Words as Legacy was inspired by the words and lives of two writers who died far too young of brain cancer. Diane Granat Yalowitz wrote for three decades for the Washingtonian Magazine about the most pressing social issues of the day, and also about the day-to-day challenges of life. She died of a brain tumor at the age of 49. Brendan Ogg was building a life as a writer and poet when he was diagnosed with cancer in his sophomore year in college. An extraordinary volume of poetry captures this voice. He died at the age of 20.
Inspired by these two exceptional lives, a community came together to honor their memory through two collaborative art projects, both focused on the words that these writers had left behind and the meaning — and inspiration — we could draw from them. An essential element was the collective nature of the project: an entire community spent over a year wrapping Diane’s words on to paperclips; and that same community (plus many more around the country) later spent another year knitting panels in honor of Brendan and his extraordinary poetry.
The project is not about death though it was inspired by two deaths. It is rather about the timelessness of words, the ability that each one of us has to inspire through words and thoughts, and the power of a community that comes together for the common good and in furtherance of common bonds.
Potential Next Projects:
The next project is to focus on lost spoken languages. Our concept is to engage multiple generations of women to document and pass on oral histories that might otherwise be lost due to endangered languages. Lack of funding to preserve indigenous languages, and cultural dispersion, have resulted in the erosion and loss of community and personal narratives.