27 April, 2011

Genealogy Blogger Anita Wills Interviews Nancy Gershman about "Ancestor Photo-Ops"

Anita Wills, host of “Anita Talks Genealogy”, interviewed me about my Ancestor Dreamscape work on April 11, 2011 from her California studio. Wills, the author of two books Pieces of the Quilt: The Mosaic of An African-American Family, and Notes and Documents of Free Persons of Color is a specialist in African-American and Native American genealogy research. 

Listen to the mp3 of our interview (fast forward to 07:23)

She has a special interest in Ancestor Dreamscapes because she believes there is a spiritual connection when you see a resemblance between yourself and your ancestors. “Otherwise,” says Wills, “it’s just an oral history.” In addition to sharing innumerable tips on backing up one’s genealogy research, Wills expressed particular excitement about the benefits of creating a “photo-op” with one’s ancestors. Digitally, that is. This morning she shared her innermost thoughts with me about what an Ancestor Dreamscape would mean to her personally.
“Putting the memories from past and present together, a step I never thought about - – this was an eye-opener for me. I never thought about taking a picture of myself and super-imposing it on a photograph of my ancestors. I have pictures from the past, but this would be just like being there. I often go to Chestnut County, Pennsylvania where my great grandfather Samuel Ruth and his mother Leah Warner lived, and I can see doing an Ancestor Dreamscape where I stand there, with them. The Ancestor Dreamscape then becomes ”the” picture I have of Samuel and his mother and me! I can already see them there in my mind with me. My people, who walked here and lived here.  My great grandfather was a white man who descended from a German father and an African mother. That father had a farm and two or three slaves. But Samuel chose to carry the Ruth name.
I have pictures they took in the area back then in the 1800s. It’s a rural area, full of Dutch farms and part of the Underground Railroad. Never thought of putting myself in the picture before. But when somebody says, you look a lot like your grandmother – it would be amazing to see my great great grandmother’s picture and my picture together. It would really show how we do look alike. 
It would be spiritual for me.”

Heritage or “Roots” travel

Anita acknowledged that she was looking recently for a travel agent who could take her back to Guinea where her great great grandmother lived. She found out what tribe Leah was from –part of the Keita and Camray tribe that came in from Mali to Guinea, around the 1300s. Here are some suggestions I gave Anita for fulfilling her dream, which I will share with you now.  

To arrange a heritage travel group vacation, contact Adam Glenn, President of Family Roots Travel at (800) 264-2895 or email him at a.glenn@familyrootstravel.com.

Before you go on a heritage vacation, think about setting up a variety of shots:

  1. Pose in the exact spot depicted in your family’s archival photos
  2. Wear authentic clothing from that time period
  3. Hold meaningful objects passed down to you from these very distant ancestors
  4. Pose in front of your ancestral home, or even on the street outside where your ancestors once lived 
  5. Pose with living relatives residing in or near your ancestral home

When you return from your trip, tell me your vision for an Ancestral Dreamscape and I will work with scanned versions of your vintage photos and the heritage vacation photos I collect from you digitally. 

The final deliverable?

·         Restoring and retouching at no extra cost, unless your photos are severely damaged
·         High resolution scans of all your photos, at no extra charge
·         High quality 8x10 glossy print of your artwork plus all files on a CD (Enlargements ordered separately)
·         Affordable pricing and installment payment plans so anyone can afford a custom photomontage. (Every photo used, whether yours or Nancy’s, is just $40/image)
·         USPS Priority Mail shipping, always free with your order! 

To commission an Ancestor Dreamscape, contact Nancy Gershman at 773-255-4677 or email me at nancy@ArtForYourSake.com. Projects are taken on a first-come-first-served basis. 

Be sure to tune into the next segment of Anita Will’s Blog Talk Radio show Anita Talks Genealogy” Wednesdays 7:00- 7:45 pm, and Fridays, 7:00-7:45 pm PST.

03 April, 2011

Cover Art for Legacy Works: It's Not Window Dressing

Linda Coffin knows one thing, and that is that narrative and design “simply must go hand-in-hand if we want to do justice to the story.” In a recent thread on The Association of Personal Historians listserv, Linda (founder of the full service company HistoryCrafters) articulates what many people in the life story industry feel about the relationship between good information design, rich imagery, good story-telling and emotion.

Linda writes:
“There are many compelling and well-written stories that go unread simply because they look amateurish or even downright bad. Too often design is treated as just window-dressing (as in "this isn't about a pretty design - it's about the story!"). Well, of course the story is the center of the whole thing. But most people are unaware of how much a good design can be a vital communication tool, telling its own story about the narrative and the narrator.”  
 Linda goes on to say:
“A case in point: my client's family was unhappy with his narrative, telling him that he hadn't put enough emotion into it and that it was boring to read. But now that I've redesigned the layout and given them a sample of the first chapter, the narrative flows in a clearly readable form. The photos are now sharp and crisp and sitting next to the text they illustrate. The chapter and topic divisions make sense. The headers and footers are correct and help guide you through the story. Guess what? Suddenly his family is thrilled. "Wow, Dad, this is great stuff," said the same son who earlier had complained that there was no emotion in his story. Same client, same material, same story, but much better design and production.”
High production values and original cover go hand-in-hand
What we're talking about is professional production values:
  • Chapters laid out like a good film, whether it runs linearly, in flashbacks or uses some other dramatic device 
  • Clear headers and footers; the equivalent of website “breadcrumbs” which show the reader where they came from and where they’re headed  
  • High resolution images (e.g. photographs and documents)with captions that correlate with the text and serve as self-guided tours, pointing out extraordinary visual details and back stories otherwise missed    
But there is yet another significant metamorphosis that professionally conceived life stories should undergo - a vital step that can make all the difference in the world. It is adding the line-item of original artwork for the cover of your legacy work (and, if budget allows, chapter art as well). Why artwork for the cover, versus just selecting one compelling photograph from your archives? Because art sends out the single most important message about our hero/heroine: it encapsulates the point-of-it-all. It communicates the meaning of the subject’s life and the point of the narrative directly into our right brains. And it accomplishes this complex story-telling, among many other things, with the medium's sensual expression of feeling, and the artist's intentional use of atmosphere, subject matter and props.

What kind of artwork is right for the cover of your legacy book, CD or DVD?

When it comes to recommending what imagery should become the “face” of your legacy project, your best bet is to defer to the project’s Creative Point Person. They may be, as in Linda Coffin's case, wearing multiple hats (as graphic designer and book editor, for example.) Their talent is knowing the importance of future generations seeing a “likeness” in the face or landscape on the cover. So they will be on the lookout from the beginning for visual imagery that subconsciously telegraphs the kind of people portrayed in your legacy work.  Whether it should be a digitally-enhanced photograph, a photo-realistic painting, a mixed media photo collage or even a surrealistic photomontage with whimsical objects will come down, in the end, to what best communicates the psychological “point-of-it-all.”

Most likely the Point Person will have touched every archival photograph in the possession of the family from the very beginning of the project. They will have been in the client’s home, and seen photographic portraits or paintings on the wall. They will have been the first to learn whether the subject had artistic proclivities in the “early years” (i.e. watercolors made in high school or a sketch on a napkin), or if the subject is still making art, they may be the very person to urge the subject to create a self-portrait for the cover. If a talented family member volunteers to create original artwork for the project, they will know right away whether this is a brilliant idea, or not. 

As a curator and full service graphic designer, professionals like Linda Coffin have an excellent sense of what kind of imagery belongs on the cover, because they have been living and breathing the “point-of-it-all” for months. They have edited the text and laid out the content in the most logical and entertaining manner possible. If it’s fitting, they may recommend that haunting photograph of the subject before (or after) a catastrophic event. If no truly striking photographs exist, they may recommend a mixed media piece that transforms a so-so photograph into a Renaissance portrait, complete with meaningful objects set in a backdrop that divulges the subject’s status, profession and even cause célèbre.

Ultimately, what you are paying for is your Point Person's heightened sense of objectivity. That "distance" from the project is precious because it enables them to pick up on the big patterns or themes behind a life review and bring the best one front and center.

So what are the proven winners in terms of cover art?

From the family:
  • Self-portraits: in any medium, executed at any age, by the subject (or) a family member 
  • Mixed media or photo collage work, combining multiple still photographs and artwork, by hand 

    From a professional artist, commissioned work, such as:
    • Portrait of the subject, at any age, in any medium (even a sculpture can be photographed and used as an image)
    Fig.1. The Journey of Henry Kagan. Artist: Lisa Kagan  

    • Photo collage or mixed media combining archival photographs, stills from archival film/video, with or without artwork (Fig. 2. Mixed media with one photo by Lisa Kagan of Family Heirloom Arts)
    Fig. 2. Tolya Serving His Country Artist: Nancy Gershman 
    • Digital fine art photomontage, seamlessly combining imagery from multiple archival or heritage vacation photographs together into a single scene, augmented by meaningful objects, clothing and accessories or landscapes researched and supplied by the digital artist (Fig. 2. Photomontage created from four photos by digital artist Nancy Gershman of Art For Your Sake)
    The effect is pure theatre, not just for the first generation of readers, but generations to come.  And that's why who you choose to package your legacy makes all the difference in the world.

    Nancy Gershman of Art For Your Sake is a digital artist specializing in fine art legacy portraiture for gifts and personal histories. As a post-therapy resource, Gershman also creates prescriptive photomontages for healing (bereavement, acceptance, relationship rifts and addictive behaviors) to counter loss and regrets.

    13 March, 2011

    Cut and Paste Mom on Mother's Day

    Fig. 1: Nancy's mother and grandmother

    In a recent article, psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, author of the happiness guidebook, "A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness" tells us:
    "...the proverbial 'hit the pillow to get aggression out against your spouse' has actually been shown to increase anger and resentment."
    I remember stomping off to the Reichians for bioenergetic therapy after college, in the hopes that I could avenge a controlling childhood through "expressive exercises" like pillow-beating. I beat the pillow alright, but the more the counselor encouraged man-on-pillow violence, the more I couldn't stop my nervous laughter.

    Basically, I discovered you can't blame an Obsessive Compulsive mother for being mentally ill any more than you can believe a pillow is a stand-in for your dysfunctional parent.

    In the end, I found cutting and pasting (what today has become my digital photomontage work) much more therapeutic. Perhaps it's something about all the time us digital artists spend studying a face or a body, zooming in, carefully cutting out a figure rather than coloring inside the lines. And that's just the half of it. There's also the magic that occurs when you slide two combatants side by side, engaging them in imaginary conversation. Stare at the two of them long enough, and you'll swear they're getting along.

    So cut and paste your mom on Mother's Day ... or leave it to the experts.

    Nancy Gershman is a digital artist who offsets your losses and regrets by creating custom wishful reality from photos, memories and family stories. To order this meaningful photo gift in time for Mother's Day, contact Nancy at her studio Art For Your Sake or by emailing her at nancy@artforyoursake.com or 773-255-4677.

    08 March, 2011

    Merging the Paths of Grief and Life with Prescriptive Photomontage

    Can a healing photo montage - not just metaphorically but literally - commingle our public and private selves?

    Wrestling with the death of her grandchild, a professional grief counselor was completely thrown off balance by her own grief. She writes of:

    •  searching her memory for home movies of WHO was lost
    •  withdrawing from social interactions to remember WHEN all was lost 
    •  trying to identify a specific moment or event that explains WHY it happened, and finally
    •  making peace with WHAT happened, gradually, over time  
    Yes, ever so gradually, this grandmother came to the realization that she was separating two paths - grief and life - when she spoke to strangers. Not until she could explain to people outside her inner circle that she was a different person now as a result of her granddaughter's death was she able to find her equilibrium again. What begins as a feeling of "embarrassment at the collision of private and public selves," (Meghan O'Rourke, Why We Write About Grief, The New York Times, February 27, 2011) eventually matures into gravitas. (Wikipedia defines gravitas variously as "weight, seriousness, dignity, or importance, and connotes a certain substance or depth of personality.") 

    This makes sense in my work as a prescriptive artist. The photomontages I create from repurposed photos of the loved one and the bereaved are designed to celebrate a life while never shying away from the WHO-WHEN-WHY and WHAT of the death. The imagery is meant to convey this new and richer inner life of the bereaved as they dream about their loved one. Like in a healing dream, it's a scene made splendid with humor, irony and symbolism ...  their kind of humor, irony and symbolism. And by envisioning a future colored by their spirit, these "healing dreamscapes" produce courage during one of the shakiest periods of our lives.  In the words of the writer Joyce Carol Oates:

    "... surely those who have been magnanimous in life can be imagined as magnanimous in death. We want to believe that the deceased whom we loved would love us enough to wish us well, in what remains of our lives." (Why We Write About Grief, The New York Times, February 27, 2011).

    If I've hit the right notes, the finished product puts the bereaved on the right path again. Where the fork in the road merges again.

    01 February, 2011

    Art For Your Sake Interviewed by Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers.com

    Below is the interview reprinted in full with Thomas MacEntee of High Definition Genealogy and the founder of Geneabloggers.com. MacEntee is a genealogist specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. Utilizing over 25 years of experience in the information technology field, MacEntee has organized and engaged a community of over 1,500 bloggers to document their own journeys in the search for ancestors.

    Thomas MacEntee writes: "Recently I had the opportunity to review the products and services at Art For Your Sake here at GeneaBloggers. Here is an interview with the creator and "artist in residence" at Art For Your Sake: Nancy Gershman - where we discuss Nancy's work and her interest in genealogy and family history."

    Thomas MacEntee: The concept of “digital photomontage” as shown on your site – Art For Your Sake – is unique. How would you describe the concept to someone familiar with genealogy but unfamiliar with digital photomontage?

    Nancy Gershman: As a legacy artist, I always begin research with a conversation. We’ll be looking at archival photographs, and either the front (or backs with handwritten notations) will launch all sorts of back stories about the person in the picture. Like the genealogist, I’m also seeking revelations and insights about my subject, but rather than focusing on ancestors, I’m ferreting out anecdotal data from the last people on earth to know this person (who in all likelihood may still be living, but who’s more likely deceased for one or two generations). I strive for some kind of balance between how my client wants to remember the subject, and how to honor the subject‘s own wishes about how they’d want to have been remembered. Deliverables are typically the transcripts of these wonderful conversations and a gestalt portrait, if you will, of the subject as remembered in the “family record.”

    TM: Now, the digital aspect to my work opens up all sorts of transformative possibilities in terms of remembrance and continuing bonds with the deceased. Instead of being limited by a single photograph, I am able to combine multiple images from different photographs to tell a story about the “full person.” By manipulating everything from scale, light, shadow and color to mix and matching faces and limbs, landscapes, scenery, costumes and props, the viewer really begins to experience the personality, and even the belief systems of the subject.

    NG: That might mean getting the best possible head shot from one photo and a body from another; placing the subject in a background that has significance for the viewer; placing meaningful objects around the subject; or having the subject engage with individuals who never existed in the original photo but who were very much “part of the story."

    Journalist Patrick Butler got it right when he wrote that I “never expected to be telling stories created with the insight of a layout designer, stage director, choreographer– and more than the touch of a medicine woman.” It’s true.

    TM: What types of family history-related gifts can be created using a photomontage?

    NG: These are some of my favorite ideas of how clients used history in their photomontage gift:

    • memorial portraits that have the deceased fulfilling a wish that was mentioned quite a bit to family members, but never consummated during their lifetime

    • soulmate portraits, where a couple is surrounded by symbolic elements representing their decades-long love affair with each other – and with their individual passions

    • honeymoon portraits, where a couple is taken to an exotic destination (back to their roots?) which they would never have been able to afford on their own

    • spiritual portraits populated with meaningful objects celebrating that person’s moral, activist or religious character

    • humorous portraits that roast the retiring exec, highlighting their achievements and social status, but also their peculiar interests and quirks from a historical perspective

    Sometimes a client chooses not to frame their artwork, preferring to take it to the next level as photo purses (Bagettes.com); serving trays (www.designerphotogifts.com/Serving-Trays.html); tapestries (www.customcreationsunlimited.com) and 8×10 3-D “pop-outs” (http://www.photocutouts.com/).

    Probably what I’m most excited about is a new product I’m working on: a coffee table “memory book” that in ten fine art photomontages restages epic events and family lore from one man’s life. You open the book to a beautifully illustrated timeline and family tree, followed by oral histories given by those who remember. From there the book flows into ten portraits falling across every key period of this person’s life.

    TM: You also discuss the “healing” aspects of the photomontage medium on your site. Can you give an example?

    NG: Any of my photomontages become “healing” when I prescriptively zero in on loss or regrets keeping an individual “stuck” in the past. In these instances – as the outsider – I help clients visualize a more positive and joyful narrative of what lies ahead by repurposing their photographs in a playful manner. The notion of play and truth-telling is enormously important here, not only because laughing (or the laughing cry) produces dopamine, but also because it’s the humor and irony in these visualizations that moves clients one baby step towards “completing their journey.” Often these “healing dreamscapes,” as I call them, are commissioned by concerned family or friends. For the more serious cases, I get additional input from a therapist, support group counselor or a member of the clergy.

    One of my favorite examples is the dreamscape I made for a bereaved mother named Shirley. The part of her dreamscape that always soothed her right back to sleep was essentially two pleasing memories fused together as one. I cut out her 2-year old son from one photo, snuggled him onto Shirley’s lap, and then had the little guy warming his toes over the warmth coming up from a grill – the kind her son as a 30 year old used when grilling hot dogs out in the snow.

    Readers might be interested in these articles about my healing photomontages about:

    • a nurse who honors everyone who made a difference in her life: Positive Visualization: Photomontage helps individuals cope with grief by Rachel Christophe Baker (Advance for Nurses magazine) view online at Advance for Nurses Magazine.

    • a bereaved dad coping with his loss: Campaigning for Craig: The Healing Power of a Legacy T-shirt view online at Hektoen International, A Journal of Medical Humanities.

    • an anorexic newlywed reforming her husband: The Fisherman’s Lasagna: A Love Story about Prescriptive Photomontage and Anorexia view online at Hektoen International, A Journal of Medical Humanities.

    TM: If someone approached you to construct a photomontage, how do you begin? How involved can they be in the creative process?

    NG: I like my clients very involved in the creative process from the very beginning. I ask them to put their hands on candid photographs where they truly feel the true essence of the person coming through. I like them to gather really compelling stories for me, passed down through the family for which there may – or may not be – existing photographs. Once I start composing a rough of the photomontage, it gets emailed back and forth for comments. I’ll ask: What is superfluous? What is missing? By the first and second pass we’ve usually nailed it!

    What probably is the most exciting thing about delivering the final photomontage is that frequently a client will see something in the artwork that’s completely unexpected: a secret message; a funny coincidence; some strange little anomaly which absolutely floors them. Like the widow who told me the place that gave her the greatest feeling of tranquility was Indian Boundary Park – and the photograph I chose for the background of her healing dreamscape turned out to be exactly the spot where she sprinkled her husband’s ashes!

    TM: What led you to work in the digital art medium? Have you always been involved in the arts?

    NG: I always loved cutting and pasting when journalling or making greeting cards for friends and family. As my friend Beth once said: “Layering – it’s how you weave things together in your own life”. The act is always relaxing for me, although my paternal grandmother and father were wonderful painters, preferring paintbrushes to a scissor. In college I was a theatre major studying playwriting, and later, I switched to communications and design, which became the gateway to work in advertising. Not surprisingly all these things melded together in my work as a photomontagist. Suspending disbelief and going for a strong conceptual composition comes in great part from my training in advertising. But I have to say that the confluence of Flickr (a photo-sharing website) and Photoshop (digital photo manipulation software) is what really allowed me to be able to do such custom work for my clients. Now I could search for location-specific photographs or artifacts, and basically reconstruct any historical scene a client pulls from memory. It’s pure theatre when you think about it.

    TM: Have you always had an interest in family history?

    NG: You could say I am completely fixated by other people’s “home movies”. It’s never been boring for me, ever, maybe because I use all sides of my brain. I look at snapshots and historical photographs like a curator of fine photography. When I listen to family stories, I’m asking questions and collecting ethnographic material like a cultural anthropologist. And when I’m editing someone’s oral history, I do it in Studs Terkel fashion, meaning I let the interviewee’s own words read like literature. Moving people to tears is the perfect job.

    But there’s something else about why I am drawn to this field: I’m absolutely manic about making sure family history is never lost.

    TM: Who is your favorite ancestor? What do you know about them?

    NG: My favorite ancestor, Walter Bruce Schaffir, I’m afraid, is very much alive. He’s my Dad. At age 9, his father was driven mad by dental pain and apparently killed himself in Poland. As a teen, he was picked up by Viennese Nazis in a sweep of Jews after Kristallnacht, and then was miraculously released by a sympathetic desk sergeant. Over the age limit for a KinderTransport to Holland, he convinced the organizers to take him as a secretary so he could remain with his younger brother. Months later, after he got a visa to come to Cleveland, all the Jewish children in that Dutch camp were exterminated by the Nazis who invaded Holland. In the U.S., he worked days building coffins and cleaning machinery and went to school nights for his college degree. For the past two decades, macular degeneration propelled him to reinvent himself from painter to sculptor, and he plays drums in a jazz band at The Lighthouse twice a week. The guy is a maverick!

    Thomas MacEntee:

    "I have to say it is just amazing the types of connections you can make using social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. A few months ago I found the site Art For Your Sake and connected with its owner Nancy Gershman on Twitter. Little did I know that she was just one neighborhood south of me here in Chicago! While we often think of making more long distance connections with social media, very often you can find folks in your own backyard!"

    ©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

    31 January, 2011

    Why Legacy Artists Favor Family Lore over Fact

    Vitaly's little boy imagined his dad handling dangerous chemicals  
    It's a historian's professional obligation to dispel myths and legends writes Gordon Wood (No Thanks for the MemoriesThe New York Review of Books, Jan. 13, 2011, ). But sometimes the last thing we want are revisionist and historically accurate portraits of a public figure. We want the symbol over scholarship: a belief in destiny and a purposeful life because these things resonate with us emotionally. We want George Washington's Cherry Tree.

    The English historian J.H. Plumb found that it was the "created ideology" and "mythical, religious and political interpretations" with which humans sanctify their societies. In the same vein, family members need to harness their collective memories to remember a loved one. For legacy projects, we need to explore what was so compelling about this relative's drive (or lack thereof); what were their peculiar hobbies, passions and eccentricities when they were 9, or 90? What made them so ahead of their time? Or conversely, so at odds with their time?

    Instead of performing a critical dissection of a loved one's accomplishments along a timeline, I say define the man with myths and legends handed down from generation to generation. Listen to the lore and to the memories and anecdotes which evoke the greatest laughter or tears: pay these things the closest attention.

    28 January, 2011

    Treats (versus Treatment) for the Grieving

    Prescriptive photomontage for Shirley H

    Retelling the story of loss hurts. A normal component of grief recovery, it is often as painful as the loss itself. I remember one widow's words which always stuck with me - perhaps because she was so uninformed of other more art-centered options besides interpersonal psychotherapy, bereavement support groups and anti-depressants.  Sixty-six years of age, this woman had begun treatment 20 years after the death of her husband for complicated grief. In The New York Times article ("After a Death, the Pain That Doesn't Go Away," Sept. 9, 2009), she tells journalist Fran Schumer about her experience of recounting loss: "That was just brutal and I had to relive it. I nearly dropped out, but I knew this was my last hope of getting any kind of functional life back."

    However, times appear to be changing. In Ruth Davis Konigsberg's recent article in Time Magazine ("Good News About Grief," Jan 24, 2011), there is a new movement underfoot, re-examining Kübler-Ross's "American Way of Grief," namely:
    • expressing your grief by telling your story often and in detail
    • grieving in stages, from shock to acceptance, in that order
    • accepting mandatory "aftercare services" (a.k.a. bereavement counseling) 

    Kübler-Ross's 7 Stages of Grief 

    I am a strong believer in resilience, but also in a griever's ability to dream and hope. What if this same patient - in addition to exploring counseling - might also have engaged in creative play, for example, with a prescriptive artist who would have focused her on a new, more hopeful narrative for the future? Who could help her capture the intangible in a metaphorical rather than strictly literal way?
    Receiving custom artwork under any circumstance is a special treat. Positive visualizations of the future by a prescriptive photomontage artist, for example, are even more of a treat. Why? Because personal photos previously steeped in sadness are given an entirely positive spin, so that they can tell a story of redemption that stars the griever in an epic role - a role where they are no longer The Griever. By "treat," I am talking about both a process and product that refreshingly doesn't look or feel like therapy because it is art fashioned by an artist and not the patient. Art conceived to make the griever feel more whole and less raw in their grief ... without hurting them further.
    Konigsberg sums up the "New Pessimism" towards grief counseling when she concludes with these words:
    "It certainly seems time to move beyond our current habit of using untested theories to create unnecessarily lengthy - and agonizing - models for coping with grief that have created more anxiety about the experience instead of alleviating it."
    I couldn't agree more. Bring all options to the table. Just don't forget to reach underneath and pull out that drawer of treats.

    09 January, 2011

    A Story Passed Down and Made into a Photograph

    It hardly seems possible