Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Art of Losing

I.  The Art of Losing

I met with T yesterday, a man living with Alzheimer's who is looking to hire an art-sparker, along with his wife, and it feels like we could work well together. Alzheimer's has dampened T's fire, but he's still an energetic extrovert, which I think will complement my lower and slower energy.
We have our first art-making date in a few days.

I'm excited to get going on this. 
I can imagine growing an art-making service for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias. 
And, speaking of poetry, I could call my service  
Mastering the Art of Losing
from Elizabeth Bishop's poem, "One Art":

... Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant 
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I doubt everyone would like that, but I think T might.
He was telling me he loves meeting strangers, and I took a risk and said, That's great-- Alzheimer's means you'll be meeting a lot more strangers, over and over again.
He laughed hard.
He'd also told me he was worried that Alzheimer's would take away his sense of humor, and I said that was not my experience working with people with advanced dementia. They laughed a lot, if there was something to laugh at.

But maybe other people stop laughing with and around them?
Easy to do, as exhaustion and fear and isolation take over.
Art making may help lift some of that.

I don't know that I believe in much, but I believe in art.
Maybe that sounds highfalutin? I could just say, I believe in making stuff––music, food, scribbles, whatever.

 II.  The Art of Writing: Spotlight

If you go see Spotlight, which I recommend, and you're a writer or an editor, you might just be the only one to laugh out loud, like I did, when the editor of the Boston Globe (Marty Baron, played by Liev Schreiber) takes his red pen to the draft of the article that revealed the Catholic hierarchy knew for decades that some priests were raping kids.
Pretty much the only funny scene in this good movie.

Below: Not the actual scene, but this is the feel of the movie, for the most part:

This movie avoids sentiment (again, for the most part), but it is a hymn of praise to a bygone era of newspaper-funded investigative reporting as much as it is an exposé of systematic child abuse in the Catholic Church.
The team of journalists worked for almost a year before they published their findings---though that was in 2001, watching it evokes nostalgia:
what newspaper can pay for this time and team anymore?

You've seen, I'm sure, that National Geographic is now owned by Fox.
That sure feels like a disaster.


Michael Leddy said...

Saw Spotlight last week, in Boston of all places. Amazing and inspiring to see the reporters keeping at it as their story began to grow and grow. Anger-inspiring about institutions, both the church hierarchy and the paper’s unwillingness to really address the problem earlier on. A great movie.

Zhoen said...

Sound like you've found a really good skill/need match.

As for NG and Fox, sad. Everything has it's lifetime, NG is likely consumed by fire now. So will Fox one day be subsumed and egested.

Julia said...

On journalism: I was heartened by the recent NYT series on the toxic conditions nail salon workers are exposed to and the lack of regulation; it appeared to cause almost immediate change and drew attention to work hazards faced primarily by women and particularly poor women of color. An eight-month investigation led to the #exxonknew revelations and potential repercussions for them. So far I've only read the first of the Strib's 4-part series on disability in MN, but it was well done.

I'm not ready to toll the bell for journalism. It's certainly undergoing a shake-up with corporate buy-outs, social media, internet, etc., and there's a lot of shoddy work out there, but at the same time...

Anyhow, a bit of hope for investigative journalism off the top of my head.

Frex said...

JULIA: Anya Schiffrin agrees with you---the boom of the Internet makes a new kind of investigative reporting possible, internationally.

From Schiffrin's 2014 article "Why We're Living in a Golden Age of Investigative Reporting":

"Newspapers might be a dying breed. But investigative reporting on injustices around the world is prospering ...

"When I began researching my new book, Global Muckraking: 100 Years of Investigative Journalism from Around the World,
I assumed that the good old days of investigative reporting were in the past. It was a surprise to learn just how much high quality work is still being done around the planet.

"The amount of data now available online, the ability of journalists to use the Internet to connect to one another and share information — a major aid in cross-border reporting — and a wave of new philanthropy have all helped fuel the current boom.
In addition, fresh news operations of every sort seem to be popping up, eager to promote investigative reporting."

--Frex = Fresca

ArtSparker said...

Hey. let me know if you want a business card set up with "Art Sparker" on it. Love that you are finding a use for the term, and inventing a new profession maybe...could see large scale fun paintings set up on an easel, maybe, as a tablet, with a new painting taking the place of the old, something to look at for a week, and then make another one. But will be interested to see how you develop it.

Fresca said...

ARTSPARKER: Oooh... I hope I will need such a card, with "Art Sparker" on it... And I'm glad to use the title YOU came up with!

Your idea confirms mine, to set up a large canvas every week.
A place to start.