Tuesday, May 5, 2020

A Second Wind
New Book Project Description

by Jerry Wennstrom

           In the depths of the mystery that our lives are, there is an archetypal essence that is revealed to any of us, should we choose to leave the shores of knowing and live into the mystery of being for the full-length of the journey. The work to be supported here by "New Stories" is what I like to think of as my personal journey’s “Swan Song,” or the late-stage, physical culmination of the personal mythos that has been and IS my life. It is a journey that has crystallized, naturally, as a complete and unique expression in the world. I do not call my journey’s expression “unique” out of any kind of specialness or self-importance but out of the fact that each of us, in our one-on-one relationship with our own mystery, will always produce a completely unique expression. How could it be otherwise?
         The route that my journey has taken has been a circuitous one with unexpected twists and turns along the way. It has been, and is, a journey that has often defied my own reasonable conventions. Mine is a journey that (in the early years) involved leaving the world that I had created for myself as an artist and a seeker, and embracing a world of unknowing, yet to be realized. The leaving involved consciously destroying the large body of art that I had spent fifteen years creating; giving my money and all that I owned away; and choosing to unconditionally trust life to provide all that I needed – physically and spirituality. (Full story in “The Inspired Heart.”) This metaphorical “walk into death” was the most important thing I have ever done with my life and has proven to offer the greatest gifts. It has served as the foundation for fearless living in the face of the many deaths we are faced with in the course of a lifetime. There is a wonderful Zen saying that express the point well:

           “Die while alive and be completely dead, then do what you will -- all will be good.”

          My return to the world ultimately involved moving to Whidbey Island ten years later, eventually marrying and creating a large new body of art from a completely different perspective. It was and is a perspective more detached from the identity as an artist. This detachment leaves one less identified with the creation, as well, and more open to what wants to come through. Detachment tends to eliminate mind, where a deeper level of listening and greater mystery might be invited in without judgment. One becomes more like the servant in a larger process where archetypal images comes through on their own terms, leaving one in awe upon arrival. I often feel like we live in the stir of unmanifest archetypal Beings awaiting recognition and embodiment in whatever form we choose.

          The marriage aspect of the return, might be considered the Grand Finale of the alchemical process, leading to what is called the “Conjunctio.” Conjunctio is often described as those opposing forces within, whose conflicts have kept us lost and in confusion, which, after the long work of bringing them to consciousness and holding the tension opposites generate, are finally resolved as the internal experience of the “Sacred Marriage”. The initial work of the sacred marriage was a long process and happened quietly alone. However, the physical marriage to Marilyn Strong, at age 45 was the celebratory embodiment of that process.

          As further expressions of the return to the world, Parabola Magazine produced and distributed a documentary film about my life entitled, “In the Hands of Alchemy: The Art and Life of Jerry Wennstrom”, and I was asked to write a book about my life by publisher Connie Shaw (Sentient Publications) which became “The Inspired Heart: An Artist’s Journey of Transformation”.
          With the film, book and support of Parabola Magazine, Kalliopeia Foundation, Tides Foundation, benefactors Charlie Hess and Ellen and Bernie Camin, and many friends and contributors, Marilyn and I spent 2 years on the road traveling and offering presentations.  Included in this travel was a tour to several cities with Parabola’s Cinema of the Spirit Film Festival where we did film showings, talks and music. I also did film presentations, slide shows and lectures for several years running at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

          Another aspect of our work that I must mention it is a significant part of what we do and what others have supported as our work together for the last 30-plus years. We keep our hearts and lives open to those who want or feel the need to come here and many have come over the years. Some come to see the art and most come because their lives are in a difficult transitional place and they come seeking help and understanding. Often those who come have read my book or seen the documentary film and identify with the larger collective transition expressed in them. Marilyn and I have and maintain private retreat arrangements here for people to come and stay with us. Some who come are challenging personalities and some are a complete gift and we remain determined to stay open to all.
          The last piece and full expression of the above-mentioned “return” involves my new book project supported by the good graces of Charlie Hess and New Stories. The book is entitled, “A Second Wind: Art Resurrected” with photographs by architect and photographer,  Andrew van Leeuwen and foreword by author, Christopher Bache. It mostly represents the “second wind” of creation after destroying my previous body of work in 1979 and picking it up again 15 years later. I call this project my “swan song” because it is a song I have lived, note by note. This new book feels to me like a coming together of the notes in a final song, calling out to be sung. It is a song to honor the mysterious nature of the journey, and it is a song that I have asked other people to help me sing.

          I have been writing and developing this book for over a year. The basic idea is for the book is for it to be a large coffee table-size book with high quality pictures of my art, art-related healing stories and creative responses to the art by over 60 friends, associates and colleagues. The creative responses are by artists, poets, authors, spiritual leaders, a radio personality, film and video artists, a butoh dancer, a musician and many others.

 Included in the new book, A Second Wind 
 are creative responses to 
Jerry Wennstrom’s art by:
Judith Adams -------- http://www.judithadamspoetry.com/
Lama Tsultrim Allione -- https://tinyurl.com/yyocblp7
Deloris Tarzan-Ament --- https://tinyurl.com/yy2a7eap
Christopher Bache ------- https://tinyurl.com/yyzd98kx
Whitney and Steve Boe - http://www.mythmovie.net
Jodi Cable  ----------------- https://tinyurl.com/y4c536mh  
Coel Cable ----------------- https://tinyurl.com/ycx4wlcf
Ann Cahill ----------------- https://tinyurl.com/ycx4wlcf
Deborah Koff-Chapin ---- https://touchdrawing.com/
Nanda Currant ------------ ttps://tinyurl.com/y2cb3xmjv
Diane Divelbess ---------- www.divelbessart.com
Claire Dunne -------------- https://tinyurl.com/y4rjnpfk
Johanna Engman ---------- A Budding Young Artist
Corwin Fergus ------------ www.corwinfergus.com
Susan McKeown ---------- https://tinyurl.com/y4qlgelv
Maureen Momo Freehill- -www.butopia.net
Tim Gallaher -------------- https://tinyurl.com/y4d5hgzs
Dianne Grob --------------- https://tinyurl.com/y4l7m4bw
Alison Heins --------------- Environmentalist
Lucinda Herring ---------- www.lucindaherring.com
Laurence Hillman -------- www.laurencehillman.com
Vi Hilbert ------------------ https://tinyurl.com/y36afez3
Vivienne Hull ------------- https://tinyurl.com/ycybgusu  
Dana Crowley Jack ------- https://tinyurl.com/y6faf63e
Sandra Jarvis -------------- https://tinyurl.com/y3efpxjp
Jerry Katz -----------------  https://tinyurl.com/y4fbqqwj
Joe Kulin ------------------- https://tinyurl.com/yxvbk8vx
Barry Leibman ------------ https://tinyurl.com/yaa4bbpp
Alice Matzkin ------------- http://www.matzkinstudio.com/
Richard Matzkin ---------- http://www.matzkinstudio.com/
Thomas Moore ------------ https://tinyurl.com/y4zqhscs
Ralph Metzner ------------ https://tinyurl.com/yyfjjbs8
Ana Mozol ------------ https://www.dreamworktheatre.com/
Carolyn North ------------ https://carolynnorthbooks.com/
Parabola Magazine ------ https://parabola.org/
Judi Nyerges -------------- https://tinyurl.com/y5gorfkq
David Nyquist ------------ http://www.davidnyquist.com/
David Ossman ----------- https://tinyurl.com/yy3vlztu
Vicki Robin---------------- https://vickirobin.com/
Frank Rose ---------------- https://tinyurl.com/yc8fu96g
Steven Mud Roues ----- https://tinyurl.com/ydxt4v2h
Nancy Rumbel ------------ https://nancyrumbel.com/
Robin Sierra --------------- http://robinsierra.com/
Laura Simms -------------- http://www.laurasimms.com/
Pam Schell ----------------- https://tinyurl.com/y2p83peo
Anthony Schnitzmeier - https://tinyurl.com/y62ntpuz
Bonnie Segelman --------- Elf in the forest.
Jodi Starcevich --------- https://tinyurl.com/y9o9wd27
Phillip Stringer –------- Witnessed to Studio Explosion
Marilyn Strong --------- https://tinyurl.com/ybn9vryq 
Joni Takanikos ------------ https://tinyurl.com/y2vr2r39
Andrew van Leeuwen- https://tinyurl.com/y7qary7z
David Whyte -------------- https://www.davidwhyte.com/
Justine Willis Toms ------- https://newdimensions.org/
Susan Van Etten ----------- https://tinyurl.com/y5gorfkq
Meaghan Lee Wright ----- https://tinyurl.com/y25ackpr
Annie Zalezak ---------- http://www.vibrantuniverse.com/
Alex Zondro---------------- https://tinyurl.com/y74eyf8f