from Sky Above Clouds: Finding Our Way through Creativity, Aging and Illness
- Tuesday, June 14, 6:30-8:00pm
Smith Center for Healing and the Arts & Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery proudly offer a literary reading and question & answer session with author Wendy L. Miller to discuss her book, Sky Above Clouds: Finding Our Way through Creativity, Aging and Illness.
What happens at the intersections of adversity and possibility, of crisis and creativity, of health and illness? How can our own individual creativity be a catalyst for hope, love, and healing under any circumstances and at every age? Expressive arts therapist and writer Wendy Miller and her husband Gene Cohen, a pioneering psychiatrist, researcher and writer about creative aging, devoted distinguished careers and their life together finding answers to these questions.
When Gene was diagnosed with cancer at age 52, illness became “a member of the family,” putting their years of theory and clinical practice to the ultimate test, and making their life’s work their lifeline. Using their experience as a uniquely candid “case study” to help others, they set about writing the book together. Gene’s unprecedented long-term survival defied all medical odds and gave the couple time to journey far into this uncharted territory and chronicle the experience in separate journals. Five years into their book collaboration, Gene died from unforeseeable long-term side effects of his cancer treatment. Drawing from Gene’s intimate journals and extensive professional writings on creativity and aging, and from her own evolving understanding of that experience as a wife and mother, and as a therapist, Wendy wrote the medical and spiritual narrative that became “Sky Above Clouds.”
“Sky Above Clouds” shows the merging worlds of creativity, aging, illness, healing, dying, and grieving as they unfold to the limits of medical knowledge and life itself. Both practical and philosophical, it illuminates and enlivens what is often a shadowy landscape of aging or of illness or adversity at any age. With the power of creativity and the synergy of creativity and healing, this territory is no longer a wasteland, but akin to a flower garden, blossoming with new research and findings, teeming with activity.
This reading is presented in conjunction with the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery Exhibition: Gretchen Feldman, The Healing Studio, on display from June 3 - July 15, 2016.
Our programs are open to the community, and tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. Classes and workshops are free or low cost on a pay-as-you-can basis, ensuring that our programs are accessible to everyone.
About Wendy L. Miller
Wendy L. Miller is the Co-Founder of the Create Therapy Institute, an Integrative Arts Medicine Studio, and the Executive Director of Projects on Intergenerational Communication at the Washington, DC Center on Aging.