The Spaces Between

Jac Saorsa, Artist-Residence// Recent health problems have weakened me a little … sapped my energy and left me feeling somewhat detached from the reality I have been living in. But the new reality, the different way of understanding myself has forced me, gently, to consider my own mortality from a deeply personal perspective. Two ways…

Life, Death and Grief in the Garden: Some Literary Roots

Avril Tynan // In Plant Dreaming Deep, May Sarton’s journal of her life in rural New Hampshire, the author describes her decision to buy a house in the USA following the deaths of her parents. The home(s) she once knew in Europe—in England, France, Belgium and Switzerland—no longer felt like home and, in the marriage…

Grief and the Medical Humanities

Diana Novaceanu // The ultimate goal of all art is relief from suffering and the rising above it. (Gustav Mahler)  One sunny day, towards the end of March, I suffered the loss of someone very dear to me. It had not been unexpected; I had the privilege to say good-bye in person. Everything medically possible…

Prosody

Nitya Rajeshuni // “I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”1 — Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need…

He says he’s never been to Costa Rica …

Dr Jac Saorsa, Artist-in-Residence// ‘I tell him all about Cyprus, and Lisbon, and Costa Rica … I tell him about the small town on the Caribbean coast called Puerto Viejo, where the jungle meets the sea with only a dirt road and a beach of pure black carbon sand in between … He says he’s…

Let’s Play a Game: Imagination in a Narrative Medicine Workshop

Avril Tynan // In 2010, Martha C. Nussbaum published Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, a manifesto on the importance of arts and humanities education for social and political life. The role of critical thinking in global education policies is being undermined, she argues, by an emphasis on rote learning and the promotion…

My Anxious Brain Inspires Me

Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo // “A writer….must believe that whatever happens to him is an instrument…This is even stronger in the case of the artist that happens, including humiliations. embarrassments, misfortunes, all has been given like clay, like material for one’s art.” -Jorge Luis Borges This story offers a snapshot into my head to provide a humanistic…

Illness and Creativity: Time is of the Essence

Rosa Geoghegan // Following their diagnoses with the plagues of their respective societies and milieux, tuberculosis and AIDS, the 19th-century English poet John Keats and the 20th-century French writer Hervé Guibert confronted in their writing their imminent deaths and limited time. There was no mystery as to the outcome of their suffering; Keats, a nurse…