Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EDT October 14th 2020

We welcomed 21 people to our virtual workshop session, including many returning participants and two newcomers. The text today was a pastel artwork by Richard Wommack, “Television Snow.” With intent, the title was withheld from the participants, who were asked to spend 2 minutes close reading the painting. Then in a break from tradition, participants were asked to consider what the title of this painting might be and to type their thoughts into the chat.

Here are just a few of the many responses: Empty Spaces, The Puzzle, Backyard Monotony, Ghost ‘burbs, Sweet Dream, Fordist Neonscape, Uniformity & Catastrophe and Radioactive Neighborhood. In the discussion that followed, feelings of isolation, sameness, and even danger due to the lack of fences were shared. Several noted the lack of human form and nature, though a sliver of purple sky was observed. The color purple that glowed was seen as either comforting or toxic. The arc of the scene and preponderance of pools (or were they basements minus rooves) prompted discussion of the surreal and dream/nightmare quality of the art. The mood was eerie, dystopian and even angry. Someone noted that this depiction of night felt like the lonliest of times, that though there were no fences to divide the inhabitants they were separate and not communicating, each in their own “castle”. The sense of smell was explored eliciting chlorine, ozonate, metallic, or simply nothing. Finally we “listened” and heard crickets, radiostatic, white noise and silence.

Writing to the prompt “Take us someplace after hours” brought us to internal spaces of “a desperate desire to matter” and an external space where “The night is about to settle…lawnmowers, leaf blowers…the stars would gradually accompany me with their stories as I arrived home.” One writer described a long day with a patient followed by dizziness and blindness that muddles our memory; another wrote a dialogic scene with two rocks in conversation that asked “Was there any life before we came? Are we the only stones to people this land?” Another writer in a medical context described “ears filled with beeps, my heart broken with death.” The group resonated with the description of stepping outside a hospital into the crisp air, a feeling like a resuscitation. Our last writer described a peaceful pandemic space (her daughter’s former bedroom) where she can “lower the light..light  my candle.” 

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.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Monday, October 19th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

Television Snow by R. Michael Wommack

9 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EDT October 14th 2020

  1. antoinette56

    After hours come days, weeks, months, years, lives, generations, centuries, eons…Grief and living concentrate in the first, deepen through all the lengthening of time. It’s a stretch that escapes our bodies, where we are trapped, in our desperate desire to matter. But time escapes us. We are like single diamond-thin shavings of being with one chance to make noise, one breath to make count. And the miracle is that we find ways to love.


    • Antoinette, this is just lovely, just a few lines. Despite the challenge you pose I find this piece so comforting. I love the line, “Its a stretch that escapes our bodies, where we are trapped, in our desperate desire to matter.” There is something universal in that and what’s interesting is that the image we examined reminded me of something from another universe. None the less, we are still able to “find ways to love!”


  2. Patricia D.

    After hours on the ICU
    My eyes glued to monitors
    My ears filled with beeps
    My hands hiding in gloves
    My thirst and hunger supressed
    My heart broken by death
    I step out into the night
    Breathe in the crisp fall air
    And feel alive once again.


    • Patricia, I just can’t get away from how the metaphor of breath and air is so relevant in the face of the shroud of COVID that hangs over us. And the metaphor applies to so much more going on in our society and world. You close with the hope to be able to feel and stay alive. Andre


  3. The crowds were gone, along with their energy, both positive and negative. She was left with their detritus — the sticky floors and counters, the bits of trash strewn everywhere. The silence after hours was the time when her mind could awaken, after all those hours as a robot with feelings turned off. In the semi-dark, her imagination had room to soar. In that glorious space, she could sing a few notes, play with them, examine how to make them speak her pain.


    • Carole, I hear how the time after hours creates a space for us to get away from the detritus of the day and let our imagination soar and tell a story with song and notes made for the task. Your words take me back to the pastel we examined where so much imagination was revealed today. I like the concept of the semi-dark – I like it better than the idea of the twilight that occurred to me. Andre


  4. Nine PM, Nine Thirty
    Time for my walk through the neighborhood
    I didn’t notice this at first
    but so many houses are already shut down for the night
    a remote, though not unfamiliar, thought for me
    as sleep remains hours away.

    The night is about to settle.

    I tried walking earlier but was disturbed by the noises –
    cars rattling by, lawnmowers and leaf blowers…

    Nine PM, Nine Thirty seemed right
    The stars would gradually emerge and
    accompany me with their stories as
    I arrived home.


  5. An experience after hours~~~

    Taking a breather, I stand here among the beauty of Nature.
    The day is vivid and alive, bursting with colors and sounds of autumn all around me.
    Butterflies flittering about visiting their favorite flora before the last petals fall to earth.
    Songbirds perched high in the treetops chatting with each other, pre-planning their voyages to warmer climes.
    I look skyward to see a flock of geese that are creating such as ruckus of honks and squeaks as they fly in formation.

    I wonder why they seem to work in an air of cooperation and unison while mankind is so lacking in these traits.
    Climbing over the backs of others to reach a sense of superiority, to establish a sense of control over others.
    Critical issues, critical problems: the hungry to be fed, pandemics to be endured, wars to be fought, disputes to be mediated, relationships to be mended, lives to be saved …
    Pick a side, take a side, and hold on for dear life, for your very life may depend on it.

    As day becomes night, all of creation settles in and quiet envelopes all.
    I crawl into bed, pull a warm blanket over my head.
    I tell myself that the problems of the world can wait until tomorrow to be solved.
    Sleep weighs heavy upon me and pulls me into that safe and comforting space.
    Realities of the day are muted and softened as the dream world overtakes me.
    In this fantasy world, life is uncluttered and I enter into the realm where the impossible becomes possible. I am the victor in all battles, I am the solver of all life’s ills.
    My sleep is deep and I am floating unburdened.

    The alarm goes off and makes that horrible ear-deafening noise that would wake the dead.
    New day, new beginnings I tell myself.
    And so it continues.
    I am here to somehow make a difference.
    Now if only I knew how.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.