Ever since my very first exposure to it in 1979 as part of a Smithsonian Institution art-history seminar, one of my favorite art venues in Washington, DC, has been the venerable Phillips Collection, a few blocks east and perhaps a block south of the DuPont Circle DC Metro stop.
The Phillips Collection
There are many reasons for my respect and enthusiasm for “the Phillips,” but certainly one of the most salient reasons for my “evangelical” work on behalf of the Collection is that the Phillips houses Pierre Auguste Renoir’s great Luncheon of the Boating Party (hereafter Luncheon). (I refuse to call it, as some critics do, Boatman’s Lunch. Computers are expensive and I would rather not throw up on mine.) Aside from the sheer beauty of the painting itself, I enjoy watching others’
Responding artfully is a trauma informed care practice as it takes you out of your wordy brain and into other parts of your knowledge or knowing process. Often we privilege language over other ways of knowing. J Mase III, in his latest book, And Then I Got Fired: One Transqueer’s Reflections on Grief, Unemployment & Inappropriate Jokes About Death, through the use of language, weaves together other responses such as emotion, imagination, and your felt senses. I know, it's hard to imagine how a book which is necessarily immersed in language can do that, but it does! And here is how:
Mase shares his life authentically through prose and poetry. Poetry connects to imagination, one of the ways of knowing.Mase invites the reader to explore their own emotions. Emotion is a way of knowing
Yes. You read that right. I am writing this on April 15th in response to a sacred response to taxes that I found written by Diana Butler Bass on Twitter. I am sharing it here:
She prays as she mails her taxes. (Prayer below). I wonder what our world would be like if we approached even taxes as a sacred response?
Thank you, God, that we live in a nation wise enough to understand that when we share goods we create more good, especially for the poor, those suffering, and those in need. Multiply this tax payment so hungry people will be fed, prisoners will be treated justly, students educated, our parks and natural resources cared for.Lift my heart toward gratitude today. That my family can contribute to the good of this land. That we have a small part in making a great country. Forgive...