Social and Political Commentary

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Creating a collage

... Past, present and future

by Carol Nelson

My life is a collage, and so is yours. So many puzzle pieces, so many connections, all nudging each other. No part lost, even if it's not understood, or remembered.

I tried to demonstrate this visually, for myself, first by using a circle .. a pie. I made wedges representing the years I spent as a child, as a wife, mother, lover. I took into account the nice slice that I hope is left to me, empty and waiting for me to fill.

Then, I actually began a collage of my life. It has taken many years, bit by bit, to add photographs and odds and ends, gluing one at a time to a large poster- size background. I enjoy looking at it as a whole, and as a collection of moments which create the whole .. so far.

Working on my collage one day, I was listening to Bob Dylan's CD, "Unplugged" and heard an old, sad Civil War song "John Brown", which is not really so much about poor John, as it is about his mother. She is proud of her son and sees him off to war, telling him to "obey his captains so she can hang his medals on the wall." When John comes home he is faceless and unrecognizable, even by his mother.

What was she thinking? What are any of us thinking?


During the Viet Nam war I had three sons, all too young to go to war. I have no photographs in my collage of sons in uniform, and no medals on my wall. But now there are grandsons, and again there is war. Again and again, there is war.

Note: 1st photo:= War medals from Viet Nam  58,000 American dead, 3,200,000 Vietnamese dead.
2nd photo:= This is not John Brown but he is one of the Civil war wounded. There are over 2,000 American soldiers dead and 15,220 wounded in the Iraq war so far.
Source: TV news

November 4, 2005


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