked some more on the Torah of Jenny. It was fun. Whoever that feisty little person inside is, she knows what she wants to say. I ran out of steam after about an hour. But I think it’s her liberation that’s creating more energy in my life.
Saw Lore — did another chapter of the Torah of Jenny. It’s hard work — I’m tired after an hour. But I know it’s important to keep going — it’s really freeing up that rebellious, obnoxious, feisty energy. I was wondering who I would have been without the trauma and dysfunction, somebody a lot more abrasive perhaps, without any compassion — and she popped up, said “I am compassionate, I fight for the downtrodden, the outcasts, the oppressed… ” Right. I always have been a fighter, at least in my thinking, from seeing how Betsy Dixon was discriminated against in 8th Grade History class to Journey into Courage.
Saw Lore yesterday. Worked some more on the “Torah of Jenny”. The Great Depression of 1970. Could not remember for a while what brought me out of it — but it was my brother Jack saying “Buddha says life is suffering” and I hit bottom with a tangible thump. No longer thrashing in the swamp of depression.
I finished it in the spring of 2007, so it could be in a show at Springfield College, where Lore is a teacher. It’s hard to read, but the clouds of SAD and SCARED are being lifted up by arrows labeled MEDICATION, THYROID SUPPLEMENTS, and SOMATIC EXPERIENCING. The pink bunny is carrying a green sign that says MAKE ART.