LETISIA CRUZ & HEATHER LANG
Grief influences us in profound and prevalent ways and, perhaps more so than any other emotion, it requires us to create. Loss, be it the death of a loved one or the end of a relationship, is an end. Processing the grief that accompanies such a loss is complicated, and we are often forced to find ways to compartmentalize. At times, it can feel as if a natural disaster is occurring within us—a tidal wave of emotion is flooding our senses. In fact, increased activity occurs along a broad network of neurons affecting not only our memory and perception, but also our heartbeat, our lungs, our digestive system and our nervous system. The result is often chronic sadness, a constant preoccupation with death, and perhaps the most cited, depression.
We intuitively know that in order for something within us to once again flourish, we must find a way to create. Grief requires art, and art inspired by grief is widespread. Many of us seek out art as a means of coping. We crawl through museums and devour volumes of poetry. Because there is a certain comfort in discovering a poem or a painting that speaks directly to our personal grief. It says: someone has been here before.
Shared grief is, if only slightly, a lesser burden. Sometimes simply knowing that someone was here before is enough to inspire us. For a moment, we pause knowing that someone else has experienced the weight of our burden. Suddenly, though perhaps only momentarily, we see beauty once more.
Paola Tavoletti’s painting speaks to us of loss. The image of a body secluded in a corner covering her face immediately draws us in. Perhaps whether we want to sit beside her or take her hand in comfort depends on where we currently stand in terms of our own relationship with grief.
Judith Lloyd’s poem captures the essence of loss and death—the image of a bird, “red-breasted” like a beating heart, flusters skyward like the spirit leaving the body. And we feel the impact instantly, even before we hear it—“the gunshot down the alleyway.”
Grief is a gunshot to the heart.
ISSUE 6 of Petite Hound Press explores grief and the profound impact it has on our lives, its influence on the art we create, and ultimately, the transformation it stirs within us.
POET Judith Lloyd is an artist, writer, and monologist who studied in the Iowa Writers' Workshop as an undergraduate. She currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her first publication, Read It Back was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2014.
ARTIST Paola Tavoletti was born and lives in Rome, Italy. She is an illustrator, painter, and writer. She has worked for many years as an art director and illustrator in advertising. Her illustrations are often surrealistic ones, with a richness in details and decorations. Her paintings are more abstract; they have been shown in Italy and France and are in collections in Italy and Saudi Arabia. She currently paints, draws, writes in both Italian and English, and goes hiking in the Alps with a companion as crazy as she is. Find more about her at >>www.paolatavoletti.com<<