Featured Artist - Nancy Howe

Page 3


In the fall of 1996 I started school full time at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I had settled down after several years of dealing with the difficult issues and poor choices of my past and I felt ready to address my academic demons. I hoped to break through a creative block of many years, to write and make art again.

I was not prepared for a deluge of nightmares, depression, and anxiety that overwhelmed me that first semester. I felt suddenly like I was on hyper-alert. Compelled to participate in class and write, and yet going home after classes afraid to sleep for nightmares, and wanting to escape a visceral sense of shame and fear.

Journal Page #1
"Journal Page"

I contacted the university health center for counseling to deal with this seemingly irrational set of reactions. During the first several sessions I began to see that the nature of my creative block was spiritual or rather a disconnection from my own authentic spirituality.

I was reared in a very traditional religious home and as an adult I became involved in a very charismatic fundamentalist Christian sect. In both of these seemingly opposite settings there as a common thread: fear of God, of self, of "wrong-thinking."

As a dutiful child and later adult follower, I was at war with my natural self, I vainly tried to purge myself of all "dangerous" or "sinful" thoughts. I was afraid to "indulge" my imagination lest I offend God. As I began to restore order and reason to my external life, those waters began to stir in my dreams.

Journal Page #2
"Journal Page 2"


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