Live Virtual Group Session: 2pm EDT May 17th 2020

A combination of new and returning participants, 31 total, joined us today, representing local (IN, IA, OR, CT, NJ, NY, CA WA and MI) and international (India, Canada, Italy, the UK, Morocco, Switzerland and Spain) perspectives. 

Our text was a page of six panels from cartoonist Roz Chast’s book Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? posted below. Three readers, each representing a voice in the cartoon panel sequence, read it aloud twice. One workshop participant identified a missing voice: that of the mother who was present only as the object of care. Themes discussed included the assumptive inaccuracy of classifying caretaking as “dirty work” and the proposal of caretaking as honorable,  the cyclical nature of the parent/child relationship, the intersectionality of race and gender, the tensions between self-care and care for others, and the movement through layers of time. Readers identified with the portrayal of conflicting emotions.

Our prompt “Write or draw good hands” brought us from the visually particular (tending wounds of a dirty old tomcat, white knuckles, making chicken soup, prayer beads) to the universal (holding space, comfort, goodness, visualization, caregiving at a cost, an incantation like a prayer). Accessing an emotional intergenerational space, one participant wrote, “Now is the time for holding hands,” an affirmation that seemed not only to capture the mood of the moment, but also to remind us that even a Zoom across the internet can feel like a room of care. The summarizing comment noted with wonder that the small frames of an artist’s work can hold us secure together for a moment in the great cosmos.

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured. If you chose to draw, your are welcome to share as well, simply email your visual file to narrativemedicine@columbia.edu and we will add and credit it to the post here.

Please join us for our next session Wednesday, May 20th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

4 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 2pm EDT May 17th 2020

  1. Kana (Kanako Kitamoto)

    What I need is good hands for her.
    She is such a tiny little girl.
    Her eyes, her mouth, her hands.
    I’d like to always stay prepared to welcome her, to pat her and to hug her.
    Here is her place.
    I just hope that an angel of space will help me guard and guide my daughter with my good hands.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dr Yewande Okuleye

    Kana, this poem conveys a deep sense of caring. I like the way you seem to draw a character before us. I sense the delicate spirit of a little child with tiny eyes, mouth, and hands. You invite the reader to care about this little child. I instinctively want to protect vulnerability. You extend your relationship with the reader as we engage with your hopes. We visualise how you show care. through your hands, when you pat and hug the child. We are with you when you share your hopes for the future – “I just hope that an angel of space will help me guard and guide my daughter with my good hands.” This could be a wish or prayer, for your daughter or a daughter yet to come.

    I love this piece. Thank you so much, for sharing. I admire the lightness of touch of all your poems.

    Like

    • Kana (Kanako Kitamoto)

      Dr. Yewande. Thank you very much for your beautiful words… I just cried to receive your comments. Your words are like treasures. Like jewels. Like angels! I am happy to live with your warm words.

      Like

  3. Dr Yewande Okuleye

    More than Digits and Thumbs

    Good hands hold space.

    They meet and greet you wherever you are.

    Gently, touching, your hand.

    Good hands, join hands

    clasping and catching us.

    In good hands, you, cannot fail.

    As good hands,

    are the extension of a good mind, good heart

    and, good intentions.

    Good hands, are the voice of God.

    Liked by 1 person

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