Re-Membering is a memoir about being congenitally physically disabled and experiencing traumatic brain injury.
Millett-Gallant recounts her accident, recovery, and consequential discoveries. The book shares her personal narrative, art therapy, as well as examples of her artwork.
Ann shares the vital roles of her family and friends, as well as art in her recovery and provides hope and direction for others with traumatic brain injuries.
My Creative Process:
"In my memoir, I discuss parallels between collage and my personal experiences, illustrated by examples of my artwork. I tend to have a collage-like process for writing as well.
I free write almost every day, allowing myself to blabber on, basically, about whatever comes to mind. I also make collages, juxtaposing images I have printed of my artwork, varying forms of colored or patterned paper, and textual fragments, such as lists, notes, magazine images, and sometimes, fortune cookie messages.
I write about a term called “flooding” in my memoir, which is like being overwhelmed by stimulus. I can attribute flooding to many of my activities, to varying degrees. I can’t say this is a direct result of my traumatic brain injury, for I have always enjoyed staying busy. But I can, at times, feel exhausted and confused.
For writing, I just include everything that seems relevant at first. Then I revise; I go back to certain topics and ideas to see what pieces work well, compliment, and strengthen one another. One of my biggest challenges is organizational structure, not to mention, closure. For all my many projects, sometimes that hardest thing to know is when to stop working!"
“Art therapy projects also helped me purge my anxiety. I would make scribble sketches, which released my nervous energy. I often built collages around these scribbles with fragments from a box of magazine clippings and by making a number of images in different media, such as watercolor, colored pencil, chalk pastels, and marker.
I began to slow down and try to focus more on the process of my art therapy projects, rather than on the finished project. I strived to embrace art as a way to pause and appreciate the process.
Art-making became meditative, as I read about and attempted to practice mindfulness, or the acknowledgement of all the senses and sensual stimuli from the world around me. As I became more aware of my surroundings, I also paid more attention to the patterns of my emotions and behaviors. Becoming more self-aware enabled me to slowly give up the need to control everything, as I felt more capable of anticipating and coping with my feelings.”
Ann Millett-Gallant is the author of the book Re-Membering - Putting Mind and Body Back Together Following Traumatic Brain Injury.
She is an art historian, disability studies scholar, and visual artist who specializes in painting and collage.
She holds a PhD in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently serves as a Senior Lecturer for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Visit Ann on her website at: