Stale Hope

Jill Hollis is one of the most inspirational people I know. Her posts at the Altered blog are written with such amazing transparency and vulnerability. I sometime cannot read what she writes without crying.. Jill is so brutally honest about her struggles dealing with the impacts of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) on her life and the life of her family.. she inspires me and challenges me to press on in faith during the hard times. So it is with great joy that I am sharing the art and writing of her daughter Megan.. she is definitely her mother's child.

“stale hope”

mom asked me to write a little about what this piece means/ what it's about/ where it came from in my brain. so i'll try my best. i use art as extreme catharsis and it's more important that i get a bit of the intended emotion out of my body and into a visual form than it is for the viewer to understand the exact thought and heart process i went through during the visual form's creation.

that being said, this piece is about the compartmentalization of emotional pain. each of the boxes represents the pain that i've tried to tuck away neatly into the corners of my brain. but, pain is never neat and tidy, regardless of how much you will it to be so. i started out with all white materials: wipes, packaging materials, dental floss and others—to demonstrate just how hard i tried to keep the pain at bay and sterile from infecting the rest of my life. all of those materials relate back to mom in ways that i understand and i know are important. each box is actually an enclosed pocket (with the exception of the second column from the right; those pockets open in the middle), and inside each pocket is a packet of coffee grinds. the coffee is the pain. the staining is the pain seeping through.

most of the work i do deals with dealing with mom dying—but not in a completely literal way. she's been itching to post a picture of what i do, and when i gave her permission to post the above photo, she was speechless, for just a moment. which has probably only happened 3 times in her life.

anyway, to reiterate: i've explained what the piece is about to me, and why i made it. my only hope is that each viewer has an emotional response on some level to what he or she sees.


  1. Bob,
    I can't thank you enough for leading me to Jill's blog.

    Megan's explanation of her art to some extent describes what my life has been too, bordering off areas of pain in little packets and then having them seep over. To see that visually is really helpful to me.

    My response to Megan and her family is to pray for them. That's what I'm doing now and will continue to do.

  2. This is an amazing visual. Two remarkable women of Faith.

  3. i know i'm very late in saying this, but thank you kansas bob! i appreciate so much that you wanted to share my art. and thank you for caring my mom... your comments on her blog always mean a lot to her.

  4. You are welcome Megan! You and your mom are such a blessing. I love reading at both of your places.


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