A fresh look

I'm trying out the new "Dynamic views" template for my blog. It looks a bit fresher. We'll see how it goes. Let me know if there are problems.

I've been back from the workshop with Kerr in Bay St. Louis for a week. It seems like longer. The workshop was very productive. I've got probably 10 pieces started and the time there helped me develop some ideas. It also gave me food for thought.

Workshops! Although I tell myself I'm going off to do this work with goals but no expectations, it seems that afterword  I always ask myself it the experience lived up to my expectations. They never do. That's not because the experience isn't good. It's because expectations are formed in a vacuum with little or no connection to the people, place, and "space" in which the actual experience will happen. Gosh, that sounds terribly abstract. I'm struggling to say that regardless of what I expected, I got what I got, and it was good.

Much to my surprise I was deeply affected by Bay St. Louis and the people that I met there. The town and surrounding region were devastated by the 30-foot tidal surge that accompanied hurricane Katrina in late August 2005. People died, the town was all by wiped from the map, and the suffering and loss were overshadowed by the disaster in New Orleans. It's more than I can imagine. What little we saw on TV and in print could never give a sense of scale of the thing.

The Bay is coming back, but even almost 7 years of work there is still plenty of physical evidence that something tremendously destructive happened there. It's was hard not to talk about the storm and what followed, but I felt guilty mentioning it. On one hand, it's like failing to acknowledge the 500 pound guerilla in the room; one the other it's felt like asking someone to relive their hurt and loss. That said, I heard amazing stories from strong, creative, and vital people about their survival, their love of the place and each other, and their hard work to restore their community. I'm reading Ellis Anderson's first person account of the storm and the events that followed. I highly recommend, "Under surge, Under siege: The Odyssey of Bay St. Louis and Katrina." I'm only 75% of the way through it, but it's outstanding.

I don't know if or when I will get back the Bay, but I hope I do, and I hope it will be sooner rather than later.