I love when friends send me interesting articles and posts–not just everything that crosses their computer and gets forwarded to scores of email groups, but those things that really have to do with the issues I’ve been pondering. Right now, that usually has to do with my book, THE WOMAN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH, which by the way, is now available in Kindle format.
So thank you Jane for sending me the link to The Butterfly Hunter by Klea Mc Kenna. This is the story of an exhibition of Mc Kenna’s father’s butterfly collection (after his death). In describing this collection, the author really ponders the question of preservation, which lead me to the issue of preserving our family legacy. Her decision was to give away every image of these butterflies in her father’s collection to the gallery visitors. She says:
“Perhaps this gesture of dispersal can be a form of preservation, one that lifts the weight off of one person and trusts in the collective.”
This resonated with me in two ways. First, I felt that my family story, and particularly my mother’s story, was toxic as it remained frozen in silence. I carried a vision that my mother was never playful. My brother saw her as selfish. My uncle called her artificial and arrogant. But when I learned her true story, and listened with my heart, I understood the circumstances that made her become guarded, rigid, anxious. I also saw the passion that once informed her life, and understood the choices she had to make to survive. I appreciated her. I loved her. I knew her as more whole.
Now my family history is a living legacy, not a fixed story. It teaches me. It touches others. I send it out to “visitors” of my gallery, the readers, to use it to enliven their own lives.
What we keep in silence and omission remains frozen. When we share we risk that others will see through their own eyes, but perhaps by giving away, we breathe new life into our experiences. Just some food for thought.