For Love and Art

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Valentine's Day gift for Roland didn't arrive until last week. I knew it was going to be late, but it was worth it.

When we were at the sailboat show several weeks ago, we saw some artwork at a booth for The Crystal Cave. Gorgeous, but expensive. You send them a picture of your sailboat or your favorite lighthouse or bridge or city skyline and they engrave it on glass. When the salesman said they could engrave our boat with the Mackinac Bridge in the background, we were intrigued.

In our new piece of art, you can see every detail, including Roland at the helm. (I took the picture of Freizeit from the breakwater at the Hammond Marina several years ago. The Mackinac Bridge is from an image The Crystal Cave already had.) Our new art piece sets into a stand and is lit from below, sending a soft glow into the room when the rest of the lights are off.

I love it. I love my husband, too.

And the best Valentine's Day gift is one we can both enjoy.

Accusing Eyes

Monday, February 18, 2013

Last week I mentioned the workshop I presented on poetry as an agent of social change. During the workshop, I asked students to write their own poems about social responsibility. I don't believe in asking others to do what I won't do myself, so I wrote one, too. Actually, I may have cheated a little, because I wrote mine in advance and took time to polish it so I could use it as an example.

Here is my poem.

  Accusing Eyes

Screams wake me
To visions of her eyes.
Haunting eyes
Crying without tears.
Behind thin walls
Mine close in sleep. 
Not my nightmare.
Bruises cover arms
Exposed to summer sun.
Pleading eyes
Stare into mine.
Clumsy, her mother says,
Always bumping into doors.
Not my business.
Sirens wake me
To flashing red lights.
Covered eyes
Carried through corridors.
Accident, her mother says.
Murder, the cops reply.
Not my fault. 

 © 2013 by Kathryn Page Camp

A Boring Subject?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Last Tuesday I presented a workshop on poetry as an agent of social change. Actually, my contribution was a breakout session from a larger workshop presented by the Indiana Writers' Consortium (in which I am actively involved) in partnership with The Writing Center at Purdue University Calumet.

The workshop was part of PUC's One Book/One University project, where freshmen read and discuss The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Most of the sessions the students have attended over the academic year concentrated on the medical and ethical issues raised by the book. Our workshop looked at how creative writing techniques can be used to make a difference in the world.

Written as creative non-fiction, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks takes the complicated and often boring subjects of cell culture and scientific research and turns them into a fascinating story about one cell donor and her family. The book explores the ethical issues involved when taking living cells from a donor without her consent and using those cells to produce medical advances that benefit millions

When I first volunteered for this project, I did not look forward to reading the book. Medical issues sounded about as dense and dull to me as legal issues sound to most of you. But I soon found myself drawn into the story, and I learned things I would have tuned out if they were part of an academic or medical treatise. This book proves what H.L. Mencken said: "There are no dull subjects. There are only dull writers." Rebecca Skloot is not a dull writer.

So if you want to expand your mind without being bored, I recommend The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Being Thankful for Family

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Uncle Russell died last week. He is the second from the left in this picture and the fourth of the siblings to die. (Or at least the fourth of the five who survived to become adults.)

These four brothers and one sister all lived long, healthy, and productive Christian lives. My father died youngest at 88, three died in their 90s, and my surviving uncle is 91 and still going strong. That's my heredity, and I'm thankful for it.

But I'm mostly thankful for the wonderful family I was born into. I have great memories of visits to and from my aunts and uncles and cousins. A loving, close family.

And I'm grateful.