Palliative Care in Other Words

"Let us go in; the fog is rising."
--Emily Dickinson, last words.

In the ASU Creative Writing Program and Mayo Clinic's shared commitment to community outreach and service, this innovative partnership project will send a creative writer to work with patients in the Palliative Care Unit of the Mayo Clinic.  Creativity in a profound circumstance has through the centuries produced meaningful results.  The work would not be to dutifully transcribe the events of lives lived--not journalism--but to find those things full and truly worthy of remembrance or yet waiting for invention. 

What has been paired with what needs to be are often the basis of art and science both, but at their most successful include aspects of life so often critically overlooked--the glints and edges of feeling, imagination, experience, and all the rest--the iron and silk extremes that are also part of our lives.  This is the power of the single detail rather than the quotidian experience.  In this particular project, these threads come together in a profound context of last, and lasting, things. 

As human beings, we know what objects and physical wealth we bequeath to others, what memories and adventures we leave to them.  But what curiosities of thought, what unanswered questions, what unexplained moments too small to pass on at the time but which have nonetheless persevered, elegant and inelegant both--these are the unbalanced secrets that have made us laugh and shrug, cry and shake.  They are, in a word,
feeling.  This, too, is worthy, though more difficult at first to characterize and share.  Sentience, after all, is more than simply logic. 

But which things to pursue and where to find them?--This will be our work together.  And what remains, remains as gift.

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