My Mother Made Me Laugh

My Mother Made Me Laugh. My Father Showed Me How Things Worked.

Mixed Media.

Part of The Art of Enough art and podcast series

The objects representing the pain of my childhood ended in a big ball — a big ball of objects entangled in brown jute twine, fishing line, rope and red and white polka dot material.  Then, in a process resembling ritual, I cut away all the objects until I was left with just the twine and two objects that I wanted to keep — a clowns nose (which I remember my mother wearing) and a zippo lighter (which I remember my father taking apart and showing me how it worked).

Two of the most cherished parts of my mother and father had emerged from this ball of objects, this confused ball of memories and emotions as separate entities — separate from each other, separate from myself and separate from the pain of my childhood.  The clown’s nose and the lighter became key elements of the multi-media installation called, My Mother Made me Laugh. My Father Showed Me how Things Work.

In the end, it was about letting go — letting go of the need to be connected to my father and my childhood through pain.  When the only connection we have to others is through pain, we are afraid to let go of it because without the pain, there is no connection at all.  But when we let go of that pain, room is created for a new, deeper connection enriched by the happy moments of our childhood.

Note: The Art of Enough is accompanied by a 5-part podcast series that details the creative and psychological process I explored during this 2-year project.   The podcasts feature interviews with: playwright, author and meditator Jean-Claude Van Itallie, psychologist and author Dr. John Arden,  voice coach Jean McClelland and therapist and educator Bob Szita.   The podcasts and the art series catalog can be found on this page.