They're right. It's an odd little word. Not one that passes my lips very often. I would never tell someone to "compose" themself, for instance, or when I write a poem, I never think of myself as "composing" it. Friends who write songs are song-writers, to my mind. When I put images together for a collage, that's probably the time I'm most likely to allow the word "composition" to enter my mind.
That makes it sound as though it's almost a forbidden word. That's not it. But it is a word which carries a weight of old, old associations and memories. When I was young, we didn't write "essays" or "papers" at school. We wrote compositions. In English and Irish. By the time I came to secondary school, they were called Essays, and on Sunday nights, I'd frequently find myself at the kitchen table, rushing to put together something in English, something in Irish, and something in French, too. And then, I'd think of them as compositions again.
Without turning to my dictionary (Yet! - I'm itching to, but will hold off until I've finished writing this piece!) I think the word "compose" means to bring elements together and to create one singular unit of them. The elements might be musical notes, thoughts and ideas, or pieces of a picture. The elements become a "compostition" then, and that's the aim. When I wrote school essays, I'd try to include a few aspects of the theme, and draw them together with some wonderful unifying thought. It usually worked.
Looked at the dictionary. Yes, among the definitions, there's something close enough to mine: To form (something) by putting it together.
This afternoon, some of my friends will join me here at home to make some SoulCollage® cards. We will gather images from magazines, photos, advertising flyers, each of us creating a bundle of pages which have called to them for known ("Oh... that looks like how I feel when I'm on holiday / mad as hell / thinking about what I have to do !") or mysterious ("That picture has a .... I don't know... a quality... an atmosphere... an aura that attracts/repels me... do I want to pull it?...") When we have a bundle of image gathered, we will spread out our images, move them around, moodle with them, try various combinations of images, consider how one would look as background to a variety of other images, and gradually the composition will begin to come into focus, and we will reach for scissors, carefully snipping around foreground images, cutting background pages to the size of the card on which we will be making our collage. As the cutting proceeds, the images are tried out, checked in relation to one another... Other elements might be sought out. ...
As we work, a quiet concentration will descend on the group. There may be murmurs and occasional questions: "Anyone seen the whale I cut out? Where was that gold cup again?... Can I borrow that other scissors? ... " Time will slip by and then, one by one, we will begin to sit back, surveying the card we've been working on, holding it at arm's length, allowing the others to see what magic has taken place in the juxtaposition of a variety of disparate images. Some of the initial images will have been discarded. Some will go into (growing) piles of pictures we want to use sometime in the future - when the "right" image presents itself to join the first to represent some aspect of the self, some energy that is felt deeply, some archetype that has meaning in the life of the SoulCollage artist.
These "compositions" become precious talismans to us. Over the past 4 years and more, I've made more than 100. I know a woman who has only made 2, but those 2 sit on her bedside table, precious to her, because they are a part of herself. When my sister began to make her cards, she carried them everywhere with her, as you might a special journal or diary.
When I found the SoulCollage process and began to make these cards, I did not imagine it would become such an important part of my life, but it has become a way in which I get to know myself, to share parts of myself with others. My cards remind me of what is important to me; they offer advice and perspective. When I'm wondering what course of action to take about something, I might pull 3 or 4 cards from my deck, and consider how they relate to my question. I've usually found affirming and reassuring answers in my "reading" of the cards.
When I began to write today, I did not mean to write a "composition" on the subject of SoulCollage® ! But it seems to fit, so I offer it to those of you who are curious. If you'd like to know more about the process, check out the SoulCollage website of Seena Frost, originator of the process, (where you will see 4 cards chosen randomly for you, and a large gallery of cards) or Kaleidosoul, a resource site run by a MA facilitator and trainer. I blog occasionally about my cards and process at SoulFragments. If you have questions... I'd be glad to answer them!
Find other Sunday Scribblings on "Compose" HERE.
Labels: SoulCollage, Sunday Scribbling.