Art • Illustration • Design • Ceramics • Music


at one point in life, we all become an exile
dedicated to Arol Wulf (1938-2012)
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I met Arol Wulf a couple of years ago via the music community MI7. I was intrigued and charmed by her deep and special music, and I became a fan of her radio broadcast show "Off the Cuff".

In one of her shows she was telling about Israelian novelist David Grossman, also an advocate of peace between Jews and Palestines. His son was killed by a rocket during the last weeks of his service in the Israelian army. In an interview, he said that after his son's death, he felt like an exile.
Arol realized that this was exactly how she had felt after her husband Wulf had died in 1999.

I found this image of loneliness and disorientation very strong and inspiring.
I distilled what I thought was the essence of the almost half hour during radio show into the text below.
To these words I wrote musical themes and let music and words interacting with each other.
For my "Relics" project I have always added spoken text after the music was more or less finished, but this time it was otherwise. The music did not exist before, and all was written to fit the existing spoken words from Arol's show.

"Exiles" describes how the death of a loved one, can put you in a strange world where you feel completely lost. But Arol is also asking you, "What if you never had that great love"?
This duality is also the main theme in my "Songs of Love and Loss" project.

Many thanks to Arol for letting me use her inspiring an touching words.
Below the transcription of the show, you will find more information about her and links to her website, radio show and blog.

I was riding into Lewisburg the other day and had my new satellite hookup in my car so I can get my favorite programs and stuff along right in.

Anyway, this woman was interviewing the novelist David Grossman. And... she was talking to him about a book, a novel that he published.
That's just kind of a wild premise, wild story and I was hearing him talk about it.
And when the interviewer said: "Well, wasn't that kind of crazy thinking on your heroin's part?"
He said: "Well no, that's what magical thinking is."
I thought: "That's a beautiful phrase, I've never heard that..."

And then later it came out that his son had been killed by a rocket.
He died, a couple of weeks before he was gonna get out.
The interviewer said to him: "How do you feel? How did you feel after that happened, after you lost your son?".
And I've heard a lot of people asked about death, you know, how you felt after your husband, wife or child died.
And I've heard a lot of, a lot of... you know... , descriptions of how that felt to that person.
But he said something that just turned me around.
He said: "It was like becoming an exile.".

Everything he'd ever known became, became unreal, became odd, you know... didn't understand, he felt like he was ... an exile.
He was in a strange country where he didn't know anything.

And it turned me around because I realized that is the way I felt... I have felt since Wulf's death.

And... with him gone, through these things I'd gone through since his death, I became an exile. It put me into this strange land. It sent me into a foreign place I had never been before. There was like nothing familiar. Nothing was... was home... nothing was... You couldn't have that touch anymore, or that look, or that laugh together, or things that only you two shared, you know?

What's wrong with having a great love in your life? Yes... yes... death can take it away, yes it can... Sickness can take it away.
But, what if you'd never have it ...?

Why can't we understand that the most exciting thing to share is exploring the mind, the creativity, the friendship of another human being? That's the greatest trip a human being is ever going to make.

You're trying to learn about God, and the only way you're going to find it... The only way you will see that God-force is in another human being.

I'm talking about friendship. There's no life without friendship.
You can't "fall in friendship", that's an achievement and really, love is an achievement.
Love is a great achievement.
It's a commitment.
It's an attitude.
It's a philosophy.
It's a religion.
It's everything...

Take a deep breath...
Relax ...
Let everything go and say to yourself:
"May I be myself,
May I follow my destiny,
May I be loved..."

Excepts from Arol Wulf's "Off the cuff Radio Show", October 14, 2010.
Arol was so kind to give me permission to share her reaction after listening to "Exiles" with you:

"Dearest Jef,
What can I say?  How can I really express my feelings about what you've done with my words?  Thank you so much.  I was touched beyond description.  I cried.  As usual your taste is exquisite, the timing perfect, the graphic absolutely right on, the music lovely and so expressive.. I couldn't find anything I would change and I am a harsh critic.  Every one who has heard it, has loved it.   I am so proud that you chose to include me in your work.  Again, I treasure the piece.  It's the greatest gift I've ever received for the day of my birthday!  I only wish wulf could hear it............can he?  I've been an artist all my life and have loved your work since I first saw and heard it, so this means so much to me. 
Love to you both forever,"
About Arol Wulf-Zendik

"I have been an artist, activist, mother, wife, dancer, writer, singer, actress, grandmother, musician, secretary, gardener, architect, farmer and have directed Zendik Arts most of my adult life. Wulf and I were partners for 40 years until his death in 1999 and I have been left with the legacy of his religious and social message. His ideas are premises for living life consciously and in good conscience. His philosophy is open-ended—open to new information and open to whether those ideas actually work or not. "

Arol lives and works at the Zendik Farm Arts Foundation in West-Virginia (USA).

If you want to learn more about Arol and the Zendik philosophy:

- Zendik website
- Arol's blog
- "Off the Cuff" radio show
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Update June 7, 2012

My dear friend Arol Wulf passed away peacefully today in her home in West Virginia a little before 7 pm. She will be greatly missed. She was a great soul and inspired many of us to follow our dreams and always go for what is true. May the Light follow her always.
I dedicate this piece to her.


© 2013 Jef De Corte • Aeronaut bvba • Margote 17 • B-9260 Wichelen • Belgium • Contact Me