BY DEBORAH HALBFOSTER
This collage is the first of a series of book jackets from a favorite or most memorable book of mine and others.
I watch as people are simplifying their lives, casting away of their once favorite and now dogeared books. I started asking questions about the books they tossed, as well as the ones they treasured. Why keep this one, which had the biggest impact on you as a child, what will you never get rid of?
Franny and Zooey is my remaining memory fragment of high school and literature. Franny is a mysterious creature that I adored and the Glass family is as idiosyncratic as any family I've ever met, even still today. I liked this fact: that they were not "regular." I liked that Franny noted the hypocrisy of the times and her perspicacity in her search to find a way to deal with the world as it was, or was not.
Her response? "The Way of a Pilgrim." A Zen koan. An unconscious prayer without ceasing. This was my early introduction to Zen Buddhism, and even now, I draw on this response when most disturbed by things about me and wish I could pray without ceasing. I haven't gotten there yet, but this collage will remind me not to give up.
Deborah Halbfoster is often seeing walking into the distance. She enjoys the peace of being left alone, but also leaving, wondering, and wandering. A graduate of Rutgers University (English Literature), Deborah worked in Human Resources for years until quitting to take care of her aging mother. It is the hardest, most rewarding job she's ever had. It led her back to writing, creating collages, painting in watercolors and ink, and finding 'her' again, outside of a work environment. Staying at her mother's side until the very end, where she could no longer follow, has helped her find a new way of living, caring and communicating. What did she learn from all this? We need more kindness in this world, along with laughter to help us through each day. Walking away is always walking towards something else.