I created a menorah on my wall from torn strips of white cotton fabric. The branches have magazine cutouts at the top representing each day of creation. The stand is a picture of a pile of records and large butterflies. Next to the menorah are duplicate crosses, flanked by mountains and a beach scene likewise cut from a magazine.
I have been a magazine interior decorator since I was in junior high, but lately the designs have become more complex. A trinity, a tree of life, and now a menorah creation schema. The designs are transient, taped or sticky-tacked to the wall, and are affirmations of my belief.
Pictorial belief and verbal belief are akin. Although pictures and words require interpretation, they also defy it. Eventually there are no more images, no more words, to offer an explanation. And we’re left with inscape, the thingness of the thing, the wordness of the word. A divine, ever renewable spark of an idea, a cotton strand that shrives its creator in its reinvention.
I offer this prayer by Lancelot Andrewes. “Thou Who walkest in the midst of the golden candlesticks, remove not our candlestick out of its place; set in order the things that are wanting, strengthen the things which remain, [the things] which are ready to die. . . .
“O direct my life towards Thy commandments, hallow my soul, purify my body, correct my thoughts, cleanse my desires, soul and body, mind and spirit, heart and reins. Renew me thoroughly, O Lord, for, if Thou wilt, Thou canst.”*
*Lancelot Andrewes and His Private Devotions: A Biography, a Transcript and an Interpretation (Oliphant, Anderson, and Ferrier, 1896), 75, 87.