" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

January 11, 2019

Trauma Cleaning and Art Therapy?

I touched on the subject of trauma and art in my last post -
Bedtime Stories and Mental Health?
'The Haunting of Hill House'
And it was when reading the chapter titled 'Kim' in
'The Trauma Cleaner'  I read just how important Kim's art was to her as therapy even though from a landlord's point of view Kim's work would be considered an act of vandalism.
"A short drive north of Geelong, a woman lives in a house with broken windows and dark words sprayed across its exterior in writing that looks like it came from the hand of a giant.
I thought to myself when reading that passage from
'The Trauma Cleaner', was that Kim's way of making art or casting SPELLS?
"Sandra is sitting in an immaculate white SUV with a large white sticker stretched across the back window that says MISSIBITCHI.
She is scheduled to do a cleaning quote at 9 a.m."
'The Haunting of Hill House'
 "'But do you know what it is ... I draw. It's my therapy or whatever.
But I've been locked up, institutionalized, shackled illegally.
Mate, to look at white walls ...'"
"And scratched into the black paint, over and over and over again again, are the lines of another figure: the shadow of this shadow man.
This is a perfectly realized human world of crisis and isolation as effective as any Giacometti or Bacon or Munch.
Except that it is not hanging in the Tate or MoMA, it is painted on a dirty wall next to a freestanding wardrobe with the doors ripped off."
A look inside one apartment of the art on the walls
from an artwork in the
Trauma Cleaning and Apart-ments?
"'This is from when my mother was involved in a murder - suicide.
I was five years old', Kim explains, leaning against a door on which are scrawled the words TRAUMA and PUNISH and MIND/COST in pea-green crayon.
(in different handwriting, a child's handwriting, are the words
'incy winccy' in careful orange script.) 'I don't need medication.
It's trauma.
It needs to come out.
My brain has nightmares which are horrific.'
She explains how she woke up from a nightmare and just started drawing on the wall, because she had to, and I think of her alone in the dark house in the dark night.
Exorcising this image onto the nearest wall."  
'Nightmare on Elm Street 4'
It became apparent when reading 'The Trauma Cleaner' that this book was a form of art therapy for the author Sarah Krasnostein to exorcise some personal trauma in a way, too.
Picking Up The Pieces: The Aftermath of Trauma
"In this session, recorded live at the 2018 Byron Writers Festival, crime writer Candice Fox, non-fiction writer Sarah Krasnostein and journalist Kate Wild speak with Bernard Zuel about writing in the wake of traumatic events."
When Sarah signed my copy of her book I watched how she looped the S into an 8, which reminded me of the poster on my bedroom wall of the cosmic eye or whatever astronomers named it.
And of course that figure 8 sideways is the infinity symbol also.
My Observations of Time and Space in Port Macquarie
I had a laugh when I saw Sarah writing about Ultima Thule the other day on her Twitter account and thought that maybe her writing her S like an 8, maybe she was foreshadowing the shape of this space object?-)
But Sarah's S kind of reminded me of Jonathan Franzen's signature/sigil when I bought three of his books and I asked him to sign them.
It was like he was drawing a great work of art in each book and he took his time to make sure it turned out to his satisfaction.
What's with the Book Covers and the Birds?
 Listening to Angela Kirby in the 'Rune Soup' podcast talk about doodling with a pen also made me think of these authors signing a book as an expression of personal art.
Synchronicity, 42 and Owls?
Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit ... Hole?
Might be time to get out my crayons and paint?-)


  1. A chalkboard- a nice big one, chalks and tempera paint. Wash away! So freeing!

  2. Make it and take a picture if you want and wash it away like any good trauma cleaner.

  3. If you like it maybe you will color chalkboards at a couple of local taverns like I do! I wish I could send you a picture!

  4. Now you've made me relive some old primary school trauma when my grade six teacher hit me in the head when he threw a chalk duster from the front of the classroom to the back where I was sitting and mucking around.
    Those dusters were half felt and half wood, so I was lucky that it was the felt side that made contact with my head I guess.
    Actually, it never really traumatized me as I always thought it was a good throw from the teacher, when in fact it was just a lucky throw in hindsight, for him and me.

    1. I remember those dusters! So glad you didn't get a bloody head wound! It's good to be out of range these days. First chalk picture- you throwing the duster into orbit.