Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fragments of Peace

Fragments of Peace
Glass on newspaper, on an acrylic painting, on foam board

          After the Beslan School hostage crisis in the North Caucasus of the Russian Federation, on their first day of school, terrorists killing children and their family members, my college students and I made peace with our helpless grief, by gluing newspaper articles and glass to one of my paintings. We had no idea that our outcome would resemble Mother Earth. 

          This piece actually began thirty years ago when I was inclined to paint spirits swirling in the heavens. I never felt like it was completed.  I've moved probably at least ten times since painting the acrylics on foam board. Yet, it traveled with me.  When the bombing took place in the Russian elementary school, I found myself climbing my stairs to the attic to retireve this unfulfilled piece.  As my students and I read the Time magazine together, we took to heart the tragedy of this world event.  Together, we envisioned the heavenly spirits lifting our hearts to be with those who suffered. 

As we collected images, we paid tribute to a young girl who became our hero as she escaped from the terrorists, only to return to be with her younger sister.  In the fragments of glass we found Peace to share with the viewer. 

Excerpt from The Daimon:

April 5, 2010   Elisabeth wrote in her journal: 
          I dreamt that out of self-defense I was trying to kill a Bolshevik by slinging a pick axe at him. He started the violent exchange by throwing it at me. When swinging back, I could feel the axe hook into his scalp and then fall away.  He would pick it up and throw it at me with great force.  Luckily I would dodge the axe.  When I tried to throw it, although my strength was lacking, I continued to nick his bald head. Each time I could feel the contact with his skull, it sickened me.   He seemed to be weakening but when I stooped to pick up the axe for another swing, he disappeared. In my dream, I was fearful of this man pursuing me and I felt the need to defend myself.  Now, as I write the dream, I realize that it was my engagement that fostered the violence.  How many times do I swing the axe instead of holding it and walking away? 
            April 7, 2010
            A third grader went on a rampage today in my class.  I found myself swinging the axe.
            No one won.
            Sometimes when Daddy walked across the yard carrying buckets of grain to feed the cows, he hauled the weight of the world with him.  His feet felt the cadence of an earlier time when buffalo roamed the Prairie.  With the urgency of a stampede, despair welled up inside.  Daddy had moved his family from western Kansas to eastern Colorado in search of a better life.  Instead he found desolation that had taken root during The Dust Bowl.  The on-going drought for the past two decades had parched the pastures and made them barren.  Crops were sparse.  It was Daddy’s pride that kept him going in spite of his guilt.   

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


          Working to create collective words and image for a reponse from a reader of my last post, Torn Black Madonna.   An excerpt from Katie Canepa:      
          "We have a little bit of royalty peeking out at odd moments. Imagine: a little girl in a stained teal sweatsuit, the squeekiest kitchen table you could conjure, and a microwave dinner. This was all served up with her grandmother's china and stemware (filled with powdered milk) while her family was away. The splendor that so captivated Mother gives hope for salvation?" 
          How's this for royalty on the mix of things? Isis takes shape for my last show at Orr St. Studios, as Torn Black Madonna looks on. 

Being transcends time.  That is salvation for Elisabeth in the following excerpt  from The Daimon:  
         Daddy died on Halloween, a dark rainy day, Elisabeth’s first year away from home.  She had just turned eighteen.  Claiming her freedom, Elisabeth had chosen not to go home for her birthday weekend, two weeks prior, even though a college mate had offered her a ride.  She didn’t cry when she got the phone call notifying her of Daddy’s passing.  In fact, Elisabeth would not remember much except emptiness enveloping her body.  Numbed, her arm floated toward the wall receptacle to hang up the phone.  
         Elisabeth went through the motions of that transfixed day as if she were watching another father’s daughter mouth, over and over again, the words, “He’s dead!”
         Her ride home from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, to the prairie of eastern Colorado, was a four hour entrancement of watching farms and fields go by.  Elisabeth’s body took on an amorphous presence amidst the patterns of corn rows and furrowed fields.  
         “There he is..."
         "Daddy!” Elisabeth called to a young man who kept on working. 
         She had heard stories of Daddy migrating through the West before he married Momma.  Elisabeth felt herself sidling alongside him, hoeing with migrant workers.  Their heads dropped in silence, under wide-brimmed hats, shading the back-bending efforts of soil breaking. 
         Like her grandmother who had drifted through the view from her nursing home window, tapped by The Daimon, Elisabeth entered a place where being transcended time.  Looking in on little Elisabeth, sitting on Momma’s lap, she pondered eternal space, marked by telephone poles disappearing into the horizon. As the family trundled down the dirt road, coming home from church on Sunday morning, blankness blanketed her mind.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Torn Black Madonna

          Looking through my collection of placards from previous shows, I came upon Torn Black Madonna, charcoal on newsprint from November 2001.  I completed this piece after reading Longing for Darkness:  Tara and the Black Madonna, by China Galland who had completed a ten year journey searching for hope.  A timely read after 9-11.
          Studying the face of Our Lady of Czestochowa, "The Black Madonna,"  I picked up my charcoals and drew atop the headlining article:  "Bush Warns War may be Long."  The two gashes in the Madonna's cheek record a story from medieval times of a robber striking the icon with a sword, only to fall to the ground, writhing in agony until his death.  Our Lady comes with a warning!

Torn Black Madonna

                                    Her eyes swell with darkness.
                                    Her lids shade the reflection
                                              of what she sees.

                                    Torn, between protecting us from the terror,
                                              and foreshadowing our future
                                              with warnings.

                                     She is our Mother,

An Excerpt from The Daimon:
               Mother ventured from her caravan because she had heard there was a royal carriage not far down the road.  She had always wanted to sight the Empress, to see her garments.  She would imagine what it was like to touch the furs, the silks and the golden threads outlining flowers in the brocades.
                Mother had hoped to brush against the forbidden.  She knew how to sew and she yearned for rich fabrics to fold and cut and create beautiful gowns.  She dreamed of being a seamstress for the young tsarina. 
                Generations later, Momma sewed clothes for her family, Mother’s great grandchildren. She taught Regina, the eldest girl to sew, and Regina taught her sisters.  Little Elisabeth loved going to the fabric store.  Walking the aisles looking at the cotton paisleys, the plaids, the stripes, the polka dots, the smooth satins, the soft velvets--on and on she would go--running her fingers across the edges of the bolts of cloth.  Little Elisabeth looked forward to the day that she could pick out her own fabric.  Momma was very resourceful and used sewing scraps from her dresses, and those of Regina and Edith, to make a smaller version for Little Elisabeth. 
                When Momma’s chores were finished which seemed to be endless on the farm, she would steal time to use a scrap of velvet, from a worn out Christmas dress, to paint the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an icon that bled droplets of salvation for Momma.
                In her hopeful search for royalty, Mother had come upon the peasants who had gathered at a distance, on bended knee, paying homage to the icon of the Madonna and Child.   The prelate kept the horses and carriage still, parked next to the tall birch trees, separating the meadow from the Volga River.  Other villagers in their finest were gathered in close, peering at the icon that had been unveiled by the priests. 
                At first sight, Mother was taken by the women’s shawls, their fine dresses and jackets. Then her gaze fell upon the embroidered altar cloth that kept hands from touching the embossed silver.  It framed the face of the Madonna and the Christ Child.  Candles flickered.  Devotees made the sign of the cross.  Mother became spell bound by the splendor. 
                Dusk fell.  The carriage moved on.  The crowd fell into a procession back to their village homes with their heads bowed in reverence.  Mother was left alone.  Well almost alone.  A shadow lurked within the darkness amongst the trees. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sleeping Beauty

Being an art teacher, I know that my issue cannot lie with finding the energy to do artwork; being an artist helps me find my energy.  I had worked tirelessly on my shadow box to meet the deadline for the Art League show, Hint of Fiction.  Choosing a story of twenty-five words or less, I had settled on telling a visual story for “Insomnia.” 
“Sleeping Beauty never minded the spindle prick.  It was the wake up kiss she hated.”  Val Gryphin.

There lie my limbless dolly with the cracked wooden head, reflected by mirrors in a glass box, covered with signs of nature spilling from the woods. 
 I had created a social/political statement on countries aborting girls to have more sons.

Sleeping Beauty

"The War Against Girls"

Excerpt from The Daimon:

Daddy hadn’t wanted a girl and if he had been successful, she wouldn’t have lived to tell her story.  In accordance with a dark fairy tale, Elisabeth spent her life waking up from a very, very, bad dream.    
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily
Life is but a dream!
Elisabeth sang as she worked on her shadowbox.

            “Is this the first time you have won an award for your art?”  Her husband had asked of Elisabeth after congratulating her.
            Never wanting the weight of a contest, Elisabeth usually refrained from such events.  This time was different; it was her baby doll, she had won as a little girl.  
           “Not since I was a child!”  Elisabeth replied.  “If you can call a coloring contest, art, that is!”       
            “Your piece is so beautiful! “ An admirer described to Elisabeth the witnessing of each detail taken to create an assemblage of Beauty asleep in the woods, with leaves and petals that had befallen her. Undisturbed, free of insomnia. 
            “My grandson loves your Sleeping Beauty!”  Another viewer introduced Elisabeth to the eyes of an eight year old.  
             But then there were those who missed the beauty and commented, “How could you?”  
            “How could I not?”  Elisabeth would think to herself of all the secrets her worn out dolly had witnessed.  
            “She is not to be cast off!” 
            The artists would assemble to hear the announcements:  “An honorable mention goes to the artist who interpreted ‘Insomnia,’—the piece with the creepy baby doll.”  And the art director called Elisabeth’s name. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pray Tell of Things to Come

          As I get ready for my show at Orr St Studios, I look retrospectively at my pieces related to the news.  I am honored to have a corresponding exhibition with the True/False Film Festival when it comes to Columbia, Missouri. 

Gennie Pfannenstiel
Orr St. Studios

Pray Tell of Things to Come

February 12 - March 18 

Reception:  February 29
5:00 - 6:30 p.m.

Seeing Visions:  March 6
7:00 p.m.

          Pray tell, it's an internal perspective--a word, an image--that we hold of our world...true or false.  As we look within, we mirror for ourselves an external reality, shaped by our experiences. By way of illustration:  A neighbor's kind gesture, to offer up his collection of praying hands, gifted to him by many, continues to live out of a cast-off suitcase.   I attempt to unpack a noble truth about suffering, while moving ceramic hands like chess pieces.  The word on the streets:  Revolt.  A mob celebrates.  I see Her being pushed and probed and pulled apart, to be violated by clinging hands.  I look in the mirrors on the sides and the bottom of the suitcase that will not close, and I am greeted by hands, an infinitely peaceful image of salutation.  The word is made flesh. There is hope for Her, for me and for the world.  The multi-media show chronicles a retrospective timeline of the interaction between the inner and outer worlds.  It is for the viewers to reflect and create a collective envisioning of things to come.  Of permeating our outer world with inner truth. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Medusa

          Insights from sharing My Medusa, prompted writing for The Daimon.

          “The snake looks like it is swallowing an egg!”  The kindergartener exclaimed while pointing to Ms. Elisabeth’s four feet in diameter mosaic, Medusa, on display at the gallery.
           “She turns people to stone!”  A bright eyed boy spoke with authority.
           Ms. Elisabeth had brought her school children to see her work, the fourth graders helping the kindergartners view the art with investigative eyes. 
           “She has snakes for hair!”  The little ones were amazed.
           Ms. Elisabeth had primed the kindergartners’ knowledge by telling them a secret about her Medusa.  “This looks like stone but it was really made out of paper glued to a board,”              
           And then Ms. Elisabeth whispered, “And My Medusa has snakes on her lips!”
           “Ooooh!” The kindergartners were dying to tell the fourth graders.
           “I created My Medusa after having a dream about her.”   Elisabeth would later tell the viewers at her reception.
           Medusa had appeared to Elisabeth upon awaking, snakes writhing and hissing, bringing a message, “Silence is not the answer to healing.”
           Then while driving down the road after picking up her husband, Max, from his bike ride, it was as if Medusa had been navigating—snakes wriggling to and fro—lashing out against the windshield, banging on the steering wheel.  Elisabeth, weaving in and out of lanes.  Out of control, yet in control of the moment. 
           Feeling overwhelmed by a list of weekend chores, Elisabeth screeched at her unsuspecting husband, “I don’t have time for this!”
           Max had a broken down bike, and Elisabeth, well some might say she was having a broken down nervous system.  Elisabeth would laugh as she told this story during her exhibition presentation, The Sacred Feminine.  She had discovered in her research that Medusa appeared in dreams to women, at midlife, who were coming into their power. 
          “I guess the buzz word in 2010 is reinventing yourself!”  Elisabeth would draw chuckles from other post-menopausal women in the audience.
           Elisabeth read from her writing:  I had stood in my closet before my full length mirror, fingering the hair on the close-up print of Botticelli’s Venus, trailing my fingers along her plaited hair.  I looked up to see serpent heads at the end of the locks.
           Thus, Medusa was born out of love, in Elisabeth’s mind’s eye, as the past, present and future. 
           “I use to call myself a closet artist,” Elisabeth would typically say when asked about her art work, “But Medusa changed that for me.”

           Looking out from under Frida Kahlo-like eyebrows, Medusa casts a roving glance, overseeing Elisabeth’s work at her bench.  A guardian.  Viola had played that role for little Elisabeth.  In midlife, pre-Medusa, Elisabeth had dreamed that she had abandoned Viola: 
           Watching Viola in her white cotton nightie, making her bed with painstaking care, I could see her wrestling with a premonition as she motioned for me to jump out of our second story bedroom window.  Viola would sacrifice herself for me, as the man with the crystal blue eyes and muscle man tee-shirt climbed the stairs in search of a young virgin.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


A shadow box, a snippet of a poem and an excerpt from The Daimon

                Where do beasts go when they’re not with you?

                Who else has known the beast?
                The little girl has seen the beast...
                The little girl holding her chickens
                Gathered dress.
                Yet, she doesn’t carry a stick
                When she goes for a walk.

                “Snake in the yard!” yelled her brother, Joseph, as Little Elisabeth sat, playing in the dirt.
                 Drawing abstract configurations, trailed by her stick to a faraway land.  To a place, perhaps, where the Yorubas carved the same pattern in their faces, unfamiliar to a five year old.  To be imagined, not from the influence of television or National Geographic magazines, for those things were not present in her home, but from the consciousness of knowing.  Accompanied by the soft buzzing sound of the atoms, Elisabeth had been composing.                
               “Get the hoe!” Momma commanded, “I’ll get Daddy!” 
                Little Elisabeth’s hand froze in mid-motion.  Her intuition clung to the resonation of her brother’s cry, locating the snake within her mind’s eye.  She turned her head to see Joseph running for the hoe, and there beyond her--a few feet--coiled a rattler, threatening to strike. 
                Waiting seemed like eternity.  Clinging to the powdery dirt, Elisabeth’s toes cramped with stillness, sensed the energy of pending violence vibrating the earth.   She could hear Daddy cursing as his deliberate stride covered the yard.  He had come from milking, for he recognized Momma’s sharp “Daddy” cry while resting his head against the cow’s warm body.  Lulled by the rhythmic sing song of milk squirting into a bucket, a hypnotically pulsating motion of hands squeezing tits--a daily chore that Daddy did to give his family sustenance.  He had been spirited away through lifetimes.  Little Elisabeth knew that Daddy would come though, like a warrior, strong and tall. 
                Standing next to her, he swung the hoe, ordering, “Run!” with one breathless unified motion. 
                Little Elisabeth ran.  She cried.   She shook.  Clinging to the inner folds of Momma’s skirt, Little Elisabeth could hear Daddy’s grunt, synchronized with the rattle of the snake.  Then the striking of the metal blade, as Daddy chopped off its head.  Peeking out, Elisabeth saw it lying just outside the encircling border of where she had sat and drawn. 
                Little Elisabeth watched her nine year old brother hesitantly approach Daddy, to walk with him, as he carried “The Kill,” dangling headless from the crook of the hoe, to be flung out across the perimeter of the yard.  As if on cue from an unknown source, Elisabeth’s favorite rooster crowed, releasing the tension in the air.   And Momma, as usual, had to nudge her youngest one from underfoot.
                “Go on now!  Go gather the eggs, before it gets too dark.”
                Elisabeth dragged her feet, side-stepping toward the hen-house, trailing her right big toe from the outer circle she had drawn.  Like a spider spinning a dragline, she reeled in Viola to give her courage.  Little Elisabeth knew that snakes feed on chicken eggs. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

We are not Alone

"We are not Alone" hangs on my garage, weathered by the elements of Mother Nature.  The words of my ancestors, in search of a better life, ring true to me.  The headless fates present themselves in metallic marker on window panes.   They reveal a collage of ancestral photographs, photocopied and pasted on newsprint about Pope John Paul II having brought "the word" to St. Louis.  The lap of Lachesis glows bright from my point and shoot camera. 

The following is an excerpt from The Daimon:
To choose the newly spun golden thread from the lap of Lachesis, the old soul knew that one would re-live the life of a medieval tale.
 “A dark fairy tale!” The Daimon, keeper of destiny, had fore-warned, “Expect to encounter demons.”
                Next in line, the elder one tentatively approached the three fates, with Lachesis in the middle, lounging next to her sisters.  As Atropos cast recollections of lives past, there stirred an earthy, musty smell of autumn.  Wafting from the yarn on Clotho’s spinning wheel, a familiar aroma lured the soul to move in closer, to be permeated by its essence.  Lulled by the accompanying mantra, “The way is not in the heavens, the way is in the heart!”  The spirit came forth, with soulful volition, choosing this lifetime to re-create a myth by re-casting the past.  
                Lachesis snipped a length from the precious thread, sending the soul to Earth.  Watching, in a protective stance, The Daimon stood in-waiting.
                In Momma’s womb, the brave soul manifested physical form, lacking a male member, arriving on Mother Earth into a family of three girls and a boy.  And on that October day in 1952, when she made her appearance, Daddy, who needed more help on the farm, showed grave disappointment.  The old soul, in a new body with a strong heart, cried the lungs open and The Daimon received her just in time to clearly read Daddy’s intentions.
                “She’s no child of mine!” Daddy’s disowning sent Momma into a fit of despair, blanking her of all possible thoughts to welcome this little one with a proper name.
                “Name her after me!”  Nurse Elisabeth cooed, hearing the cry of Momma’s brand new baby.
                Thus became the family story of how Elisabeth had bore her name.  Answering the call of The Daimon, Little Elisabeth grew to be a Prairie girl, entangled with the far outreaching darkness of her ancestral karma. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

One Truth

         " I am not ashamed for taking a stand...I am not ashamed for taking a stand...I am not ashamed for taking a stand..."
          It's time to work on this unfinished piece for an upcoming show that documents my inner world,  responding to the outer world.  A true/false take on the news.
          I'm not good at minding my p's and q's when it comes to convention and form for writng, and technique and skill for drawing, but I have finally come to use my words and images to express myself shamelessly.   Thanks for observing my discovery process. 

A note from my college student in '02 after sharing my work at a campus showing:

          One truth to be defended. That is important for all of us.  It allows us to hold our heads high.

An artist statement from January '02:

          I dreamt that my eyelids had taken a fluid form seeping into my eyeballs and the orbs soaked up the molten matter, blinding me with the silencing of fear.  Negotiating with Truth to claim my vision of Breaking the Silence,  I dedicate this show to all those who envision a life without fear:  a fear of hatred or love,  of oppression or freedom,  of joy or sorrow, of death or life, of self or others, or, a fear of God or of no god.  I shape my life as an artist, a writer and a teacher, to be unafraid of sharing my visions.  It is from the world around us, before and after us, that we gather our collective spirit of strength, hope and courage.  As we become soothsayers of truth, we no longer hang our heads as helpless and silent bystanders, instead, we stand as one. 
         As you stand with me, reading my blog, I will share a chronicle of a retrospective body of work, while continuing to search for the truth in telling my story.   


     One of my co-teachers prompted this entry.  She was my student when I had taught at a small liberal arts college.
     "My favorite memories are of you reading your writing to us!" She gave encoraging words after reading my blog.
     I opened an old writer's notebook from 2000 and found words to accompany this image, inspired several years later, by a neolithic bird goddess with a long and graceful neck.   I worked on her while in therapy for my neck, while suffering vertigo.  Sadly, she broke before I could finish her, tumbling off the mantle.  But, I had told her story:

     I tread softly, not wanting to overshadow the guide who leads my way--who knows the way of my words.   I work slowly and carefully for I want to stay in her midst and not be left with an empty image with meaningless form.  "Stay,"  I plead. " I will craft your story as we listen to the rain."
     It's hard to come back to school after Fall Break at such a pretty time of the year when hearts soar and leaves spiral through the air, changing colors as they drop.  Yet, it feels good to be with my class as I read aloud on my blanket, to--in turn--inspire words and images.  That's my favorite way to reflect, a blanket on the lawn, with yard noises all around.  Of course it has to be the right time of day, or year, so the air is refreshing, and it helps when the sky is blue.  If sheltered, a rainy day makes for a backdrop, with the sound of raindrops over head.  What Joy!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Mind's Eye

I dug in my bins of writings and drawings to find words and images to share with you as you witness my reflections.  This is a copy of an entry I had made in a roving journal, for another artist in my art club.  She had inspired the following response: 
           The pull toy waits for the initial tug to roll its wheels and bring squeals of magic to young ones with little hands.  It sets on my shelf waiting for that day, of stories to be told of leopards sleeping in trees, and of a grandmother's healing journey.

          Thank you for taking me back to my childhood playground when bells that rang to go inside brought relief.  There were many things that frightened me:  the slide, the teeter totter, the big boys.  I felt safe within a book, turning my pages, feeling at peace within my mind's eye. 
          It was this same mind's eye that I took with me to Kenya.  And it is the same mind's eye that recognized a sacred sight, as our driver put the pedal to the floor of our Land Rover, so that we might catch a glimpse of leopards, before it got too dark.
           Huge cats, so relaxed, draped over the branches, as if they had no muscles.  Immediately, I knew that my trip with my daughter had become a pilgrimage.  I have played with that image often, melting the tension from my weary neck.  It's a tug of war--letting go of childhood fears.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Alter Ego

          It was at midlife that I came to realize that Viola, my invisible childhood friend was actually my alter ego. Through oil pastels,  I drew upon Viola's invincible energy.  

“Up here!”  Viola called.  She was always taunting Little Elisabeth in a loving way to get her to step out of her fears, to climb higher or run faster or speak louder. 
                Elisabeth’s favorite game was to see if she could be as invisible as Viola.  She would gladly trade places if only she could figure out how to present Viola to her family.  There must be a way Elisabeth thought to herself as she followed Viola’s lead and climbed over the tail gate of Daddy’s big red truck.
                “What was Viola up to now?” Elisabeth wondered.  Viola was always spiriting an adventure.
                Although Little Elisabeth’s fearfulness made Viola a little crazy, she couldn’t stay mad at her long.  Viola knew that she couldn’t exist without Elisabeth so she might as well play by the rules and wrestle the biggest and meanest demons along the way while Elisabeth cowered shamefully. 
                “Fall backwards!”  Viola commanded. “Let’s make angels in the wheat!” 
                Little Elisabeth flopped down upon the mattress of freshly harvested wheat kernels. Her body framed a pillow, a perfect fit for a five year old. She shifted her weight and felt the chain reaction of the kernels, under her toes and between her fingers,  simultaneously coursing around her very ticklish neck.  Elisabeth giggled with contentment knowing once again that Viola could say, “I told you so!” for having a wonderful idea.
                 Elisabeth breathed in the moment, being one with Viola, she exhaled a sense of wonder, marveling at the star filled sky--a giant bowl covering her existence.
                “Do you wonder about the vastness of space?”  Viola nudged Elisabeth from her reverie. 
                Little Elisabeth couldn’t imagine that when middle aged she would be able to Google Planet Earth and swoop into a dot from up above, magnifying its existence to reveal hidden details.  Exposure is what Elisabeth feared most.  She had become comfortable with the transparent nature that she shared with Viola.   It made her nervous though to think of anyone else zooming in to her inner most thoughts, and finding something that had not yet been revealed to her, even though she had experienced it.
                “Someday you will see clearly through the vastness of space and through the course of time!”  Viola reassured Elisabeth, by speaking for The Daimon, whispering into Elisabeth’s ear as they star gazed.

Monday, January 2, 2012



          The holidays are over and tomorrow I return to teaching.  I know my time will be limited for my personal work.  I look forward to this blog as my committment to share.  Over time,  I have gathered together my words and images and have come to realize,  if I maintain stillness,  I  have a story to tell.  It begins in the following excerpt from The Daimon.

Chapter 1:  Conception
                 Stillness penetrated the air, the brewing kind, even the hens had quit cackling.  If sound had traveled Little Elisabeth could have heard the scuffing of his farm boots, kicking up the dirt across the yard, for he had gotten wind of Momma hiding in the chicken house.   
“Go on!” Momma shooed her from underfoot. 
“But Momma…”­­
“Go play” She nudged as if nothing was wrong.
With great pains, Elisabeth returned the eggs to the nest.  They both knew what was coming down the path, something other than Daddy.
 “Auch, those Volga Germans!”  Momma used her Old German dialect on such occasions to admonish scars of oppression from lives past. 
                “Don’t you tell Daddy where I’m at!”  Momma needn’t say.  Tears softened her sternness, “Now go on!”­­
                Little Elisabeth imagined Viola coming to the rescue and left Momma pacing amongst the chickens; it wasn’t the safest hide-out. 
“Get to the house!” Viola coached.  Elisabeth’s legs broke into a run.  She could see him out of the corner of her eye. He cast that look of otherness; she ran faster. 
                He tried to charm Little Elisabeth with his toothy grin while scoping the direction from whence she had flown—like a stool pigeon—she could almost hear the taunt, crystal clear, in his blue eyes. 
                Where have you been?”  He called out with a chuckle.
                 “No where!”  Her voice, though barely audible, resounded powerless, as she closed the back stoop door on a storm about to break. 
                Upstairs in her bedroom, Little Elisabeth played dollies with Viola in tow, hushing the babies so they wouldn’t cry.   Fear lurked in  Elisabeth’s psyche, taking shape in various forms through previous lifetimes.  Thankfully, she now had Viola as her companion.