Hi, I’m Kathy (a Kathy, I should say).
I may not live on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but what I lack in geography I hope to make up for in name.
As regular readers of “Lake Superior Spirit” know, the Kathy we all love is attending a destination wedding in a yet-undisclosed location, and I’m a pathetic stand-in for that Kathy—the one we’d all prefer to be hearing from.
That Kathy—that real Kathy—the pioneering-in-the-wilderness Kathy—“suggested” I fill in for her while she was gone and seize the opportunity to hijack her audience for a few, glorious-for-me, (potentially) sad-for-you days. She thought I might share a bit about what’s goes on over at my blog, outline what we have in common, and suggest why my site might be the next-best blog to visit in her absence.
(Admittedly, it may not have happened exactly that way. But that’s the story we’re going with.)
Granted, a lot of you might be better suited for this gig. After all, I’m a relative new-comer to the little house in the Big Woods. Like you, however, once I visited “Lake Superior Spirit” a few months ago, I was sold. Like you, I love Kathy’s humor, her photography and spirituality—and, most recently, the peeks she’s been giving us at her past.
However, I’m supposed to be telling you about my own blog, giving you a place to go and posts to read in Kathy’s absence. I’m supposed to tell you what my blog and Kathy’s have in common (besides a “Kathy” as host) and tell you a bit about myself.
Essentially, I’m a writer, artist, and former university instructor, who lived in Vietnam during 2009 and Haiti in 2010, where my partner Sara directed earthquake recovery for a major international NGO.
Basically, my blog, “Reinventing the Event Horizon,” documents my encounters with what, for metaphoric reasons, I call event horizons. As you might know an event horizon is the edge of a black hole, the point of no return. And for all intents and purposes my blog documents my encounters on that edge and argues on the basis of my own experience, that one can indeed return from what seem like dead ends, the things we think will do us in. I believe event horizons can, indeed, be reinvented, that return and recovery from the dark places is possible.
I’ve lived an unusual life, to say the least—encountered a lot of edges, you could say. I grew up in an organized crime family. I later developed bipolar disorder. I’m partnered with an international aid worker who does disaster response.
Yes, I’ve known a lot of edgy places. I’ve walked often in the dark, but only to discover light.
However, I’m here at Kathy’s blog more to share what our sites have in common, why Kathy’s readers might enjoy my blog and why my readers (who in the spirit of reciprocity are being directed here, as well) will surely fall in love with “Lake Superior Spirit.”Essentially, I’m a writer, artist, and former university instructor, who lived in Vietnam during 2009 and Haiti in 2010, where my partner Sara directed earthquake recovery for a major international NGO.
Often Kathy shares her photographs, amazing all of us by her eye’s ability focus on the beauty that surrounds her, its windowing a world we can only visit through her camera and reminding us that we, too, can witness loveliness unwind before our very ordinary eyes—reminding us that we, too, have the profound ability to simply see—sometimes even with our eyes closed, we realize our fundamental human responsibility to witness the world and record the beauty it reveals.
My blog, also, explores art’s ability to communicate beauty. My partner Sara has begun a “Photo-a-Day Project” for 2012—witnessing the patterns of loveliness that unfold from mere snapshots of daily life—more glory in the ordinary. At the same time, I, as a visual artist, post the drawings, collages, and mixed media assemblages that I create—often from found objects—things others might consider trash. I like to explore ways we can make beauty from the potential garbage of our lives—transforming not only the ordinary into art—but also the ugly and discarded. I believe that there is beauty in the broken—a sacred center to sacrifice. I believe that often the things that hurt us make us whole, make us better, make us more.
Many of us are also attracted to Lake Superior Spirit because Kathy shares her soul with readers. She opens her heart and lets us in. She uses images of trees and sky, water and grass, to ground us in the sacred stuff of nature, the face of God that’s growing all around us.
My blog manages something similar, not by focusing on nature, but by sharing stories of the poor.
Since my partner Sara and I have lived in Vietnam and post-earthquake Haiti, we have met, in those places, the planet’s poorest of poor and shared their stories of hope, and sometimes, in places like Port-au-Prince, a national narrative that mirrors, not only terrible and troubling truths about the human experience, but also a personal willingness to fight for what’s right, to demand dignity, to dream of a better life.
In these places, Sara and I have seen, in the eyes and hearts of hurting people, both the hideous and holy face of God—another example of glory emerging from the ordinary grit and grime of life.
Most recently, however, Kathy began to share her past with readers, stories about her early life with Barry in the Upper Peninsula—how they met, married, had kids—lived happily.
I do something similar. I’m blogging my way to a memoir—sharing stories about my father’s life-long mafia involvement, what it was like to grow up in a house frequently raided by the FBI, to have my dad indicted by a number of grand juries, convicted of conspiracy. What it was like to later develop bipolar disorder in early adulthood, to face more psychiatric hospitalizations than I can count, to ultimately find the medication cocktail that manages my symptoms and allows me to live a normal life—(the notion of normal being relative, of course). I suppose my life is anything but “normal” these days, but at least I live it, for the most part, symptom-free.
I meditate often on the nature of memory—how it’s messy, unkind and unfair, how it more often than not, fails us. I explore how we remember less than we forget, how memory is more about what’s missing than what’s there, and how memoirs are, not only about accepting that unknown, but also about our ability to participate in the redemptive and healing experience of telling our own stories.
And, perhaps, that’s ultimately what my blog has in common with Kathy’s, and Kathy’s with mine—the notion that sharing our stories, our art, our hearts, is what blogging is all about. It’s about community—posting and commenting, giving and getting, helping and being helped.
Thanks to all of Kathy’s readers and mine for participating in today’s exchange—for your kindness and good will. Thanks to Kathy for the invitation, for our growing friendship, for the sacred self she shares with all of us. She helps make the blogosphere the helping, healing place it is.
I’m thrilled to share her space today, to write, as she does, about the magic of being human and the blessing that is life—to write about the same love, the same light, to tell the same redemptive story.
Peace to all of you.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.