In a new ongoing play project, I'm inquiring into grief, and more specifically, how we talk to children about grief. As part of this research, I'm reaching out to select individuals to discuss their thoughts and feelings surrounding this topic. 10 days ago, I had the pleasure of talking with the esteemed artist, yogi and Thai massage practitioner Jodeen Revere about her experiences on grief, loss and longing. As I continue contacting people for these conversations, I'd be honored to hear from people I'm not picking out directly.
I realize that this subject is weighted, difficult and deeply personal. For this reason, unlike my 100 Love Memories Play Project, my aim is not to gather as many people's memories as possible, but on having genuine and meaningful dialogue with a few handfuls of people, tops. I don't plan to start a Facebook or tumblr page requesting your stories. Jodeen allowed me to record her interview (and since then I've been going through it, picking out moments and phrasings that may prove especially useful as I continue building the play), but at this point it's not something I plan to share publicly, even anonymously. If we talk, I will ask for permission to record, but we don't have to do that.
This investigation is much less about mining specific details for a play than was my last big project public question ("What's your love memory?"). Moreso, this is about discovering the various threads in the vast tapestry that makes up the many physical sensations, thoughts, beliefs, ideas, emotions, memories, anecdotes and attitudes surrounding grief.
I'm conducting separate grief research outside of these talks, as well as other examinations into a particular geographic habitat and zoological makeup (more on that later), and story building that is somewhat related to this study, but also independent from it. Anything you want to share will be honored and cherished, and will add to that fabric.
This word "grief" can be daunting and heavy. You may be wondering, "Even if I wanted to share something with you about my experiences, where would I start?" For this reason, I decided to post the questions I originally wrote out for my conversation with Jodeen. I didn't use all these questions with her. More came up that aren't on this list. If we set up a time to talk, I may not use them all with you, and more could arise. However, this way you can see where we might go in this dialogic journey.
If you want to share your thoughts, you can contact me to set up an in-person, phone or Skype interview, or you can choose one or more of these questions, email me your answer(s), or tell me in person. No pressure. Just if you're interested, and want to share.
What do you know about grief? About longing? About loss?
How have you experienced grief?
When was the last time? When was the first time?
Where did it take you (in your body, in your mind, in a physical location...)
How did you deal with that?
How would you talk about these experiences with a child? A small child?
Have you ever had to do that--talk about/explain grief/reasons to grieve to a child? When? What were the circumstances? How did that conversation go?
How did they react? And then what happened?
Have you ever seen animals experience grief? What did that look like?
Why is grief important?
Why is it important to talk to children about grief?
What else do you want to tell me about grief?
Process notes on a work in progress. This page serves to invite you into the way I work, with intermittent posts to show you the hows and whys on the whats I make.