Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hazel Ana Update

Here is Hazel a few weeks ago, an avid reader as you can see, and one of my favorite pictures.

No news is Good news. Sorta. I cannot thank all of you enough who have taken the time to leave a little hope note for Hazel's recovery. The last three days have found her stable, still in the ICU and all hooked up, but with no new emergency procedures and all her monitors showing stronger results. They are checking for the optimum moment to remove the ventilator and perhaps that will be tomorrow, only time will tell. This has been a horrific experience for her parents and all the rest of us who love her, but this is something that can be corrected if there is permanent damage. Of course we all hope intervention isn't necessary, but it will be dealt with when the time comes.

I had a glimpse into the next room last night as I went to say goodbye- there was a mom and dad lovingly bathing their little daughter as her arms flailed around, her deformed legs kicked out, and her head lolled from side to side. They had the same worried look that Hazel's parents have, but for them there doesn't seem to be the comfort that perhaps it will be over in a few more days or weeks. My heart broke for this little family trying to do the best possible for their little girl. There ought to be a grandma's coalition or something for families that don't have one to come worry along side the family. They could also be the early warning voice for dangers like I am trying to do for the batteries. They could have lots of duties, could be hired to sit with sick children so the harried parents could get life tasks handled. Lots of uses for us with our years of history worrying for our own families. After all, we do have the corner on the worry-market.

So, I am back in Florida tonight, still on red-alert if I am needed, but ready to get back at what I want to be doing here. My class starts tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it for the jump-start I seem to need every time I cross that Mason Dixon line. Finally I also had time to read some email and good old Robert Genn has whacked me again with his latest message which I have added (and edited) here in hopes that if you aren't already subscribed to his newsletter, Painters Keys, that you will do so now.

The making of every work of art is a series of fated moves. Sometimes, bad moves are so frequent that work goes into self-destruct. Professionals and amateurs alike are prone to the problem. An occasional mess comes with the territory.

A way to minimize the tyranny is to see your art in a state of adjustment and creative development, rather than trying to fulfill some preconceived vision. I call it "dynamic painting" and it's quite magic. It could be called "dynamic writing" or even "dynamic living."

The dynamic artist improvises as she goes along. She thinks on her feet. Her eyes and her mind are constantly weighing opportunities and making judgments and adjustments. Somewhat dependent on intuition, she also has knowledge of the variety of ways each passage might be handled.

Perhaps the most valuable dynamic ploy is to constantly ask the question, "What could be?" With this question, the work of art evolves and comes out of itself. One need go no further than to watch a six year old (not a sixteen year old) paint. She paints the general idea and soon decides this or that would be nice to add or subtract. She throws in a new colour because she likes it. In more sophisticated terms, she "thinks it might work." This is dynamic painting, and professionals appropriate this magic.

There are further ploys to unlock the magic of dynamism. It's valuable to squint a lot, stand back, go here and there on the work, take breaks and vary your tools. While not relaxing the possible intervention of your cerebral cortex, you try to get into a state of natural flow--in the "zone," as they say.

Ain't it the truth.  I have emboldened (is that a word?) the sentence that I have always found most true, the little kernal inside the nut that I would always try to teach.  I would caution students not to 'envision' too much because it doesn't allow for improvisation or those fortuitous dumb things that suddenly take a work from ordinary to extraordinary.  I saw this happen one time in a critique session when one of the participants seemed uncomfortable with a piece being shown so suggested it be turned upside down.  That's all-  simply tuned 180 degrees, and whammo-  the piece became everything it's maker had wanted but couldn't achieve.  I don't know if the maker or the suggester remember this at all, I doubt it, but it was a powerful lesson for me and has stayed with me all these years.  Thanks to Robert Genn for jogging my memory.

I am so far behind I think I am leading...  an apt saying from one of my favorite aunt's!  Hopefully in the next few days I can get some thoughts cleaned out (or maybe cleaned UP!) and get back on track.  Again, thank you all so much for your good thoughts-  something seems to be working for Hazel.  We cannot begin to tell you how much it means.  And especially thank you to those of you who have spread the story, either cutting and pasting from the blog or saying it in your own words.  If it prevents one single incident, it's worth all the typing you can do!  Love,  Sandy


Terry said...

What a beauty she is! Glad to hear your pretty good news. You have reminded me to make a couple little quilts for the NICU. When Sofia was born she was in NICU for several days and the homely little donated quilt that she was given there seemed like such a gracious, human touch it really got to all of us. Those parents of sick babies need all the grace and comfort they can get. Continued good thoughts to all of you and I continue to tell everyone about the batteries.

Kay Koeper Sorensen said...

Robert Genn's words are almost spooky.
They are so true and useful.
As I read what he writes I just say Yes, Yes and yes.

Helen Conway said...

I have found your blog via Terry Grant who has een doing her bit to spread your battery message, I have no children but when my sister has her longed for ones I shall be sure to warn her. I also agree with your comment about Grandmothers to hire. I often think that when my career is over I would advertise for a fanily to adopt me so I could be a surrogate Granny buying presents and babysitting etc. ... as long as I can g give them back! In this day of split nuclear families such a scheme would surely give great benefit to both parties. PS Re the removed hcildcare comment - I too was well cared for as a toddler but still managed to push a button right up my nose!