The third letter home. November 18, 1968

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — Previous posts: Package of letters to Sweden A letter home. November 1, 1968 Dream. Letters. Thought and Memory. Writing exercise. The Second Letter. As these translations focus on the letters from my mother to her best…

The second letter. November 5, 1968.

Why when I close my eyes and think about myself at a young age do I find myself immediately at the age of 6?  What makes me go back to that little girl?  That time? These days I feel tears well up easily.  Not of sadness, but of fullness.  Today I walked home from the bus…

Thank you Salmagundi West and Anne Banner <3

On January 31, 2018, a beloved landmark and one of my most favorite places on the planet, Salmagundi West, will close its doors at its current location. No words suffice for my gratitude for this shop and for Anne Banner. The objects I have collected from the shop and have been gifted from Anne and…

Remembering Claudia Camille.

In honor of Claudia Camille September 14, 1964- February 26, 2007 It is my dance partner’s birthday today. We were science students and dancers together at the University of British Columbia.  I met Claudia Camille in dance class in 1983 and we formed a duo dance troupe, Principia, choreographing and performing around Vancouver.  We revelled in all things…

The Mulberry Panels: art project with older adults

I have the pleasure of working with an extraordinary group of individuals at Mulberry PARC doing art projects that range from drawing, interactive art, sock animals and group painting/quilt!  We have had 5 sessions so far and, at this point, confirmed 10 more that will take us into November! My goal with the art sessions is…

Happy birthday, Frida.

I am celebrating Frida Kahlo‘s birthday! Although her birth certificate says she was born on July 6, 1907, Frida Kahlo told people her date of birth was July 7, 1910. She allegedly did so not to seem younger but simply because she loved her home country, according to The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo filmmaker…

You are motherhood. You are the greatest mystery.

Only do not forget, if I wake up crying it’s only because in my dream I’m a lost child hunting through the leaves of the night for your hands… – Pablo Neruda Journal entry November 8, 2016: 8 years ago today, my little brother held my mother’s face and spoke sweetly, guiding my mother.  I laid my…

Boundary by Emily Cowan

Wow.  Emily Cowan, comic book artist, has just completed an extraordinary book: What a beautiful journey it has been to dive into Paige’s teenage life.  My cheeks prickle with familiarity– those hot-nosed, overly self-conscious struggles of a 15 year old. The book is deceptively gentle, masterfully rendered. DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND READ THIS GORGEOUS BOOK! LINK:…

A mother’s eulogy by Beverley Pomeroy

by Beverley Pomeroy (posted with permission from author) Well, it’s a difficult thing to have to write a eulogy for your child.  Where do you start?  How do you end?  How can you possibly sum up your beautiful child’s life in 8 minutes? Do you get up and read it yourself…or do you get someone…

For I need to SPEAK FREELY. Without restraint…

So, I’ve been doing a lot of chatting in the past few days about my passion project: Molly- a true crime analysis: I’ve been chatting, speaking, blabbing, vomiting words with friends and family about it, at the dinner table, over the phone, even on the radio— Check out my INTERVIEW about Molly- a true crime analysis from…

Traditional craft: handwoven treasure by “Domestic Intervention Co.”

Being Swedish, I was raised surrounded by beautiful handwoven cloths.  When I think about Sweden, I see looms. Textile art is in my DNA.  My mother loved to tell me stories about my great grandmother– my name sake, Brita.  Brita raised so many children with little money.  She’d walk to town and check out the…

Slithering pancreatic serpent. #griefprocess

In November 2007, Dr. Ebrahim sat knee to knee with my mother.  I was on the other side of the little examination room.  I recall it was a sunny day.  I think it was.  Grouse Mountain shone in the background.  I think it did.  The room seemed turquoise.  Friendly.   We found a mass in…

Eliza’s Story

“210 years later, Eliza Hamilton’s orphanage — now a family services agency called Graham Windham — is still helping kids get their shot.  Graham Windham serves over 4,500 kids and families each year.  Just like Eliza’s husband, these kids survived a tough start in life.  Graham Windham provides services like family counseling and treatment, after…

MOLLY, my true crime online graphic novel serial, launches in 1 month!

Look for Part 1A on January 15, 2017 MOLLY- A TRUE CRIME ANALYSIS at mollygraphicnovel.com An analysis in 5-acts. … to dissolve the very boundaries between fact and fiction, life and art, memory and imagining.  The result would be a five-act narrative tragedy comprised of materials gathered from everything from journal, diary, memoir, novel, poem,…

Molly- a true crime analysis, a visual serial goes online January 15!

How do you escape from a convincing story?  After enough repetitions, the facts come to serve the story and not the other way around.  – Errol Morris I began working on this PASSION PROJECT in 2003 when I was a volunteer criminal profiler on the Babes in the Wood task force in Vancouver, Canada.  And…

My Frida hung there…

I love the evolution of the street art creative process- the pasting of original art and letting it go into the world… Like the journey of my Frida angel pasted on Valencia Street, San Francisco, three plus years ago: August 24, 2013 (photo by Anna Thorsen) November 28, 2016 (photo by Anna Thorsen) What motivates someone to…

The inverted detective story approach.

Huge thank you to Patti Henderson who encouraged me to consider the inverted detective story approach on Molly- a true crime analysis.  I thought I needed to restructure my rough draft fully when she suggested this Columbo style, but as I review my manuscript, I realize only minor tweaks are needed structurally- especially the opening sequence.  All…

I am obsessing about Molly’s wandering soul.

I am obsessing about Molly‘s wandering soul. I have written before that Molly somehow chose me to tell her story.  Eve Lazarus refers to it as a tap on the shoulder– and Molly tapped me on the shoulder on Level 5 at the Vancouver Public Library in late 2003 as I was searching through microfiches….

My mother’s tapestry…

Today would have been my mother’s 80th birthday.  It was joyous to celebrate her by celebrating my nephew’s 5th birthday (his official birthday is on the 19th) in my brother’s household filled with kids and mayhem, food and laughter. Our growing family certainly is my mother’s tapestry- her woven threads. We are the weavers of our…

We are made of star-stuff…

To get myself realigned and prepared for diving into writing/drawing/reflection, I check in with my Church that is Frida Kahlo and let the stream of consciousness flow. Head to heart to hand. To prepare for output, there must be some quiet me time, input.  Some meditation.  And for me that is the private act of…

SOME PORTRAITS OF GRIEF.

For me, it is impossible to quantify grief.  To qualify it.  To define it.  It comes as a surprise. It comes as a wave.  It comes suddenly.  Or it comes on slow.  It can feel like nostalgia, anger, sadness, gratitude, drowning.  It can be triggered.  It can be low grade.  It can be reassuring.  It can…

Journal exercise: self-care and self-compassion

Journal exercise: What does self-care and self-compassion mean to you?  How are they different?  How are they the same? — Inspired by conversations of late, I am intrigued by the differences between SELF-CARE and SELF-COMPASSION. — — In health care, self care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated. [source]…

In place of death there was light.

I am preparing myself to draw my mother’s “death mask” from the photo my son took after she passed on November 8, 2008. I have been preparing for awhile. I know the process will be an important and necessary one for me personally.  I think about it often.  It’s not about needing to work on something…

Messages from Angels…

I love getting messages from Angels. I just sat down for a spot of tea… and pulled out some creativity books to prep for a session around mission and vision statements. I discovered a tiny envelope inside one of the books containing a gift from one of my mom’s best friend, Jopie. I don’t recall…

Mamma.

  Karin Thorsen September 17, 1936 – November 8, 2008 Because you are only a seed, chestnut tree, autumn, earth, water, heights, silence prepared the germ, the floury density, the maternal eyelids that buried will again open toward the heights the simple majesty of foliage, the dark damp plan of new roots, the ancient but…

MOLLY TERESA O’DWYER APRIL 25, 1924

Molly Teresa O’Dwyer (April 25, 1924 Costel, Ireland- November 6, 1947; suicide, age 23 in Vancouver, BC, Canada (Mountainview Cemetery, Vancouver) — My passion project, Molly- a true crime analysis, continues.  Stay tuned. On January 15, 1953, the skeletal remains of two children were found in the forest of Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada….

When Doors Close: A Retreat to Unlock New Possibilities May 20-22

7 brilliant, heart-full and talented colleagues are collaborating to create When Doors Close – a retreat to unlock new possibilities. I’ve been witnessing heartaching frustration in friends, loved ones, even strangers, and hearing the refrain “all the doors seem to be closing” – over and over. I know these words well. I’ve said these words, and…

Group mind mapping: RJ as a pedagogical tool @SFU

  — On March 30, 2016, I took the  Criminology 315 (CRIM 315) students at the Simon Fraser University Burnaby Campus (teacher: Associate Professor and director of the Center for Restorative Justice, Brenda Morrison) through an in depths mind mapping process as they reflected on their understanding and learning during the course. CRIM 315 is…

Inspiring program: Work2Give via @PunkyLake

It was such a delight to meet the extraordinary Sarah Jackman of Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society http://punkylake.com/ on March 15, 2016 as we presented together our experiences in restorative practices in CRIM 442 at SFU. My name is Sarah Jackman and I am the Executive Director of the Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society. I was…

Sisterhood collages with youth who have a passion to lead

  I was delighted to facilitate a collaging workshop with a group of young women last night who have been participating in Passion to Lead’s Leadership Program since November.  We focused on the theme of sisterhood.  The resulting collection of collages are simply beautiful and will be grouped together into one piece.  It was a…

Sunday morning coffee shop musings.

Journal entry January 24, 2016 Write out goals –> no, write out PLANS. What is the difference between goals and plans and by writing goals as opposed to plans, am I not being BADASS enough? (Thank you, Cat Webb, for defining me as a badass and being a constant source of empowerment.  Check out Cat’s extraordinary…

Lessons from Pippi- strength, generosity and gentleness…

Being Swedish,Pippi Longstocking has been an icon to me all my life.  Yes, there are troubling racist elements in the books and, my God, as a child I would lay awake at night worrying about Pippi living alone, but Pippi’s character is glorious and hopeful.  She’s ahead of her time- a give-no-fucks attitude combined with curiosity…

“I can’t wait to see you and meet you at the top.”

It’s early Sunday morning, December 13, 2015,  and I have just said bon voyage to my daughter as she heads to New York City for a test run month, paving the way to her big move. A few months ago, she wrote on her mindmap: Spend 1 month test living in New York City. Oh Anna,…

Shaking the Movers- a safe space for youth to have a voice.

   — I was so honored to participate (as art facilitator) in the 9th instalment of Shaking the Movers yesterday!   Shaking the Movers, founded by The Honorable Landon Pearson, is a profound process that supports youth in making powerful recommendations around children’s rights using their own voices. Shaking the Movers: The Shaking the Movers conferences are two-day workshops that…

The maternal eyelids that buried will again open toward the heights…

  Karin Thorsen September 17, 1936 – November 8, 2008 Because you are only a seed, chestnut tree, autumn, earth, water, heights, silence prepared the germ, the floury density, the maternal eyelids that buried will again open toward the heights the simple majesty of foliage, the dark damp plan of new roots, the ancient but…