Encuentros virtuales en vivo: Sábado 16 de Enero, 13:00 EST

El texto que elegimos para esta sesión fue “Proverbios y cantares (XXIX)” por Antonio Machado y “Cantares” por Joan Manuel Serrat.

“Escribe acerca de un camino.”

Por favor, únase a nosotros para nuestra próxima sesión en español, con fecha por anunciar, con más oportunidades de sesiones en otros idiomas listadas en nuestra página de sesiones grupales virtuales en vivo, así que siguenos en nuestras redes sociales!

¡Esperamos verte pronto!


Proverbios y cantares (XXIX) | Antonio Machado
Caminante, son tus huellas​
 el camino y nada más;​
 Caminante, no hay camino,​
 se hace camino al andar.​
 Al andar se hace el camino,​
 y al volver la vista atrás​
 se ve la senda que nunca​
 se ha de volver a pisar.​
 Caminante no hay camino​
 sino estelas en la mar.

Cantares | Joan Manuel Serrat
Todo pasa y todo queda​
 Pero lo nuestro es pasar​
 Pasar haciendo caminos​
 Caminos sobre la mar​
 Nunca perseguí la gloria​
 Ni dejar en la memoria​
 De los hombres mi canción​
 Yo amo los mundos sutiles​
 Ingrávidos y gentiles​
 Como pompas de jabón​
 Me gusta verlos pintarse de sol y grana​
 Volar bajo el cielo azul​
 Temblar súbitamente y quebrarse​
 Nunca perseguí la gloria​
 Caminante son tus huellas el camino y nada más​
 Caminante, no hay camino se hace camino al andar​
 Al andar se hace camino​
 Y al volver la vista atrás​
 Se ve la senda que nunca​
 Se ha de volver a pisar​
 Caminante no hay camino sino estelas en la mar​
 Hace algún tiempo en ese lugar​
 Donde hoy los bosques se visten de espinos​
 Se oyó la voz de un poeta gritar​
 Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar​
 Golpe a golpe, verso a verso​
 Murió el poeta lejos del hogar​
 Le cubre el polvo de un país vecino​
 Al alejarse, le vieron llorar​
 Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar​
 Golpe a golpe, verso a verso​
 Cuando el jilguero no puede cantar​
 Cuando el poeta es un peregrino​
 Cuando de nada nos sirve rezar​
 Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar​
 Golpe a golpe y verso a verso​
 Y golpe a golpe, verso a verso​
 Y golpe a golpe, verso a verso​


Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EST January 13th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

We had 24 participants of which 4 were first time attendees. The text was the painting “The Gate” by David Hockney, but the title was not revealed until the end of our close reading session.

All participants were asked to spend 2 minutes to slowly explore the artwork; then we asked them to describe their experience of engaging with the painting. Initial impressions focused on the colors (so much vibrancy and contrast) followed by a sense of closeness that made it difficult to breathe, like in mid-summer when everything is so humid and overgrown and in need of thinning out — an overwhelming aliveness. Others just felt the joyousness of wanting to play or being on vacation. One likened the feeling to being in a fairytale or taken to another land – transported. As the observations deepened (and the narrative thickened), the branches seemed to appear warped and contributed to a feeling of insecurity. The descent of the path led to both open and unopened options (Can you open the gate? Where does the path to the left lead?) and visually contributed to a warped state of mind. One person interpreted addiction/depression versus the greenery of nature. The bottom half of the painting, which is the foreground, felt constrained with a green fence on the right and a wall that insists on descent. The potted plant seemed to represent a restriction to growth. The top half of the painting showed nature yearning to reach up to the light with a tangle of branches seeking freedom. But the trunks of those same trees, in the bottom foreground, were “in your face”.  One person related this place to her time in Kenya where a gate was a symbol often of exclusion provoking the question about what is on the other side, and is it as lovely as what is on this side?

Asked to title the painting, our participants had many different ideas: Branches, Escape, Hope, Serene Chaos, Escape to Paradise, Tenuous Harmony, Go Where It Is Alive, Beyond the Gate and many more. Our final discussion question asked what this painting would leave you contemplating: We don’t control what’s around us, The Light, Confusion versus Structure and Freedom of Nature.

The group wrote to the prompt “Write about a descent,” and five writers shared their responses: “The Impostor” described an ascent/descent of someone having a near-death experience and returning to the body; we were aware of space, motion, and a feeling of being “pressed against the ceiling.” Next we heard of “so much anger, so much dissent/I yearn for a place of solitude. The third writer recognized a gate that separates us from them: “I descend towards structure but perhaps there lies madness.” The bright colors in the Hockney painting contrasted with the fourth writer/reader’s description of seven adjacent homes that generate “numerous arguments over various shades of gray/rotten cedar siding/trimmed in white holds us together.” The group discussed the literal and metaphorical of this vivid description. Closing out the session was a haiku invitation: “Garden of Eden/Perfection’s a bit boring/Go beyond the gate.”

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 January 18th 2021 at 6pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


The Gate –
David Hockney 
2000
oil on canvas
60×76 in.

Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EST January 11th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

Our text was an excerpt from the chapter “Birth” from “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman, posted below.

Our prompt was a choice between “Describe a space of new beginnings” or “Write about being at ground level.”

More details will be posted on this session, so check back soon!

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 Wednesday, January 13th at 12pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


“Birth” from “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman

If Lia Lee had been born in the highlands of northwest Laos, where her parents and twelve of her brothers and sisters were born, her mother would have squatted on the floor of the house that her father had built from ax-hewn planks thatched with bamboo and grass. The floor was dirt, but it was clean. Her mother, Foua, sprinkled it regularly with water to keep the dust down and swept it every morning and evening with a broom she had made of grass and bark. She used a bamboo dustpan, which she had also made herself, to collect the feces of the children who were too young to defecate outside, and emptied its contents in the forest. Even if Foua had been a less fastidious housekeeper, her newborn babies wouldn’t have gotten dirty, since she never let them actually touch the floor. She remains proud to this day that she delivered each of them into her own hands, reaching between her legs to ease out the head and then letting the rest of the body slip out onto her bent forearms. No birth attendant was present, though if her throat became dry during labor, her husband, Nao Kao, was permitted to bring her a cup of hot water, as long as he averted his eyes from her body. Because Foua believed that moaning or screaming would thwart the birth, she labored in silence, with the exception of an occasional prayer to her ancestors. She was so quiet that although most of her babies were born at night, her older children slept undisturbed on a communal bamboo pallet a few feet away, and woke only when they heard the cry of their new brother or sister. After each birth, Nao Kao cut the umbilical cord with heated scissors and tied it with string. The Foua washed the baby with water she had carried from the stream, usually in the early phases of labor, in a wooden and bamboo pack-barred strapped to her back.

(C) 1997 Anne Fadiman All rights reserved. ISBN: 0-374-26781-2


Ζωντανή συνεδρία αφηγηματικής ιατρικής: Κυριακή 10 Ιανουαρίου, 8:30 pm EEST

Σας ευχαριστούμε που συμμετείχατε σε αυτήν τη συνεδρία.

 Ζωγραφική: “Εσωτερικό” (Τάσος Χώνιας)

Θέμα: “Γράψτε για τη φορά που μπήκατε σε/βγήκατε από ένα δωμάτιο” ή “Ζωγραφίστε ένα ιδιαίτερο δωμάτιο”

Σύντομα θα μοιραστούμε περισσότερες πληροφορίες σχετικά με αυτήν τη συνεδρία, γι ‘αυτό επιστρέψτε ξανά.

Σας προσκαλούμε να μοιραστείτε τα γραπτά σας μαζί μας παρακάτω.

Καλούμε όλες και όλους που συμμετείχατε να μοιραστείτε όσα γράψατε κατά τη διάρκεια της συνεδρίας μας παρακάτω (“Leave a reply”) και να κρατήσουμε αυτή την τόσο ενδιαφέρουσα συζήτησή μας ζωντανή, υπενθυμίζοντάς σας, βεβαίως, ότι αυτή είναι μια δημόσια πλατφόρμα και η πρόσβαση ανοιχτή στο κοινό.

Θα θέλαμε να μάθουμε περισσότερα  για την εμπειρία σας με αυτές τις συνεδρίες. Αν το επιθυμείτε, παρακαλούμε αφιερώστε λίγο χρόνο σε μια σύντομη έρευνα δύο ερωτήσεων!

Ακολουθήστε τον σύνδεσμο: https://tinyurl.com/nmedg-survey


Ζωγραφική: “Εσωτερικό” (Τάσος Χώνιας)


Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EST December 23rd 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

Our last workshop of 2020 included a community of 25 new and returning participants from the
US, Canada, the UK, Bahrain, India, Indonesia, Portugal, Greece, France, and Turkey.

To help immerse themselves in today’s text (“Molly Sweeney” by Irish playwright Brian Friel)
the group was invited to listen to it read with their eyes closed. They then followed along a
second time (eyes open, text visible), comparing/contrasting the two methods and noting what
language/images resonated. Subjective reactions to “listening in blindness” included
“inspiring,” “full of images,” “sneaky,” “a little frightening” and “adding an unknown element.”

The prompt, “Bring us to a dance” generated prose and verse responses reflecting themes of
how “Norms can be constraining…symbiosis can lead to a transcendental experience” as well as
fear, risk, anxiety, and perception defining reality with different kinds of sightedness. After one
writer explored the rhythm (through rhyme) of a dance recital’s pressure of performance, the
next writer employed internal rhyme to explore the embodiment of musicality through
“twirling and twisting…nerves and hopes.” The next dance was full of multisensory colors,
textures and movement (“I am uplifted in spirit and in sight”). This solo private dance seemed
to offer hope for the future: alone but in communion with nature. Another writer welcomed us
to a Sunday kitchen where a grandmother in her “fluid, fragrant fabric” cooked using a variety
of utensils. Our last dance was a Gilbert and Sullivan ball where a young woman’s choice of
understated attire made her feel “worse than naked” as she took the floor with her partner.
The vivid description was like an invitation we all need in these sequestered times: “I so want to
get into a huge open room and waltz.”

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!

Join us for our next live session, following a break for the holiday season, on Monday January 11th at 6pm EST. This will be our last virtual session for 2020, and we hope that we will all be able to find time to celebrate, even if remotely, with family and friends over the next two weeks, and enter the new year in health and safety. Following Monday January 11th, we will be recommencing with our virtual group sessions on a regular schedule, with updates and times to be listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


MOLLY

As usual Rita was wonderful. She washed my hair, my bloody useless hair — I can do nothing with it — she washed it in this special shampoo she concocted herself. Then she pulled it all away back from my face and piled it up, just here, and held it in place with her mother’s silver ornamental comb. And she gave me her black shoes and her new woolen dress she’s just bought for her brother’s wedding.

  “There’s still something not right,” she said. “You still remind me of my Aunt Madge. Here — try these.” And she whipped off her earrings and put them on me. “Now we have it,” she said. “Bloody lethal. Francis Constantine, you’re a dead duck!”

FRANK

She had the time of her life. Knew she would. We danced every dance. Sang every song at the top of our voices. Ate an enormous supper. Even won a spot prize: a tin of shortbread and a bottle of Albanian wine. The samba, actually. I wasn’t bad at the samba once. Dancing. I knew. I explained the whole thing to her. She had to agree. For God’s sake she didn’t have to say a word — she just glowed.

MOLLY

It was almost at the end of the night — we were doing an old-time waltz — and suddenly he said to me, “You are such a beautiful woman, Molly.”

Nobody had ever said anything like that to me before. I was afraid I might cry. And before I could say a word, he plunged on: “Of course I know that the very idea of appearance, of how things look, can’t have much meaning for you. I do understand that. And maybe at heart you’re a real philosophical skeptic because you question not only the idea of appearance but probably the existence of external reality itself. Do you, Molly?”

Honest to God . . . the second last dance at the Hikers Club . . . a leisurely, old-time waltz . . .And I knew that night that he would ask me to marry him. Because he liked me — I knew he did. And because of my blindness — oh, yes, that fascinated him. He couldn’t resist the different, the strange. I think he believed that some elusive off-beat truth resided in the quirky, the off-beat. I suppose that’s what made him such a restless man. Rita of course said it was inevitable he would propose to me. “All part of the same pattern, sweetie: bees — whales — Iranian goats — Molly Sweeney.” Maybe she was right.

 And I knew, too, after that night in the Hikers Club, that if he did ask me to marry him, for no very good reason at all I would probably say yes.

Friel, Brian. Molly Sweeney. Plume, 1994.


Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EST December 21st 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session, we read an excerpt from Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit, posted below.

Our prompt was: Write about light and darkness.

Twenty-two participants, at least two new people, from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States were joined this evening not only by an excerpt from Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit, but also by our shared hope to see The Great Conjunction in the night sky. Only one person (in New York City) witnessed the “and” of Jupiter and Saturn; a person (on the west coast) still waited for nightfall.

In Solnit’s paragraph about celestial light as guides for moths and other insects and the disorientation and danger caused by candles and electric light bulbs, we noticed: the initial sentences gaining intensity in “strong sentences” cautioning humans about setting impossible goals, with hopes pinned only on arrival at some heaven or utopia that can lead to activist burnout and/or alienating others. We were reminded of Icarus’s wax wings and the Bruegel painting (which we looked at together in April, blog post here), of the mural “Everything the Light Touches” (which we looked at together in August, blog post here) and of the song “Blinded by the Light.” One sentence that drew us to it stated that, for moths, “to arrive is a calamity.” We wondered why moths have not adapted to light on earth and contemplated our own intentions and expectations regarding paths and destinations. We considered differing perspectives and beliefs: some look up and see “heaven” and others see the sky made of gases. In light of this evening’s Conjunction, one person said that scientists call “Jupiter and Saturn” that which her mother called “The Christmas Star.” Many were drawn to the conclusion that “aiming high is a goal, not a destination”, and a shared commitment to cherish – and learn from – each journey. We also reflected on the power of heavenly bodies, which we saw as physical planets and philosophical ideas: “just think,” one participant observed. “the moon can move the sea”.

Before writing about light and darkness, we looked at images of artifacts, which are part of earthly rituals, and a sliver of light and visible darkness in space. In the chat, individual reactions included:

“I feel small.”
“Stretch to climb out of darkness.”
“Calming.”
“New dawn.”
“Wait without hope,” attributed to T.S. Eliot.

After writing for four minutes, we listened to four readers.

One first-person narration groped in the dark “arms outstretched” to feel the way before seeing a “golden orb” and feeling welcomed by its light. That reading prompted others to hear both uncertainty and certainty. Another listener was reminded of a climb on Mt. St. Helens–arms outstretched–and arriving at the solidness of a ladder. Another person wrote of seeing by a kitchen lamp and the light of her computer, of “big, bad corporate” technologists sitting together “without a specific goal” and ending up with Zoom, the unanticipated discovery that was allowing her to see the faces of others and feel connected to twenty-two souls. That reading reached us as “a performance piece.” A third reading contemplated truth and light, examining their meaning, admitting “This is hard” and asking “What is truth?” and wondering about the sources and direction of light shining on truth. The fourth reading made characters of light and dark, anthropomorphizing these properties as siblings–conjoined twins–taking turns, each offering the other rest when day turns to night and night turns to day.

We concluded the evening–and 2020’s Monday Evening Narrative Medicine VGS gatherings–with a PowerPoint slide wishing a wonderful, restful, healthy end to 2020 and fabulous beginning to 2021, until we Zoom again. Blessings and good will echoed in the chat. 

Thank you everyone for nine months of reading and writing together.

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 Wednesday, December 23rd at 12pm EST. After that, we will be taking a brief break for the holiday season, with the hope that we will all be able to find time to celebrate, even if remotely, with family and friends, and enter the new year in health and safety. We will be recommencing with our virtual group sessions starting Monday January 11th at 6pm EST, with registration now open on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Moths and other nocturnal insects navigate by the moon and stars. Those heavenly bodies are useful for them to find their way, even though they never get far from the surface of the earth. But lightbulbs and candles send them astray; they fly into the heat or the flame and die. For these creatures, to arrive is a calamity. When activists mistake heaven for some goal at which they must arrive, rather than an idea to navigate Earth by, they burn themselves out, or they set up a totalitarian utopia in which others are burned in the flames. Don’t mistake a lightbulb for the moon, and don’t believe the moon is useless unless we land on it.

Solnit, Rebecca. Hope in the Dark (2016) “Getting the Hell Out of Paradise.” P. 79  


Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EST December 16th 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session, we returned to another excerpt from the graphic novel “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan.

Our prompt was: Write about a place you’ve left behind.

More details about this session will be posted soon, so check back!

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, December 21st at 6pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EST December 14th 2020

17 participants from MA, ME, NJ, NY, PA, Montreal and United Kingdom joined us today for our Monday session. Today, we welcomed three new participants! All together, we close-looked the painting “Before the Shot” by Norman Rockwell (you can find it at the end of this blog). Our Zoom room filled with many smiles as people made connections to their own experiences as children going to the doctor or to our present moment of waiting-for-the-vaccine.

Several participants drew attention to the color dominating the canvas, as they were struck by all the green: even the doctor’s head is green! We followed were the color green took us – whether to the green theme of The Great Gatsby or green as a code for “go!” We saw it all come together in the space conveyed by the painting. Is this a home office? A rural setting? 

We wondered who is absent in this painting – are the child’s parents in the room? “We would think so,” someone volunteered; someone else pointed how, at the time the painting was completed, there may have been “different standards, trust, and behaviors”. A coat and a hat, presumably the child’s, are not held by parent. Is the winter cap (with earmuffs) the painter’s way of signaling the season? Another person thought the hat and coat were neatly hung on the chair so it “must have been parent not 8-year-old boy”. 

We focused on the boy, with many noting that he was reading the diploma on the wall. “Can he even read”? someone asked. Collectively, we reflected on what this reading of the diploma raises for us. “He’s checking out who is this person about to give him the shot – is he worth trusting?” pointed out one participant. 

Before we revealed title and painting, several in the room recognized that the illustrator is Norman Rockwell, transported to the scenes from ordinary life he brought to the canvas in the 1950s. Immediately, we also thought of the COVID-19 vaccine being administered this week for the first time in US, and of the tale-as-old-as-time that is the complex relationship between patients and their healthcare providers. We returned to reading the body language of the boy, with some reading interest (in his reading); some seeing “trust”; several worried about his balance. What was he standing on? Was he instructed to stand on the chair? Was he told to lower his pants… does he know the drill? The “pinch” that is about to come next? “Trust and vulnerability is captured,” one participant concluded. Hinting at the diploma, we, too, wondered – is he qualified to do this? One person said the style of illustration conveys lightness and “Everything Will Be Okay.” Several participants, recalling their childhoods and different practice standards of the past: how “doctors used to deceive the kids”, and how that may come through the painting as well (the physician seems to be drawing the fluid in secret, his back to a kid who likely doesn’t have a clue). “Doctors used to sneak out on kids and did things without instructions and parental involvement,” added another participant. How have things changed today? Do we have more or less trust in the medical establishment, today compared to yesterday? “We are much more open to questions, these days,” someone volunteered. “That’s a good thing,” someone else concluded.

In a second moment, we focused more on the provider. Many recognized the familiar emotion of wanting to be transparent, and caring for patients’ health… while also protecting them from their fears. When should providers do when they don’t want a procedure or experience to be painful, or when they are concerned that one unpleasant experience will set the stage with fear of future clinical encounters? Should we turn our backs? Ask our patients to look away? Say it won’t hurt, or that “it will be over in a minute”? It was helpful to have two practitioners talk of their experiences of knowing they were inflicting pain, while wanting to minimize the pain they knew was a necessity or – at least – a greater good. Finally, we wondered – what would this picture look like two minutes from now? And whose perspective is this painting from?

Before writing to the prompt, we asked participants to drop into the chat possible titles:

Bottoms Up

Any Minute Now

Don’t Worry This Won’t Hurt a Bit

Just Trust Me

Almost Done

The Family Doctor

Full Disclosure

Three people read aloud what they wrote to the prompt: Write about trust and distrust.

One was filled with childhood belief and disbelief: wondering if her parents were aliens–complete with looking for zippers and seams! Another text was filled with questions about what allows for trust and/or mistrust “two sides of the same coin” and if it can be “flipped.” If one crosses the boundary between the two, is it possible to go back? A participant responded to the reader with her interest in the “facets” of trust and associating valuable gems, like diamonds also having facets, and how valuable trust is.

Another reader performed her “worry” but repeating “Yes, I am a worrier” as she reflected on clinical encounters with her primary care doctor and other specialists. How she knows she knows her body and, when her physician doesn’t order tests she wants, it can feel “stingy.” This led to the group discussing the economics of healthcare and, with participants from countries with universal health care, how different our concerns and perspectives can be.

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 Wednesday, December 16th at 12pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


“Before the Shot”
signed “Norman Rockwell” lower center
oil on canvas
29 x 27 in. (73.5 x 68.5 cm.)
Painted in 1958.


Ζωντανή συνεδρία αφηγηματικής ιατρικής: Κυριακή 13 Δεκεμβρίου, 8:30 pm EEST

Σας ευχαριστούμε που συμμετείχατε σε αυτήν τη συνεδρία.

Κείμενο: Ανδρέας Εμπειρίκος, «Τριαντάφυλλα στο παράθυρο» (Υψικάμινος, 1935)

Θέμα: Σκοπός της ζωής μας είναι…

Σύντομα θα μοιραστούμε περισσότερες πληροφορίες σχετικά με αυτήν τη συνεδρία, γι ‘αυτό επιστρέψτε ξανά.

Σας προσκαλούμε να μοιραστείτε τα γραπτά σας μαζί μας παρακάτω.

Καλούμε όλες και όλους που συμμετείχατε να μοιραστείτε όσα γράψατε κατά τη διάρκεια της συνεδρίας μας παρακάτω (“Leave a reply”) και να κρατήσουμε αυτή την τόσο ενδιαφέρουσα συζήτησή μας ζωντανή, υπενθυμίζοντάς σας, βεβαίως, ότι αυτή είναι μια δημόσια πλατφόρμα και η πρόσβαση ανοιχτή στο κοινό.

Θα θέλαμε να μάθουμε περισσότερα  για την εμπειρία σας με αυτές τις συνεδρίες. Αν το επιθυμείτε, παρακαλούμε αφιερώστε λίγο χρόνο σε μια σύντομη έρευνα δύο ερωτήσεων!

Ακολουθήστε τον σύνδεσμο: https://tinyurl.com/nmedg-survey


Ανδρέας Εμπειρίκος, «Τριαντάφυλλα στο παράθυρο» (Υψικάμινος, 1935)

Σκοπός της ζωής μας δεν είναι η χαμέρπεια. Υπάρχουν απειράκις ωραιότερα πράγματα και απ’ αυτή την αγαλματώδη παρουσία του περασμένου έπους. Σκοπός της ζωής μας είναι η αγάπη.  Σκοπός της ζωής μας είναι η ατελεύτητη μάζα μας. Σκοπός της ζωής μας είναι η λυσιτελής παραδοχή της ζωής μας. Της κάθε μας ευχής εν παντί τόπω εις πάσαν στιγμήν εις κάθε αναμόχλευση των υπαρχόντων. Σκοπός της ζωής μας είναι το σεσημασμένο δέρας της υπάρξεώς μας.


Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EST December 9th 2020

For today’s session, 22 participants gathered on Zoom to closely observe the painting “Woodley Interior, Summer I” by Ephraim Rubenstein, part of his series titled The Woodley Suite series “on aging houses, broken bodies, and the passage of time.”

Participants started the session by sharing in the chat the first three things that they noticed as they looked through the doorways of the painting into glimpses of the rooms beyond. Items noted included a fragment of mirror behind the open door, the rug, light fixtures in the hall, the plant, angles of light, the sofa, and bookcase with disordered books. From these observations the conversation expanded, and we began noticing the contrasts that influenced the varied perceptions of the painting, the rooms, and perhaps the house itself. Some noted that the overall effect felt artificial or staged, that the rooms were too clean and spare to feel lived in, and yet at the same time others noted the evident sag in the couch that suggested years of use and the books that seemed to have been read and put away on impulse. Others noted that because of the clear, spare nature of the rooms their initial feeling was cold, despite the suggestion of summer by the green seen through the far window, while others felt welcomed by the warmth of the paint colors and the light spilling from the brighter rooms into the hall and the room inhabited by the “viewer.” Some speculated on who the viewer was– themselves invited in or intruding or a resident of the house whose “eye” we were borrowing. Some created stories of who might live there, the last sibling from a family moved on, and others saw a moment suspended before the viewer walked into the next rooms that we only saw fragments of, invited by the escalating brightness of light. At the close, the title and painter were revealed, along with the purpose of the series, which added new perspectives to the discussion of who may have lived in, visited, or departed this space. 

After the discussion, participants were given the choice to either “Write about entering a room” or “Draw a meaningful room.” As it happened, everyone who shared had written, and the writing provided even more wonderful insights into the ideas of space and feeling embodied within it. One writer wrote “I enter my room. I enter my life” and then later “my soul,” illustrating the possible metaphors of interior space. Another wrote about the contrast of anxiety and anticipation in entering a new room, questioning if there would be “space for me” and welcome with those who already exist there. Another piece shifted our perspective to someone entering a room that “smelled as he remembered,” before running his hands over a counter, searching for a table that he could not find before sitting on the floor, prompting many to consider what senses may not be available to all, and what other ways we can focus on the experience of a space. And one piece brought us directly into a room of grief, where family warmth and shared experience came together to both say goodbye and remember a loved one departed, an experience and memory that the room then held and kept for the writer and all. 

The close attention to the work and one another, discussion of varied perspectives and experiences, and willingness and courage to share what was drafted in reflection created a moving and profound hour for all. We thank everyone who participated, and encourage those who were not able to share their writing or drawing  in the moment to post here, if they are comfortable doing so. Thank you for joining us and we hope to see you again at another session soon!

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, December 14th at 6pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Woodley Interior, Summer I
oil on linen | 48″ x 38” | 2010
By Ephraim Rubenstein

From The Woodley Suite series “on aging houses, broken bodies, and the passage of time.” More information here: https://ephraimrubenstein.com/writing/life-is-a-house/