- Art, Aging and Legacies
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Lili Artel wrote to Clare:
I need to be paired with another writer. I'm 92 years old, have, since 2000, published a novel, a memoir and am currently working up a book, a "bakers' dozen" of personal essays. I'm also continuing to write poetry—many on the subject of being old and the prospect of death—but I've retained my sense of humor and I leaven my poems with some lightness. Of course, Bridges writers are feminists, but I think we could manage to understand each other better if we were closer in age or experience: I'm a New York leftist of the 1930's-40's. I'm also a visual artist, a fiber sculptor, which I started doing in my 50s with no encouragement. It's a wonderful idea and I would be proud to be a participant.
Rachael Freed wrote to Clare:
Judith Plaskow's words in Standing Again at Sinai were the encouragement and support I needed to translate the ancient ethical will into a contemporary guide for women: to articulate and preserve their wisdom, blessings and love, in my book, Women's Lives, Women's Legacies. I would love to have a conversation about how women have and continue to need to find creative ways to reduce our "otherness" and contribute to and participate in 21st century Judaism. I am also interested in a "real" conversation about aging, which is central to my upcoming [End Page 104] book: Harvesting the Wisdom of our Lives: A Legacy Guide for Seniors and their Families (in research & gathering phase, serious writing come spring).
January 8, 2011
I'm your conversation partner, and what I'm most interested in sharing about is aging—something real and honest. I know you have 20 years more experience than I; I am 72. I am still involved with purposeful work, because it is my passion, and because it is still necessary for me to earn money. I invite you to visit my website [www.life-legacies.com] to get a quick idea of my work, which is about inspiring people to write their legacies. The work is based on the ethical will, which comes out of our patriarchal tradition. About 15 years ago I was called to transform it into a healing tool for women. That's what I've been doing ever since.
I am a grandmother of seven—all unique and the loves of my life. They come from my two children; all of us live in the Minneapolis metropolitan area, so I am fortunate to be surrounded by family.
But family was never enough for me, and still isn't. My work is another avenue to make a contribution. About 15 years ago, I began to attend Torah Study weekly at my Reform Temple, and it has led me to be more interested in the intellectual and spiritual aspects of Judaism. Prior to that, I would have called myself a social action cultural Jew.
I am greatly blessed with good health, so 72 doesn't " feel" old, but I have some physical limitations that remind me that time is passing. These include changes in my eyes, wrinkles, greying hair, sagging skin, and a shape that is clearly not youthful. Issues about approaching death, even talking about mortality, though not socially popular, are often most interesting to me. My own mortality addresses me even when I am unaware of it. That I don't "get" my children's ways of life, their taste in films and music, and I don't want to, are reminders that I am aging, and that the separations between the generations are clearer all the time.
Hoping this will interest you enough to want to share some with me, and our conversation will have begun. I am very interested in you, and would appreciate you sharing your creative work too.
January 10, 2011
Thanks, partner, for taking the initiative in getting in touch with me with background about yourself. While I don't work in the sense that...