Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Can I find the words in the lines I am burning??

Over the past few days I, have been given the greatest honor, of my new wood burning career so far. As many of you know I started a web site called The aim of the site is to make realistic wood burned images of pets. It has been a success and I am learning more with each piece.

I apologize up front that I am unable to offer specific details at this point. However, I am sure my meaning will easily be understood. A friend who I have known for a couple of years, has hired me to wood burn an image of a baby boy sitting on a park bench. In speaking with my friend I learned that the baby had recently passed away.

I stopped my friend there and said that I did not want any other information about the circumstances that led to his tragic demise. I did not want my impression of the child to be clouded by extra information. I also let them know that when I am working on a picture I can pick up vibes from the subject. I know this sounds silly, but it's true.

As I sat there with the wood in my hands and ever-present clipboard holding the picture, I began to think about possible words I might want to burn into the back for all time. This led me to wonder if there were any possible combination of letters I could write that would help this baby's family come to terms with the recent loss. To quote Winnie the Pooh "I sat there and thought in the most thoughtful way, I knew how."

My conclusion was fairly simple. I believe that words have a life-cycle just like everything else in our lives. They have the highest impact the first time and then gradually lose their meaning until the fade back into a bowl of alphabet soup like state in our minds. As a writer I found this hard to swallow. It then occurred to me that the intense pain being felt now by the family would never disappear completely, it too would fade over time.

Sometimes, in those rare instances some words can survive throughout the ages. "I have a dream" comes to mind with the opening of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. museum this week in Washington D.C. Other's might be FDR's radio address post December 7, 1941 "This will be a day that lives in infamy," after the attack in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which marked our official entrance into World War II. President Reagan's call to "Tear down this wall" is another such example.

My hope is to offer an image for this family, that speaks the language I am hearing (joy, smiles, sunshine, fresh air, enjoyment with family) while burning this into the wood. And will allow them to hold him close to their hearts for a lifetime. To do this work is not without personal toll, given the knowledge of the death of this child. It is an honor to be called upon to try to provide some level of comfort, however, long or short it might last. In closing, knowing that words do expire most of the time, remember to tell your spouse, family, and even friends that you love them often. A kind word no matter how short lived will be kept alive in the memory of the person who receives it.    

Please follow me on Twitter @RichardLPryorJr!/RichardLPryorJr Please visit My new Custom Pet Portrait wood burning venture.

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