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Our Family Has Not Been Broken Yet

Updated: Sep 5, 2021



Diagnosed Mortal #15


In this post I reflect upon art and its place in my life.


I have come a long way in better understanding how art works in my life since this essay was written...I have since written my memoir, "Different Ways; Revealing the Feminine" and over the course of that project the subject of music and art in general was gone into deeply. And so I've grown. I haven't changed my mind about anything I wrote in the essay in 2017 but I feel clearer about what art does in helping me understand how I am in the world. It is like I now have an inner "artist in residence" that opens my mind to possibilities in life. I can consider alternatives, take counsel and comfort in art. It was always my desire to be art, not do it. I realize the hubris in that statement. Right or wrong, that is how I have framed myself. I don't need to make art for the world; if I make anything at all it is for my own enjoyment as part of my process of being and staying present in my life. No one need see it, touch it, hear it or taste it for me to enjoy it.


Years ago I was introduced to the story of Grandma Moses, the painter, via Chloris Leachman playing her in the play, Grandma Moses-An American Primitive. It left a strong impression on me because it struck me then that making art for one's own enjoyment ought to be the beginning and end of the story for the artist. That is how I wanted art to be, anyway. I found out differently by meeting real artists and seeing how they struggled and were unsupported. The reality of an artist's life in this modern world is much more complicated. I didn't HAVE to make my living as an artist and neither did Grandma Moses. She chopped wood, carried water, raised her children, crafted and painted on anything she could her her hands on when she had time and sold a few at the local drugstore to supplement her egg money.

Of course, Grandma Moses was eventually discovered, declared an artist and, as the play went, she became unhappy with celebrity which I felt was a kind of validation for my hypothesis. I'm not so sure that was true to her life but what I am sure of was the simple focus of following her deep desire to make art enhanced her life while she was doing it. To be some kind of success or to receive outside validation was a byproduct and not her intention. To quote her: "...I look back on my life like a good day's work, it was done and I feel satisfied with it. I was happy and contented, I knew nothing better and made the best out of what life offered. And life is what we make it, always has been, always will be."


I'm glad I lived long enough to see the relevance of what Grandma Moses said. I still believe it is true that to make a successful life one needs to examine and work with what life offers.

As a privileged, white American, I'm a willful and enterprising person. However, pursuing happiness outside ourselves before examining and appreciating what brings us great joy within, is a fool's errand. Each of us has everything within us that we need to live a loving and satisfying life. We allow ourselves to be hopelessly distracted from it in many ways but mostly by our seeking outside validation. This is what age has taught me. I am not only enough, I'm of stellar stuff with a treasure of options for the asking. This was always so.


Thank you for listening.


It is insanely difficult to cultivate being when you are young and do not know yourself well enough to be comfortable your own skin. It is a hollow call to arms beseeching a person who knows not the power of what they are reaching toward.






My music choice for this post is a song by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Andy White. This song has the line I took for the title of this episode, "Our Family Has Not Been Broken Yet". It resonates in me deeply as I recall the shattered bits of my personal life and the trials of those in my orbit; how art and creativity has brought healing into our lives. To inspire may seem passive to many but I think it is the purest form of sharing oneself that a person can give.


"Whole Thing"

Each night in bed my dreams take me over

Each night in bed my dreams take me over The whole thing will still go on without you Something will still be there to move me My own thing is always to inspire you The one that I love I dream beside The one that I love I dream beside The one that I love is close as I can get The one that I love I dream beside One that I love I dream beside Sometimes I can't remember Sometimes I can't forget The whole thing will still come down without you It's nothing to do with all of you My own thing is only to protect you The one that I love I dream beside The one that I love I dream beside The one that I love is as close as I can get The one that I love I dream beside The one that I love I dream beside

Take the women and the children away

Our family has not been broken yet


Each night in bed my dreams take me over

Each night in bed my dreams take me over


The whole thing will still go on without you

And something will still be there to move me

My own thing is only to protect you

My own thing is always to inspire you


This whole world still goes on without you

You are my whole thing

You are my whole thing

Andy White, Teenager

To put in a good day's work and be satisfied with it...now, there is something.


~For the curious: this Blogpost explains my motivation and intention for this series of 20 essays in the Diagnosed Mortal series~

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