Image by Christin Call

Image by Christin Call

A figurine like the Venus of Willendorf but in her original state, not yet pockmarked by thousands of years of rock abrasions and surrounding decay.  Crease of her pelvic girdle smoothly and deliberately pointing to her sex.  Provocative, yes, for the purposes of my necessary shrine, the harnessing of a lion.  Lady of the Girlboss, small chant, small mouthing.  Lady of the Girlboss, grant me badassness. 

To be capable of asking.  To be capable of receiving.  There are so many rooms in my house.  Windows, doors nailed shut.  Flinging open now, open to the passage of the wind—a Zephyr to clear through, like a flute.

Almost twice as likely to kill ourselves. (Karolinska Institute, 2012, published in Journal of Psychiatric Research)  The reality for you and me, creative people.  Of course, you are sensitive.  Your gift attunes you and cripples you.  And the world says no, seems to say no, feels like an always no.  Just pull up your bootstraps and jiggidy-jig to the American dream, the beehive brain says, and ignore reality—even Bill Gates once holing up with his wealthy parents, pregnant with Microsoft.

Realize here the hurricane devastation of mental illness, the ravaging of identity, self-worth, even simple concentration to chew and swallow.  Then tear out all safety nets—you too, would be homeless (National Institute of Health)/ If you were sick and received care.  If you were heartbroken and found shelter.  If you lost your job but received support.  If you coped dangerously but found help.  Shift the grate through which to filter this shame of asking.

Lewis Hyde says you have already received a gift.  Like the German craftsman shaping leather in his humble hut.  And what you receive must be re-gifted.  But first filament through which energy transfers.  The elves who transform the cut pieces into extravagant shoes!

David Lynch said in an interview once how Van Gogh was not a genius because of his mental suffering, but in spite of it.  There is no cause and effect but a mind waylaid with a predisposition and art the balancing of the scales.  Louise Bourgeois says, Art is restoration: the idea is to repair the damages that are inflicted in life, to make something that is fragmented—which is what fear and anxiety do to a person—into something whole.

This is an account of a body asking itself to be shelter.  For the skin to clothe, the muscles and fascia to house, the skeleton to buttress.  And a body asking for the filament.  From others, community.  A body ready to pour out its gift.


Christin Call is an assemblage artist and Co-artistic Director of Coriolis Dance.  She is writing a series of essays “What is Community” for STANCE as a recipient of Velocity Dance Center’s Creative Residency Program.  Her multi-disciplinary work What is Home an Obscure Kingdom an Opera Buffa It’s You Always You will be presented by Northwest Film Forum in July 2018.

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