A two-week exile from the Internet at my home and very limited access to the internet at work have given me time to reflect.
Now that Mercury is going retrograde, it is time to "re-" everything.
After a few more weeks, I plan to
In a better way.
I created this flag as I was thinking not only of The Christ who died for me, but also all others who have died so that I might have a good life in this still great land. Each state bled its way into the Union. I thank and honor them all.
If we accept that curiosity is an important ingredient for success in whatever important work we choose to do, then what do we do to foster that curiosity in ourselves and our children?How do we —
To some degree, I use the Angel Snakes to wonder about the world from a different perspective. What do our actions and customs look like to someone who does not “understand us”? Each time I look at things through their ever-wide-open eyes, I see things I had not noticed before.
Even though my creaky joints sometime protest, I like to take the photos from the Angel Snake’s position. Things look different. What would I notice if I were the Angel Snake Nela? How would I view things differently if I were the Angel Snake Sting? My view point is defined not just by the physical location of my eyes but also my filters—age, background, politics, religion.
Maybe if I can get a child to view the world through an Angel Snake's eyes, later they will be better able to look at the world through the eyes of their enemies. That is my important work.
PBS aired an extraordinary program about the "Black Mamba"--one of nature's deadliest creatures. I was especially fascinated by the surgery that was performed on several Mambas to implant radio tracking devices so they could be followed.
I keep a stack of unembellished Angel Snake patterns on a shelf behind my desk. Any student who asks gets one. Markers sit in boxes on a table in the far corner. Students come in and borrow them regularly. In a free moment before class or after a test, students carefully decorate the patterns. A day or two later, I may find the cut out Angel Snake on my desk.
The assembly of freshly painted Angel Snakes is growing. Now and then a student will take one to his or her seat to help help with the day's work. Two girls in my first period have begun to use journal time to write Angel Snake stories. Katelyn, a former student, comes by regularly to get patterns and drop off her latest creations.
Last year I caught a group of girls with their coloring books and crayons coloring away. One of the girls said coloring relaxed her. I might add that these are all ninth and tenth graders I am talking about, both boys and girls.
I have decided that they just still like to color within the lines. It's safe, with room for self-expression. The Angel Snakes are small; you don't need to make a big commitment in time or energy to give one fresh body paint.
And when you are finished, you have a new friend.
Flanked by digital photo frame, small signs, and a booklet explaining their history and habits, Numerous little Angel Snakes sat quietly on a simple display of wire panels, silvery cloth, and hot pink tulle. I was unable to attend. Check out their version of the event at Angelsnakes.com.
HOWEVER, I was virtually present through Skype on a Mac laptop. From 10:00 AM until 2 PM, I sat in front of my computer in Galveston and met and talked with folks in Lawrence, Kansas. My husband had set up his Mac on the exhibit table. Each computer has a camera in the lid and we had video phone for the whole four hours. We all had a wonderful time. I met new people and visited with old friends, discussed the weather in Galveston and explained a bit about the Angel Snakes.
I learned a few things from this virtual experience. It is good to have a live human to introduce the person online. Some folks thought I was a movie. One person said, "They sent me over here to talk to you. I was expecting a person." The mike was open, so I could overhear everything that was said in front of my exhibit. Nothing shocking, but it did give me some ideas. When I met folks, I could ask if they were on Facebook and immediately friend them as we talked.
We all had a very positive experience. If I ever again find myself unable to be physically present to present my art, I will definitely go the virtual route.
Last spring I began writing about the Angel Snakes. Every day. Somewhere in there, I created the paper "action figures" that you see in the photos. They were to be mere representations of the "real" Angel Snakes. Then I started a separate blog about the Angel Snakes. Soon I realized that they needed to tell their own stories. It would be more fun that way. So I wrote in their voices about the "adventures" that we had together.
So far so good. Then school started in August and as I introduced the Angel Snakes I spoke of them just as I had written of them. But speaking face to face is different from reading and writing. Something happened then. I am not sure what. I would slip into character and be the Angel Snake caretaker instead of Mrs. Pogue, the English teacher. That's when the new students began to look at me like maybe a screw was loose. A concerned parent even asked the counselor if I was "okay." She replied that I was eccentric and creative. Some of the students got it and began to ask to take an Angel Snake home to spend the weekend.
Several months ago when I began working on a chapter book, I had to make the Angel Snakes even more real for me. As I make the specific figures and write about them, they become more and more real each day.
Taking them places and photographing them almost always means I will meet someone new or interact with someone I already know in a new way.
What could be more real than that?
When we create something beautiful/elegant, we participate with God in making the universe a better place. We extend our spiritual selves; we are closest to God, fulfilling our purpose.
It has been a trial. But fun. I carry them with me everywhere I go. They want to have their pictures taken and then put them up on the blog. Madilla and Nuncio are in charge of the blog. http://angelsnakes.com
There are now about forty or fifty of them living here because they are out of work. Don't ask! Every one of them has a different story, and I don't believe half of them.
Bottom line, they need work. Let me know in the comments or by email if you would be willing to put one of them up for a while. They are actually quite helpful, comforting and inspirational as long as there are not too many of them. They do not eat much.