Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EDT August 5th 2020

Our text was a top-view photograph of  Placebo VIII (2018) by Polish artist Agnieszka Kurant. It is described as a “custom display cabinet with custom printed paper, metal and plastic containers,”  33 x 45.5 x 4 inch. For two minutes we gazed in silence at the art, then opened a dialogue with “What do we have here?”

We immediately went to the sly names on the containers. “Provasic,” near the center of the art, for example, is the medication at play in the 1993 film The Fugitive, with Harrison Ford. Other names, like “Tripizoid,” had us laughing, and “Hubrizine” made us think about how medicines address what we think is wrong with us. We wondered what “Slug” might be for. Understanding that the medications were not real, as referenced in the artwork’s title, we wondered about the uses of placebos, and we thought about how placebos might offer care as much as cure.

The designs seen on the various packages ranged from old-fashioned to modern, moving us through time and drawing our attention to which ones we found appealing and which we shied away from. The black spaces between the containers emphasized their tidy organization, reminding one person of a quilt.

Taken as a whole, the collection reminded one participant of the ever-growing collection in her grandmother’s drawer. One person felt seduced by the colors and composition of the presentation, while another person found herself resisting it for its consumerist flavor at a time when she was trying to shed unwanted belongings. We also noticed that the colorful packaging is customer-oriented, unlike the plain packaging dispensed from pharmacies, so the medications look like something we might want to take, when of course we don’t.

Today’s prompt was “Write about something you collected.” Five participants read their writing, each with a different take on what we choose to keep, what is given to us, and what we give away (or not) and why.

Bookending our discussion, one writer reflected on her own writing: She led with mentioning/foreshadowing boxes versus their contents (a baby bracelet, a pin from skiing), employing these descriptions of these things in contrast to a brief life.

In every single box was a treasure, understated but reflecting a connection to something worth saving versus letting go.

Thematically in concert with the first writer but using the quite different form of a list, another writer described “trinkets from another life” and explored the grammar of emotions and specters of relationships that are formed by metaphorical locks and keys while revealing a physical body/mind connection.

A collection of details emerged as writers explored the quantitative nature of collecting – when it comes to art, books, photos, magazines, toys and souvenirs, how many is enough? –  as well as the intentionality of collecting and purging: “I’m trying to eliminate. I have enough.” A participant wrote about not being able to imagine her collection of stuffed animals stuffed in a landfill. Another wrote about a collection including Beanie Babies, slights and insults, genetic syndromes, ancestors, thank-you cards from patients, friends, and (unsuccessfully) fridge magnets.

Each piece of writing revealed bits of detail about its narrator: one participant described her collection of friends and relationships – like birds that may head south, yet leaving us with something behind. Some of these relationships end because of time and others because of death, and either way, we must grapple with the losses.

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, August 10th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Placebo VIII
Agnieszka Kurant
2018

(33 x 45.5 x 4 inch)

Custom display cabinet with custom printed paper, metal and plastic containers


Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EDT August 3rd 2020

Twenty people from around the globe: Canada, Chile, India, and the northeast USA: MA, ME, NJ, NY, PA gathered in our narrative Clearing to piece together possible meanings in a nineteen-line poem by Mary Oliver.

“The Summer Day” slowed us, focused us into moments of deep awareness in the presence of the speaker–someone heard as a young girl, another as the grasshopper mentioned in the poem, another as a deity, and still another as Mary Oliver. Whoever spoke, they brought our attention to an individual creature, to  many presences and wonders in nature.

Two different voices read the text out loud for us before we each contributed our piece of the puzzle – whether “corner pieces” or center pieces that added to the picture we built together. We started off by acknowledging “how intentional the grasshopper is”. Another participant envisioned a conversation unfolding, and particularly revolving around “how to be idle and blessed”. Next, we looked at the title and its relationship to the poem. We think of the summertime “as that time when our life slows down”, someone said. It’s  one in which  “we are able to contemplate these ideas” about what it means to live and be in the world. Many agreed, reflecting on how the pandemic, and staying at home, has altered our timeline this year. One participant noted the extraordinary nature of the “good life” presented in this poem: “How often will someone tell you that a grasshopper is a “really good quality way to spend a day”? Some else shared admiration for the message conveyed in the poem, pointing out how much they loved the phrase “I do know how to fall down”; we “usually think about rising up” and “the only time we think of falling, is the time we fall in love”.

Several participants offered intertextual references: the Book of Job (wondering if the final lines of the poem represents God confronting a complaining Job and inquiring what the man intended to do with the rest of his life), Anais Nin, and Annie Dillard, a prose writer who glories in the natural world.

In addition to aspects of space (in tall grass), we looked at time. The title immediately lets the reader know the season. One person drew our attention to the way in which the poet parses time into moments. Primarily in the present moment of “slow looking” and “close reading” a grasshopper, the speaker points to a future moment–a moment we will all come to–the moment of death, which prompts the speaker’s need to question how the “I” and “you” spend time.

This session, we offered two prompts, asking participants to select one:

–  “Write about what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.” 

– “Write about what you pay attention to.”

Our first reader shared a list, an eight-point actionable plan of how the writer wants and already does spend the time of her life. The facilitators were reminded that lists are genres as well; we thoroughly enjoyed following along. We had previously observed how Mary Oliver offered “a breakdown of the day” into smaller pieces for us to enjoy; similarly, our author was able to make a life plan into a digestible list of items. Towards the end, the use of the present tense woven into the list served as a powerful reminder that plans start in the present. At the same time we as a group reflected on how, specifically in pandemic times, “plans are just hopes for the future” (as conveyed by a gorgeous recent piece recently published by our creative director Nellie Herman: “Plans, now, are really just hopes. But isn’t this always true? Wasn’t it always folly to think otherwise?) 

Participants offered several wonderful comments about sound following the reading in which a voice reveals loss of cognitive ability to decipher words and how the sound still conveys meaning (hence the resolution to “now rely on your music”). We talked about developmental skills gained and lost from infancy until the end of life. We reminded each other about the importance of music for people in nursing homes (iPAD Project), how we can listen to poetry in a language we don’t speak yet appreciate rhythm and sounds expressing something that moves us. Someone chatted in that they don’t understand German or Italian but can listen to opera for hours. Someone else pointed out that “after all, we do learn language through sounds”, to which another participant shared how “voice may very well be our fingerprint” given the unique sounds and music each of us contributes to the world.

Another reader wrote about paying attention to “people and plans and not things.”, sharing simultaneously the difference between their approach through life and that of their life partner. Many in the group were able to empathize with the struggle of “syncing up with our partners” even when they prioritize or pay attention to different things. Our reader pointed out how paying attention is like “necessary nutrition”: “eating, feeding oneself with wonder.”

As our session came to a close, we returned to Mary Oliver’s invitation to slow down, soaking in the wonder of what someone described as the “grandiousness of the universe” and the “small size of the insects”. As we signed off, we each chatted in something we were taking away with us from this session into the week. We’d like to share some with you below, in the hopes that you can carry these with you into the week as well.

  • “The joy of paying attention”
  • The “root of everything” – “look closely at nature”
  • “A sense of wonder” and “a wonderful reminder of the constant availability of wonder”
  • “Listening for the music and the words”
  • “How to choose what to do with my wild and precious life”
  • “Connection and peace”
  • “A grateful heart”
  • “The beautiful circle of life”

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, August 5th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

from New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA

Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver.
All rights reserved.


Laboratori Di Medicina Narrativa: sabato 1 agosto dalle 16 alle 17.30

Siamo stati molto lieti di avervi avuti con noi!

Abbiamo esaminato insieme la fotografia “«MiRelLa»” di Fausto Podavini, che trovate alla fine della pagina. 

 Poi, abbiamo scritto al prompt: Specchio, specchio delle mie brame…”(continua tu)

Al più presto, condivideremo ulteriori dettagli della sessione. Vi invitiamo a visitare di nuovo questa pagina nei prossimi giorni.

Se avete partecipato al laboratorio, potete condividere i vostri scritti alla fine della pagina (“Leave a Reply”). Attraverso questo forum speriamo di creare uno spazio per continuare la nostra conversazione! 

Stiamo raccogliendo impressioni e breve feedback sui nostri laboratori di medicina narrativa su Zoom!

Questo breve questionario (anonimo, e aperto a chiunque abbia frequentato almeno un laboratorio) è molto importante per noi, e ci permetterà di elaborare sul valore dei nostri laboratori e sul ruolo dello spazio per riflettere e metabolizzare il momento presente. Vi preghiamo quindi di condividere le nostre riflessioni con noi! 


Fausto Podavini, «MiRelLa», Roma, 2008-2012, in “rivista per le Medical Humanities”, gennaio-aprile 2015, n. 30, anno 9. p. 2, http://www.rivista-rmh.ch


Encuentros virtuales en vivo: sábado 1 agosto, 14:00 EST

¡Tuvimos otra sesión en español y nos fue muy bien. Atendieron 16 participantes en total representando Chile, España, Estados Unidos, y Argentina. Varios asistían a estas sesiones por primera vez.

Nuestro texto fue “Entre ir y quedarse” de Octavio Paz, publicado a continuación. Dos voluntarios leyeron el poema en voz alta. Desde el principio, los comentarios de varios de los participantes se dirigían a subrayar una musicalidad del texto, un movimiento pendular, que generaba sensación de vaivén y de paz. El autor se nota “en paz” a la hora de escribir el texto. Mientras que unos participantes hablan del existencialismo que genera la lectura del texto, otros perciben el texto como una descripción onírica, un mundo de ensueño. En la misma línea, otro participante se refirió, dentro de esta musicalidad a la que se aludía, a la regularidad, al ritmo, sobre todo en relación al latido de sangre, lo cual puede ser algo muy deseable para los que tienen arritmias, por ejemplo, cuyo corazón se define por la irregularidad. Una participante hizo notar que el texto iba describiendo desde lo más externo a lo más interno del ser humano, como un embudo, rodeado de los mismos verbos, ir y quedarse, pero con distinta entonación e intención. Otro participante se identificó mucho con el concepto de pausa que aparece en el texto, como un lugar de refugio afuera del cual pasa el tiempo. Del mismo modo, otra participante identificó esta pausa con un sentido de inmortalidad, dado que el tiempo está detenido mientras dure esta pausa. Por último, esta pausa supuso para otro de los participantes la solución al problema que plantea el texto, de la duda entre ir y quedarse: la pausa lo solucionaría todo.

Escribir en conjunto: “Escribe acerca de un momento en pausa”. Varios participantes compartieron sus escritos, inspirando una muy nutrida variedad de respuestas del resto de los participantes. Las respuestas fueron variadas, pero casi todos los textos fueron “en la sombra del texto original”. Una respuesta fue una reinterpretación del texto, muy a la sombra del texto original, pero con una intensidad mayor, haciendo énfasis en lo irrefutable del tiempo. Una de las participantes describió una pausa enmarcada en un momento de gran tensión que se vivió como algo casi eterno, manteniendo en vilo a los otros oyentes. Por último, una participante entregó su texto desde un punto de vista de profesional de la salud, manifestándose en paz y tranquila sin sentirse indispensable, en un raro momento de pausa durante esta pandemia.

Se alienta a los participantes a compartir lo que escribieron a continuación (“Deja una respuesta”), para mantener la conversación aquí, teniendo en cuenta que el blog, por supuesto, es un espacio público donde no se garantiza la confidencialidad.

Por favor, únase a nosotros para nuestra próxima sesión en español: Sábado, 15 de agosto a las 2 pm EST, con más oportunidades de sesiones en otros idiomas listadas en nuestra página de sesiones grupales virtuales en vivo.

¡Esperamos verte pronto!


“Entre ir y quedarse” 
de Octavio Paz

Entre irse y quedarse duda el día,
enamorado de su transparencia.

La tarde circular es ya bahía:
en su quieto vaivén se mece el mundo.

Todo es visible y todo es elusivo,
todo está cerca y todo es intocable.

Los papeles, el libro, el vaso, el lápiz
reposan a la sombra de sus nombres.

Latir del tiempo que en mi sien repite
la misma terca sílaba de sangre.

La luz hace del muro indiferente
un espectral teatro de reflejos.

En el centro de un ojo me descubro;
no me mira, me miro en su mirada.

Se disipa el instante. Sin moverme,
yo me quedo y me voy: soy una pausa.

Wirtualna Grupa Narracyjna: Czwartek 30 lipca, 18:00 CET

{English Below}

Dziękujemy wszystkim, którzy wzięli udział w dzisiejszej, ostatniej w te wakacje, grupie narracyjnej!

Wspólnie uważnie przyjrzeliśmy się jednemu z kolaży Herty Müller o incipicie „[na granicy spytał mnie ten]” ze zbioru „Ojciec rozmawia telefonicznie z muchami”.

Inspiracja do kreatywnego pisania brzmiała: „Niedopasowane części”.

Praca dzisiejszej grupy wyraźnie odwzorowywała formę zaproponowanego tekstu – była kolażem. Różne wypowiedzi, które się pojawiały, uczucia, spostrzeżenia stanowiły jakby wycinki tekstów pochodzących z wyraźnie odmiennych całości. Uczestnicy starali się pomiędzy owymi fragmentami dostrzegać jakieś powiązania, odwołując się między innymi do pochodzenia wycinków. Relatywnie szybko grupa z poziomu dosłownej interpretacji tekstu przeszła do poziomu interpretowania samej siebie. Uczestnicy próbowali odnaleźć sens zaistniałych niezrozumień, braku punktów zaczepienia, analogicznie jak w stosunku do samego tekstu. Zaproponowano dwa sposoby odniesienia się do owych niejasności: zaakceptowanie ich takimi, jakimi są lub podejmowanie dalszych wysiłków mających na celu zbliżenie się do pełni zrozumienia. Teksty pisane przez uczestników zdawały się również stanowić wycinki niedostępnych poznaniu całości. Pod koniec pracy spostrzeżono, że w pewnym sensie dzisiejsza grupa była wycinkiem stanowiącym część kolażu, którym jest zakończony właśnie pierwszy cykl wirtualnych grup narracyjnych. Uczucia związane z jego domykaniem stanowiły tło tej pracy, momentami wyraźnie dopominając się o dostrzeżenie. W ślad za nimi ujawniły się uczucia wdzięczności, które utworzyły osobny kolaż dopełniający nasze spotkania.

RÓŻNORODNOŚĆ SZACUNEK ZROZUMIENIE
INNOŚĆ AKCEPTACJA UWAŻNOŚĆ
SŁUCHANIE ZAUFANIE ZACIEKAWIENIE
ZDUMIENIE POKORA CIERPLIWOŚĆ

Było to ostatnie spotkanie w ramach pierwszego cyklu wirtualnych grup narracyjnych. Zapraszamy do udziału w kolejnych grupach już w październiku!

Wszelkie pytania oraz prośby o organizację indywidualnych grup narracyjnych dla Waszych zespołów można przesyłać na adres: narrativemedicine@cumc.columbia.edu oraz humanistykamedyczna@cm.uj.edu.pl.

Kolaż Herty Müller „[na granicy spytał mnie ten]” pochodzi ze zbioru „Kolaże” wydanego przez Biuro Literackie w 2013.

Do zobaczenia niebawem!


Herta Müller
[na granicy spytał mnie ten]

na granicy spytał mnie ten
strażnik z brodą nad górną wargą
Dlaczego wsadza Pani ojczyznę
w kwadrat? Ja z lekka się zaśmiałam
wiele myślałam o tych swobodnych butach
bażantów o skrycie zaspanych
tej nocy o wzorze
kożucha na tym mleku o tej
piękności tych zmarszczkach zimna
do tego zrobiłam dwoje pięknych oczu


Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

Together we looked closely at one of Herta Müller’s collages “[an der Grenze hat mich der]”.

Our prompt for today was: “Misaligned parts.”

The group’s work today clearly reflected the form of the text chosen for the session – a collage. The statements shared, the feelings and the comments appeared to be cut-outs of disparate texts, different wholes. The participants attempted to notice connections between the fragments, referencing the origin of the cut-out words in the original, German text. Relatively quickly the group graduated interpreting the text to self-interpretation. The participants tried to find the meaning of some misunderstandings, of the lack of connection, as if they were still interpreting the text. Two methods of methods of accepting this lack of clarity were identified: that of their acceptance as they were and that of further attempts to reach full understanding. The written texts also appeared to be fragments of incomprehensible wholes. The conclusion was the realization that today’s work was – in a way – also a part of a collage, the collage of the virtual narrative medicine sessions that today’s meeting concluded. The emotions surrounding the closing of this cycle were the background of today’s work, on occasions almost demanding to be noticed followed by expressions of gratitude, another collage that completed our sessions.

DIVERSITY RESPECT UNDERSTANDING
OTHERNESS ACCEPTANCE ATTENTION
LISTENING TRUST CURIOSITY
WONDER HUMILITY PATIENCE

Please join us for our next sessions: Monday August 3rd, 6pm EDT (in English) and Wednesday August 5th, 12pm EDT (in English), with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

If you have questions, or would like to schedule a personalized narrative medicine session for your organization or team, email us at narrativemedicine@cumc.columbia.edu.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!


Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EDT July 29th 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

Our text for the session was “Instructions on Not Giving Up” by Ada Limón.

Our prompt was“Write your own instructions for not giving up.”

More details will be posted on this session 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, August 3rd at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


Instructions on Not Giving Up
by Ada Limón
 
More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

Copyright © 2017 by Ada Limón. 
Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 15, 2017, 
by the Academy of American Poets.

Ζωντανή συνεδρία αφηγηματικής ιατρικής: Τρίτη 28 Ιουλίου, 7 m.m. EEST

Σας ευχαριστούμε που συμμετείχατε σε αυτήν τη συνεδρία.

Το κείμενό μας για σήμερα ήταν: Ρούλη Μπούα, «Γυρίζοντας την πλάτη στο μέλλον»

Θέμα: Γράψτε για τη φορά που είδατε το μέλλον

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


Ρούλη Μπούα,
«Γυρίζοντας την πλάτη στο μέλλον»
(70×90εκ, 2007)


Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EDT July 27th 2020

Twenty-three people gathered together via Zoom to close-read Charles Simic’s 1938 poem “In the Library” and, after discussing the text, write to a prompt.

96% of participants revealed, via the NM survey, that they have participated in four or more of these NM live, virtual sessions, which, again tonight, brought together people from three continents. We love coming back together each Monday night, welcoming back our core group of veteran participants and welcoming new faces as well. Our community has grown with time, our bonds strengthened, and our eagerness to expand our narrative medicine family always growing.

After quickly reviewing the use of technology and the guidelines emanating from Narrative Medicine’s values of confidentiality and narrative humility: approaching texts with openness, welcoming diverse perspectives, and responding to each other with respect and specific references to what is “seen” and heard in each other’s writing.

As we did last week we co-constructed possible meanings in the text by offering each observation, intertextual association, or visceral reaction as “a piece of the puzzle.” The first piece of the puzzle attended to the title “In the Library” which locates the reader, as well as the speaker of the poem, in a library. (Many of us chatted our remembrances of libraries/librarians in our past or named famous librarians such as Jorge Luis Borges of Argentina’s National Library.) Later there was attention paid to being in the dictionary that was in the library where “[a]ngels and gods huddled [i]n dark unopened books” (books that are “whispering”) and how those words suggested a hallowed space. As we explored the space of the poem, we noted the how many languages come together within the library. For example, “the language of the library is silence”, but the “the language of books are words” that are being whispered to us as we browse through the space.

One person drew attention to the lines alluding to the prevalence of angels, in times past, being “as plentiful [a]s species of flies” making it necessary “to wave both arms [j]ust to keep them away.” Another person heard the speaker wishing for the special power of the librarian to hear what s(he) could hear. There was speculation about the identity of Octavio, to whom Simic had dedicated the poem. We agreed that there was not only a secret in the dictionary but also mystery in the poem to which we were not privy.  As we wondered what the books are whispering, we wondered also “what kind of deep listening is enough to hear what they are saying”. We noted that Mrs. Jones’ “head tipped as it listening” – what kind of gestures and adjustments are necessary for us to really listen to what’s around us?

We moved to the prompt: Write about what Mrs. Jones hears as she passes A Dictionary of Angels and wrote for four minutes.

Four participants read aloud. One person styled Mrs. Jones’s hair into a bun (and someone later added a pencil pushing through the bun!) and imagined her hearing an angel tell a joke. Another wrote as if she were the librarian and offered to be a witness to what the book held. One person expressed her desire for the angels to have stories. One narrative ended with a loose page of the dictionary floating down onto the surprised librarian’s feet—and left the reader to imagine what was on the page. Another writer had Mrs. Jones hear the angels murmuring, in ancient languages, doubts, kindness, peace, and “right wisdom.”

We thank you all for your participation and contributions to our collective puzzle. See you 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, July 29th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


In the Library - Charles Simic (1938)

For Octavio
 
There’s a book called
A Dictionary of Angels.
No one had opened it in fifty years,
I know, because when I did,
The covers creaked, the pages
Crumbled. There I discovered
 
The angels were as plentiful                           
As species of flies.
The sky at dusk
Used to be thick with them.
You had to wave both arms
Just to keep them away.

Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows.
The library is a quiet place.
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books.
The great secret lies
On some shelf Miss Jones
Passes every day on her rounds.
 
She’s very tall, so she keeps
Her head tipped as if listening.
The books are whispering.
I hear nothing, but she does.

Laboratori Di Medicina Narrativa: sabato 25 luglio dalle 16 alle 17.30

Siamo stati molto lieti di avervi avuti con noi!

Abbiamo letto insieme la poesia “Monet rifiuta l’operazione” di Lisel Mueller, che trovate alla fine della pagina. Abbiamo analizzato anche i quadri di Monet della Cattedrale Rouen. Poi, abbiamo scritto al prompt: “Dipingi un mondo in flusso”.

Al più presto, condivideremo ulteriori dettagli della sessione. Vi invitiamo a visitare di nuovo questa pagina nei prossimi giorni.

Se avete partecipato al laboratorio, potete condividere i vostri scritti alla fine della pagina (“Leave a Reply”). Attraverso questo forum speriamo di creare uno spazio per continuare la nostra conversazione! 

Stiamo raccogliendo impressioni e breve feedback sui nostri laboratori di medicina narrativa su Zoom!

Questo breve questionario (anonimo, e aperto a chiunque abbia frequentato almeno un laboratorio) è molto importante per noi, e ci permetterà di elaborare sul valore dei nostri laboratori e sul ruolo dello spazio per riflettere e metabolizzare il momento presente. Vi preghiamo quindi di condividere le nostre riflessioni con noi! 


Monet Rifiuta L’Operazione - Lisel Mueller
Dottore, lei dice che non ci sono aloni
intorno ai lampioni di Parigi
e quel che vedo è un’aberrazione
causata dalla tarda età, una malattia.
Le dico che mi ci è voluta tutta la vita
per arrivare a vedere i lampioni come angeli,
per ammorbidire e sfuocare e infine eliminare
i contorni che a lei dispiace che io non scorga,
per imparare che la linea che chiamavo orizzonte
e il cielo e l’acqua,
cosi divisi, sono della stessa sostanza.
54 anni fa io potevo vedere
che la cattedrale di Rouen è stata costruita
con raggi paralleli
e ora lei vuole correggere
i miei errori giovanili: nozioni
rigide di alto e basso,
l’illusione di uno spazio tridimensionale,
il ponte separato dal glicine che lo ricopre.
Cosa posso dire per convincerla
che il palazzo del Parlamento si dissolve
notte dopo notte fino a diventare
il sogno fluido del Tamigi?
Non tornerò in un universo
di oggetti che non si compenetrano tra loro
come se le isole non fossero i bambini perduti
di un unico grande continente. Il mondo
è flusso, e tutto diventa luce,
diventa acqua, gigli sull’acqua,
sopra e sotto l’acqua,
diventa  luci color lilla, malva e giallo
bianco e azzurro,
piccoli pugni che si passano l’uno all’altro la luce del sole
così velocemente
che ci vorrebbero sete lunghe e fluenti
nel mio pennello per catturarle.
Dipingere la velocità della luce.
Le nostre sagome appesantite, linee verticali,
si incendiano mescolandosi con l’aria
fino a trasformare in gas le nostre ossa, la nostra pelle, gli abiti.
Dottore
se solo lei potesse vedere
come il cielo attira la terra tra le sue braccia
e come il cuore si espande all’infinito
per rendere questo mondo vapore blu senza fine.

Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EDT July 22nd 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

Our text was an excerpt from The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, posted below.

Our prompt was: “Write about a quilt of dreams.”

More details will be posted on this session 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, July 27th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.


From The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich.

The sun flooded the sleeping floor of the old house. A few late flies banged against the window glass, or died buzzing around in circles on the floor. The top of the quilt was warm. Thomas removed his trousers and folded them along the creases to renew their sharpness. He kept a pair of long underwear pants under the pillow.

He slipped them on, hung his shirt over a chair, and rolled under the heavy blanket. It was a quilt of patches left over from the woolen coats that had passed through the family. Here was his mother’s navy blue. It had been made from a trade wool blanket and to a blanket it had returned. Here were the boy’s padded plaid wool jackets, ripped and worn. These jackets had surged through fields, down icy hills, wrestled with dogs, and been left behind when they took city work. Here was Rose’s coat from the early days of their marriage, blue-gray and thin now, but still bearing the fateful shape of her as she walked away from him, then stopped, turned, and smiled, looking at him from under the brim of a midnight-blue cloche hat, daring him to love her. They’d been so young. Sixteen. Now married thirty-three years. Rose got most of the coats from the Benedictine Sisters for working in their charity garage. But his double-breasted camel coat was bought with money he’d earned on the harvest crews. The older boys had worn it out, but he still had the matching fedora. Where was that hat? Last seen in its box atop the highboy dresser. His review of the coats with their yarn ties, all pressing down on him in a comforting way, always put him to sleep as long as he rushed past Falon’s army greatcoat. That coat would keep him awake if he thought too long about it.

From The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich. Copyright © 2020