Jeanne Chambers and Rhonda Patzia were students together in the IMA, both in the Transformative Language Arts concentration. While Jeanne focused on storytelling, story catching, autoethnography and ethics, Rhonda’s study bridged TLA and embodiment studies, combining photography and creative writing (by herself and women she photographed naked) to explore practices for living as a body. This focus was particularly poignant since Rhonda had Multiple Sclerosis, which had, for several years, blinded her and halted her photography career. Back behind a camera again, she took such moving and beautiful photos of women in IMA (mostly students but also a few faculty) that affected the lives of those she photographed deeply.
In Jeanne Chambers’ new blog post, she writes of just this gift she received from Rhonda, and how joyous, to her surprise, she found posting naked in the snow to be. Jeanne is also partnering with Rhonda now to help Rhonda get her writings out into the world more widely, even more urgent now that Rhonda is living in a long-term care facility (after spending some time at a hospice) due to the advancement of her MS. As she writes on her Caringbridge site, “Educated guess indicates that I will die sooner rather than later, but I’m still involved in projects and friendships which keep me vital.”
In her journal, Rhonda is sharing her writing that came out of and continues to come out her Goddard experience, with her new entry posted on “Embracing the Erotic.” And on Jeanne’s blog, The Barefoot Heart, she writes about not only what she learned from Rhonda’s embrace of the erotic (as per Audre Lorde’s definition of the erotic as the life force) but of their new partnership. Read both posts to hear more about life and living, death and dying, and those rare moments of sitting naked on the moss, with “the click of her camera providing us background music” (Jeanne’s words). Click on the start of her words below to read the whole exuberant post.