“The Interpreter of Maladies” – Inspired by Reading Book group blog hop

Interpreter of Maladies

Inspired by Reading Book Group. 

April’s selection: “The Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri

I was happy to have a chance to revisit these stories, as I had originally read the book 10 or more years ago. What I was instantly reminded of was their intensity. They are haunting, evocative, heartfelt and at times so very heavy. I was not able to complete the book this go through; both due to time constraints and the need to read something of a different mood. 

It was “When Mr. Pirzada came to dine” that inspired my piece this month. 

“Before eating Mr. Prizada always did a curious thing. He took out a plain silver watch without a band, which he kept in his breast pocket…Unlike the watch on his wrist, the pocket watch, he had explained to me, was set to the local time on Dacca, eleven hours ahead. For the duration of the meal the watch rested on his folded paper napkin on the coffee table. He never seemed to consult it…When I saw it that night, as he wound it and arranged it on the coffee table, an uneasiness possessed me; life, I realized, was being lived in Dacca first… 

The watch and the ritual was so symbolic, even more than a symbol – a direct link to his family so far away. There was love and longing in that ritual. There was hope and lonliness, worry, and despair present as well. I wanted to honor that ritual and create a talisman. 

Ganesh collage

Its not lost on me that Mr Prizada in the story is not Hindu – and I have chosen a Hindu god to go into the talisman. At story’s end he sends the family in the US, a Muslim New Year card – thus giving the reader confirmation as to his religion. But Ganesha is the “Remover of Obstacle” and there were so many obstacles, tangible and intangible, that stood between Mr. Prizada and his family, his future, his homeland. 

Ganesha watch

The piece is created inside an old pocket watch, lined with colorful sari fabric. I sculpted a Ganesh from polymer, and hand painted many layers, many details. There are crystals inlaid into the headdress as well. I am not sure what will happen to this piece – I can see it worn long with a tunic and leggings, but I can also see it as a hand held talisman. 

Ganesha watch 2

Dont let time be an obstacle. Make time for the people and pursuits that are important to you. 

 

Thanks for stopping by, I look forward to your comments, and seeing other’s book group offerings. 

Participants links can be found at Andrew’s blog. 

 

Reclaim. Reincarnate. Recycle.

Britannica 1

Britannica 2

When we were growing up we had an Encyclopedia Britannica. It wasn’t always the best reference then – as it was from 1949! Some things were accurate, others not – but it was a starting point for my siblings and I as we researched our term papers… taking notes longhand, in the old fashioned days before the Internets arrived. (We did not however, have to walk two miles to school, uphill both ways. We aren’t that old.) The set had been my mother’s, and came to us from her. It is a classic – leather bound spines, the delightful thin paper that whispers as you turn the pages… Fantastic diagrams and illustrations, in black and white – naturally!

Britannica 3

Britannica 4

The entire set had been languishing in my parent’s  garage. Not the best environment for books – but many people would have let go of the set by now – some thirty years after it was last used. Not us – we are a family of keepers. You never know when you might need that ________later! And I have now decided I need that set of encyclopedias. ( If you are squeamish at the talk of dissection and destruction of books, don’t read on…) This set – it is a treasure trove. I can select pages and diagrams to use in collage for their content. I have volumes of pages to use as text alone; when the subject matter is not inspirational or pertinent to the piece. 

Britannica 5

I keep finding flowers I pressed years and years ago. Was this special? Or simply the budding artist inspired by the natural world surrounding her? ( Pun intended.)

Britannica 6

That little boy cracked me up. Featured on the “Art Education” page of all ironies. Is he concentrating or just plain grumpy? 

I have torn the first pages out. I am working on a fundraiser for my town of Newark. More to come soon. On other topics – the first session of clay camp has ended. Much teacher work to do to finish up from session one and prepare for session two. Thats on next week’s agenda. For now – it is off to St. Peters Art Show in Lewes DE. Will I see you there? Regardless – have a great holiday weekend!