Martha Clark Scala
As a youngster, I never thought about being a writer or artist.
I just wanted to be like my mother and brother, who were both social workers. I became a psychotherapist and devoted myself to serving clients for nearly thirty years.
My brother Nick died in 1996 of complications following a kidney transplant. It was a challenge to attend to others in my day job while suffering a complicated grief inside. Writing, journaling, gardening and collage became my saviors. The loss of Nick—at times a teasing, clowning brother, and often a wise teacher—necessitated a profound search for grace, wisdom and resolution.
At the time of Nick’s death, I might have told you that geography and family had profoundly shaped me: I am Texas-born, New England-raised, Virginia-educated and California-liberated.
Subsequent losses deeply influenced my life since 1996. Parkinson’s Disease took my dad’s life in 2005; heart failure took my mom three years later. And five years after that, my sister Margo was diagnosed with melanoma.
Margo’s death four months after the diagnosis completed the loss of my entire family of origin. For refuge, I turned to writing and art. Creative projects saved me from despair.
Today, I give voice to my grief—and also my joys—by crafting collages and sharing poignant vignettes of family life in prose, poetry, photographs, and videos. These activities are the salve that helped bring joy back into my life.
A bona fide introvert, I seek solace and serenity by spending a lot of time in solitude. Creative writing and the visual arts are a priority and my most reliable form of life-affirming oxygen. I enjoy walks in nature, alone or with loved ones, and carry my camera just about everywhere.