Thursday, April 8, 2010

Welcome to my brain.

OK. Final day discounts on our thoughts out here on this lap of the A-Way highway.

Where are you guys? Is anyone out there? Traveling our solitary yet parallel paths, touching base, sharing insights, asking questions, toasting marshmallows? I could use a good marshmallow. I’m beginning to feel like the post is just that -- an outpost for random thoughts. OK, that’s really okay, too.

By the way, the block at the top of this post is my dream scheme for an exhibit on mental illness, one of several projects I’m working on at the Detroit Science Center. With the request to develop a 2500 square-foot traveling exhibit embracing a handful of newly conceived exhibits - and only one actually funded by the American Psychiatric Association -- I sat down at a Starbucks on a January evening and sketched this: a 50‘x50 foot maze, (I like simple arithmetic). An obvious metaphor, the maze provides a walk-and-talk-about various states of the mind/brain, in sickness and in health.

The exhibit is called BrainStorm! The Science and Stigma of Mental Illness (working title). Alice in Wonderland-like, it opens not with a rabbit hole, but a mirror maze gallery, themed the Search for Self. Six additional galleries, each with similarly cute titles, explore brain function, order and disorder, all leading to an Amazing Brain, walk-thru sculpture. Literally smoke and mirrors, theatrical lighting and sound. It’s very heady (yes, pun intended) to be working with th the University of Michigan Depression Center and board members of the American Psychiatric Association, and to have evoked the enthusiasm of foundations. . . but we’re still out there in the desert with this. I love this project with all my heart. To see it to completion will take $3 million as well as the support, common vision, timing, luck, compliance, negotiation, creative design, problem-solving ability, wiring, carpentry, artistry, heart and soul and wakeful nights and good humor of -- oh, about 100 people. Like threading 100 strands through a needle.

Faith. It takes faith.

Sitting on the “ledge of authenticity” -- in Julia Cameron’s words -- the “dragon” (her metaphor for the Artist in Search of Self ) -- can “see” into the distance . . . “storms rolling in from afar” -- (after all, it’s spring) -- “travelers on their way from a great distance.”

Am I “serene in the knowledge” of the Way? Hell, no way. I’m restless as ever to move along. As for the floorplan in my Brain? The exhibit scheme that lives in my head can collapse at any moment, a house of cards. . . or come to life. Ahh, the amazement and the mystery of the work we do.



  1. We're here. We're here. I've already had emails from Tuckie requesting that I not take the blog down. Always, we must remind ourselves that silence is a response and not necessarily an unfavorable one. Fascinated by the Brain Storm. I have just read Women, Food & God which I highly recommend for me, but not for everybody, I'm sure. And this connects how? At how little we know our own brains and how little we own our own thoughts. So, Brain away, Vivian! And I will conjure funding using my Zuma Voodoll. Not with pins but with incantations. Thursday on! Annie

  2. Silence is indeed a response. Hence mystery. Creativity. And faith.

    So ok. I'll Brain Away. And you Incant Away. And together we'll . . . uh, blog away in respectiful silence.

    And what's with Women, Food & God. And why not recommend?

  3. This is what's with WF&G: It is a compendium of every single spiritual, philosophical and psychological practice I've ever encountered. She quotes all my most favorite people. All my favorite books. So the book fits me like an old shoe. Reaches me exactly where I am. But my feet, as it were, are a little bit of a freak show. So, I hesitate to recommend my old shoe to the world at large. That's all. The freaky foot metaphor invades the blogosphere. What next???