art of healing

everybody's doing it.

it's in, it's fun, it's great for teaching social media or sizing up a site. but until i saw Mad's stark and poignant Wordle a couple of weeks ago on the topic her February miscarriage, i hadn't considered that the novelty site might also serve as a tool for art therapy of a sort; that it could offer a mirror reflecting one's own words and sorrow and thought processes back to oneself, reconfigured.

the healing process doesn't really end, i don't think.  the pain becomes less immediate.  the desire to connect to it fades.  but, for me, with peace has come a curiosity about meaning, an urge to explore - from outside the raw wound that is personal narrative - what it means to live through loss and come through the looking glass.

so i entered text from my own posts here into Wordle, and stepped back, imagining myself perched on a bench in a wide, minimalist gallery, taking in the conglomeration of words and connections as if they'd sprung from some elsewhere, as if the blood they spoke of was foreign to me. there is healing in distance, my grandmother always told me. there is insight, i thought, maybe, to be found in this bird's eye view that brings my words back to me jumbled and reorganized, full of acrostic mystery.  

i cast my tea leaves and hit "create," and time, and think, and baby and grief and wanted all leapt from the page, not entirely unexpected but still surprising in their relative size and relational combinations.  in Wordle, the frequency of words in the base text impacts what size those words show up as in the created piece.   time made me nod.  think made me laugh.  i overthink everything, always have, but didn't realize the theme had come through so dramatically in writing.   the left-hand side conjunction of still, think and back juxtaposed with the alternate combination of still, go and back - with go slightly smaller, like a longing finally discarded - made me wistful...for the longest time, in my sorrow, i wished myself back to the time when my son was alive.  in moving beyond that place of wishing, i have left something behind forever.  but both realities - the one in which i think back and the one in which i would go back if i could - are present in the Wordle, roads diverged only by one word.  elsewhere, tiny wanted baby and peace wrong and healed though never exactly enough and the way lost fits inside time all catch my eye, my breath.  these are things never quite articulated aloud, yet there they are, alive on the screen.  seeing them is like looking through an old photo album, a former life flooding back in the recognition.




what do you see?  have you tried one of these for yourself?  is this art for you, or just a novelty gag?   what place has art - of any kind, writing included - had in your own grieving and healing process?