Relaunch and new look: my online graphic novel “Molly, a True Crime Analysis, the third draft”

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Molly- a true crime analysis is my experimental graphic novel, originally workshopped online in weekly instalments between January 15, 2017 and January 13, 2018.  

I call the current online version the third draft.  

mollygraphicnovel.com

UPDATE: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL IS BEING RE-WORKED AND THEREFORE SET TO “PRIVATE” WITH RESTRICTED ACCESS

My work is based on extensive research, interviews and published accounts.  I use mainly primary and secondary sources in order to build the story.  I have attempted to stick to the facts in the text and avoid assumptions, yet draw conclusions from the circumstantial evidence.  Visual scenes have been created for the purposes of dramatization.  This is a work of creative non-fiction inspired by true facts, physical evidence and historical research.  In the end, this is my artistic interpretation and nothing more than that.  

SAMPLE CHAPTER:

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This chapter is enhanced when accompanied by:

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© Katarina Thorsen 2019

DISCLAIMER:

Readers of this publication agree that Katarina Thorsen will not be held responsible or liable for damages that may be alleged or resulting directly or indirectly from the reading of this publication.

Model: Jocelyn Louise

When grief is like a wave crashing on shore…

I attended an event last night at the Vancouver Public Library.

I am so glad I went alone, for not only could I soak in the event itself (as I am passionate about this case), but I could really sit in my personal grief.

This was the room I sat in with my Mom as we first listened to a lecture about the Babes in the Wood because of an article my Dad had given me from the Vancouver Sun.   
  

Mom and Dad- the two people who tirelessly worked with me, traveled with me across the Lower Mainland in search of clues, relished in talking history, mapping it out, tending grave sites and the scene in the park… Who could handle my endless chatter.  Who loved to hear about the latest unfolding and discovery.

Mom and Dad- who also shared my interest in the case covered by last night’s event, who shared deep concern for the women of the DTES and who came with me to the healing tent, who shared concern for the families, who helped me deliver art for fundraisers and who drove me to meetings with police officers and family members, who helped host events at schools, who came with me to the trial, who despaired at the failure of the system, who cut out articles and analyzed and discussed and inspired me to work with at-risk youth.

Cut to 12+ years later, and I am back in that room at the Central Branch.  And Mom and Dad are not here to share this profound event with me.

They are not here.

And so I feel it.

It starts in the toes and wells upward through the legs and spine. I swallow water as the wave lifts me upward, whiplashes and slaps me forward face down on the shore.

And I lie there, listening to the Bergmaneque soundtrack…

… realizing that somehow- I’m still alive.

Get up, wipe myself off.  Dry off in the sun.  Sit for awhile looking out over the amniotic sea in absolute gratitude for the memories and gifts Mom and Dad gave me.

Applause.

The event was amazing.

I walked home.

Molly, my Molly, has acknowledged the past. #graphicnovel

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See there- my Molly, in death- so white

Coming clothed in flowers, entering the night.

My fate, through her eyes, is being foretold

My dreams, my wounds, my joys she holds.

Spirits, unpolished, stand back in aghast,

Molly, my Molly, has acknowledged the past.

“It’s not what I wanted! Not what I assumed!”

And with that, my Molly pronounces my doom.

My fate, it is sealed, lying warm in her breast,

Unless I chop off her head and eat up the rest.

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Molly preview

[Above poem reworked from a version I first wrote in April 1994, titled “Marianna.”]

January 15, 1953. Stanley Park, Vancouver. #coldcase

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Several developments since I last mentioned Molly. This work infuses my life in every way.  I am currently editing the manuscript and working on releasing instalment 1 as a broadsheet.

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Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
China marker portrait of Jocelyn Louise as Molly.  Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

Animation test to commemorate January 15, 1953 created by students at Mountainside Secondary:

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Join the ‘100 Faces’ Street Art Project for instalment 1 of my graphic novel.

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He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. – The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

Molly, my graphic novel, is not just an illustrated work of creative non-fiction, nor is it simply about one cold case- it is a Vancouver story.  It belongs to the people of Vancouver.  

I am presenting my work in 5 instalments as a broadsheets in newspaper form.

You can read more at: PREVIEW and GRAPHIC NOVEL POSTS

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As part of Instalment 1 Exposition, I am creating a new street art wall in the city of Vancouver of 100 real people to represent the soul of the city.

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Sample drawing. China marker on newsprint, I am indebted to photographer, Vivian Maier, for inspiring my work.

The 100 faces will be cut out and collaged together and wheatpasted on January 15, 2015, the 62nd anniversary of the discovery the skeletons in Stanley Park.  The wall image will appear in instalment 1 as part of setting the scene for telling the story.

I am inviting YOU to add your face and to be part of the wall and thus be part of the graphic novel!

For $20, you will be drawn in my signature style and the original portrait will become part of the 100 faces wall.  I will email you a photo of your portrait.  I will also share your image on my blog and my social media sites as the process develops and your name will appear in acknowledgments.  I will also send out the invite for the wheatpaste session on January 15 in case you are in the Vancouver area!

All ages are encouraged.

To become a part of my project, you email me your photo of choice

CONTACT KATARINA: EMAIL

and you can pay via:
images

Or email transfer to britakatarina@gmail.com

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It doesn’t stop him. My death stops him. #graphicnovel study

Recall March 7, 2013, photoshoot at Salmagundi West for my graphic novel.

I am struck by the ability of my model, Jocelyn Louise, to convey, in a simple glance, the pain of my main character as she tries to escape the memories of childhood trauma.

Sins of the father
Sins of the father.

Asexual.

Living in church,

reading about God all the time,

getting callouses on my knees.

It doesn’t stop him. 

My death stops him.

– Maire MacLachlan

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China marker on newsprint.

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Jocelyn Louise as Molly.  Styled by Jay Fisher. Photo by Anna Thorsen.
Styled by Jay Fisher. Photo by Anna Thorsen.

COVER TEST

GRABLINE:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

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With a faery, hand in hand… photo shoot for the #graphicnovel at Salmagundi West!

On March 7, 2013, I was humbled at the generosity of Salmagundi West owner Anna Banner who allowed us to use her store as a back drop for our latest photoshoot!

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I was joined by Jocelyn Louise (who portrays Molly) and stylist Jay Fisher…

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Jay, Jocelyn, Anne

… and my daughter Anna Thorsen who took the main shots (to be shared in the book).

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Anna, Jocelyn

Here are some moments I captured.  The focus for me was to emulate Molly’s restless travels.

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Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water-rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s morefull of weeping than you
can understand.

The Stolen Child, WB Yeats

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MOLLY- A TRUE CRIME ANALYSIS

WEEKLY SERIAL

AT MOLLYGRAPHICNOVEL.COM

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

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MOLLY- the graphic novel

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“Where white is black and black is white, I won.” #graphicnovel study #crowskull

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When Crow was white he decided the sun was too white.

He decided it glared much too whitely.

He decided to attack it and defeat it.

He got his strength up flush and in full glitter.

He clawed and fluffed his rage up.

He aimed his beak direct at the sun’s centre.

He laughed himself to the centre of himself

And attacked.

At his battle cry trees grew suddenly old,

Shadows flattened.

But the sun brightened—

It brightened, and Crow returned charred black.

He opened his mouth but what came out was charred black.

“Up there,” he managed,

“Where white is black and black is white, I won.”

– Charles Bukowski

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Crow’s skull purchased at Salmagundi West:

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Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

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Regarding Molly- importance of working titles and “acting as if…”

As I experiment with marrying text to illustration in my graphic novel, I am working from the end backwards, creating a working title and promotional mockup. Acting as if the book is completed, the project feels organized and allows me to create a skeletal framework on which to flesh out ideas. This framework can then be dismantled, contorted and altered as needed. It is not the final result by any means, but it is a great way to MOVE FORWARD. And I’m moving forward fast!

I have some exciting ideas as to how to present the finished work (format, paper etc) but first I will marry image to page and and image and pages to chapters and I am loving the creative process. Next up is ensuring all the permissions are in place for using primary sources, news articles, photographs and names within the work. And more photoshoots!

COVER TEST

GRABLINE:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

SYNOPSIS:

Who killed the Babes in the Wood? Artist, art therapist and researcher, Katarina Thorsen, makes her case as to the resolution of this historical Vancouver mystery through crime scene reconstruction, forensic taphonomy, historical archives, genealogical records, behavior evidence analysis, circumstantial connections and artistic interpretation. Katarina first immersed herself in the investigation in 2003 when she volunteered as a criminal profiler and researcher with the Babes in the Wood Task Force. She has remained dedicated to the case ever since.

Using a combination of text, primary sources, illustrations and photographs, Katarina now presents her research journey, equivocal findings and creative process to the reader. The goal is to identify the children whose skeletal remains were found in Stanley Park on January 15, 1953. Through rich and insightful imagery, Regarding Molly reveals a portrait of a troubled young woman in post war Vancouver. The reader is encouraged to draw their own conclusion as to the identity of the Babes in the Wood, their mother and killer.

TEST nurturant

Following Katarina’s lead, readers will be inspired to search out their own stories using intensive genealogical research.

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AUTHOR’S BIO:

Artist/ art therapist Katarina Thorsen is passionate about the power of research and collaborative approaches to create solutions. She specializes in providing therapeutic art to at-risk youth and young offenders. Her own art work includes drawing, painting, crafting, journaling and street art and can be found in private international collections and on the streets of North America and Europe. She believes wholeheartedly in the healing power of art and its ability to build connections. Katarina resides in Vancouver, BC.

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

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The Babes in the Wood study #graphicnovel

The Babes in the Wood [1]

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My dear do you know,

How a long time ago,

Two poor little children,

Whose names I don’t know,

Were stolen away

On a fine summer’s day,

And left in a wood,

As I’ve heard people say,

Poor Babes in the Wood! Poor Babes in the Wood!

Oh! don’t you remember the Babes in the Wood?

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And when it was night,

So sad was their plight,

The sun it went down,

And the moon gave no light!

They sobbed and they sighed,

And they bitterly cried,

And the poor little things,

They lay down and died.

Poor Babes in the Wood! Poor Babes in the Wood!

Oh! don’t you remember the Babes in the Wood?

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And when they were dead,

The robins so red,

Brought strawberry leaves,

And over them spread;

And all the day long,

The branches among,

They mournfully whistled,

And this was their song;

Poor Babes in the Wood! Poor Babes in the Wood!

Oh! don’t you remember the Babes in the Wood?

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[1] “BABES IN THE WOOD”, retrieved September 14, 2006 from http://www.rjohnwright.com/babesinthewood.html

Mother Goose’s “Babes in the Wood” was first published as a ballad by Thomas Millington in 1595.

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

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Take Off the Amber, Put Out the Lamp #graphicnovel #research

Take the day.  Immerse.  Forget everything else.  Read.  Sketch.  Cocoon.  Trust the calling.

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Image in Vivian Maier: Street Photographer

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Today’s resources:

Jamison, K.R. (1999) Night Falls Fast- understanding suicide, Vintage Books: New York, NY, USA

Malooof, J., ed. (2012) Vivian Maier- Street Photographer, powerHouse Books: New York NY, USA

Appignanesi, L. (2007) Sad, Mad and Bad- women and the mind-doctors from 1800, McArthur & Company: Toronto, ON, Canada

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Photo by Rick Legal
Photo by Rick Legal.

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick

MOLLY- the graphic novel

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These three hours that we have spent.. two shadows went along with us… #graphicnovel photoshoot w. @RickLegalPhotos

Recall Photoshoot Dec 3, 2012: A Lecture Upon the Shadow

Here are some MEGA TASTY treats from Rick Legal.

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As an artist/researcher/behavior evidence analyst, these photos fill every cell of my being with joy!  It is wonderful to allow a fellow artist the freedom to do his work within the context/limits of a vision.  Extraordinary.

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Jocelyn Louise, Jay Fisher. Styled by Jay Fisher

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A LECTURE UPON THE SHADOW.
by John Donne

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Recall that on December 3, 2012 was an evening of collaboration as Jocelyn Louise and Jay Fisher recreated 1947 and main characters from my graphic novel as they were photographed by the extraordinary photographer, Rick Legal, and as the entire process was documented by photographer and colleague, Nancy Kirkpatrick.

The book will include text, illustration, photography, street art, primary sources, documentation and collaboration.

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Jocelyn Louise. Photo by Rick Legal
Jocelyn Louise. Photo by Rick Legal

**NEXT STEP: MIND MAPPING THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK**

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

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A Lecture Upon the Shadow: an evening of collaboration on the #graphicnovel with @RickLegalPhotos and co.

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A LECTURE UPON THE SHADOW.
by John Donne

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December 3, 2012 was an evening of collaboration as Jocelyn Louise and Jay Fisher recreated 1947 and main characters from my graphic novel as they were photographed by the extraordinary photographer, Rick Legal, and as the entire process was documented by photographer and colleague, Nancy Kirkpatrick.

The book will include text, illustration, photography, street art, primary sources, documentation and collaboration.

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jay and Jocelyn.  Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jay and Jocelyn. Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Katarina Thorsen
Photo by Katarina Thorsen
Rick Legal.  Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick.
Rick Legal. Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick.
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Julian Bowers
Photo by Julian Bowers
Photo by Katarina Thorsen
Photo by Katarina Thorsen
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
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Photo by Katarina Thorsen
"November 6, 1947" Photo by Katarina Thorsen
“November 6, 1947” Photo by Katarina Thorsen

I have been a fan of Rick Legal’ work for a long time and it is such an honor to have his work appear in my book.  As I write this, he is in the process of editing his images.  Here is a sneak peek:

Photo by Rick Legal
Photo by Rick Legal

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Jocelyn Louise. Photo by Rick Legal
Jocelyn Louise. Photo by Rick Legal

**NEXT STEP: MIND MAPPING THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK**

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

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Muse reawakened. #Vancouver #coldcase #graphicnovel

MOLLY- the graphic novel

Read updates at KICKSTARTER

Follow links at GRAPHIC NOVEL

Recreating 1947 with model, Jocelyn Louise, and stylist, Jay Fisher.

 

• Prepping the mindmap

• Gathering inspiration

• Collecting quotes

• Reviewing current work- written and drawn

• Creating new pieces

• Planning new photoshoot

• Documenting process

*Rethinking approach

• Full immersion imminent

She waved as she made her way to the back door and out to the fire escape stairs.  The firewood was stored under a musty tarp on the landing, and the hatchet [he] used to make kindling sat rusty and dull on top.  [She] never noticed the hatchet placed in that way before, not in all the weeks and months she’d been climbing these fire escape steps.  It was a sign, she knew, and though she wondered what exactly she would do with the hatchet if the footsteps followed her again, she snatched the thing up and rested it on her shoulder.

 Lori Lansens Rush Home Road[1]



[1] Lansens, L. (2002) Rush Home Road, Toronto ON, Canada: Vintage Canada

#Graphicnovel update! Checklists, mindmaps, plotting out chapters, inciting incident… #startattheend

I love that all I am doing in my art and career feeds the graphic novel, even if I’m not working on pages in the book per se.

When I do my street art, I am utilizing the style and perfecting the technique and medium I am using in Molly.

When I am working with my Dad on our book, I am learning the ropes in independent publishing and utilizing the plan for the book with Dad laid out by Julie Salisbury to organize the way I present Molly.  Julie has an extraordinary ability to see the complete project and I will be using her teachings to organize the next steps.  Her Mastermind weekend intensive infused me with such clarity and confidence.

We start at the end– visualize what the book will look like.  Judge the book by it’s cover.

Truly liberating to allow the creative process to sustain itself.  Everything feeds everything else!

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher. My street art ready to be pasted by Jocelyn in Vancouver! I am tempted do the entire book as street art images- take the story to the streets!

Next steps:

  • “START AT THE END”
  • PLAN THE BACK COVER AND TITLE
  • MIND MAP THE ENTIRE STORY
  • INCITING INCIDENT
  • PLOT WHAT GOES INTO EACH CHAPTER
  • BOOK PROPOSAL/PRESENTATION
  • MARKETING CHECKLIST/ BUSINESS PLAN
  • FOREWORD/ TESTIMONIALS/ AUTHOR’s BIO
  • BOOK LAUNCH: proposed date January 15, 2013
  • BOOK LAUNCH EVENT
Utilizing my notes from Fredrik Thorsen’s lecture on story/script.

ETC!

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

Her Catholic childhood. #Vancouver #coldcase #graphicnovel

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”
― Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

ASYLUM. #graphicnovel research

When I saw this book on my fave site, BrainPickings, I immediately called around the local bookstores and found a copy downtown.

From BrainPickings:

One of the 19th-century’s most notorious socioarchitectural phenomena were the “insane asylums” that housed the era’s mentally ill — enormous and stunning buildings whose architecture stood in stark contrast with the ominous athmosphere of their inner workings.  Fascinated by this phenomenon and its ghosts, photographer Christopher Payne set out to document the afterlife of those baleful buildings in Asylum: Inside The Closed World Of State Mental Hospitals — a compendium of images that peel away at a lost world and, in the process, offer a provocative portrait of the history of our (mis)treatment of the mentally ill.  A foreword by iconic neuroscientist Oliver Sacks frame the photographs in a sociocultural context of how these institutions evolved and what role they came to play, both in their time and in our reflections on history.

Observation window. (p. 103)

My friend, Darcy, and I poured over it, at once fascinated, sad, gleeful and horrified.  We talked about what it may mean to us, to any of us, to feel these conflicting emotions.

For me, there is such a visual metaphor in these massive fortresses.  No matter how large they were, they could not contain the anarchistic and primitive human spirit stripped raw by mental illness/circumstance/trauma/misunderstanding.  There was an attempt to contain and cure.

But what are we containing?  How?   Why?  What are we killing by “curing” as opposed to embracing and providing a safe haven, a nurturing environment?  And what about the seemingly failed experiment of outdoor asylums like the Downtown Eastside?

Endless questions.

Recommended viewings:

Recommended readings:

Recall: Molly’s brother died in Essondale

Planning a return visit to the Riverview grounds do some in situ sketches.

Essondale (now Riverview) research files

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  YES PLEASE!  You can donate via PAYPAL here: DONATE

Creative process = flow = trust. #graphicnovel #crimescene #Vancouver #coldcase

I am letting the creative process flow through me as I work on the story.  Letting whatever comes out, come out as it needs to.  Editing will happen later.

TRUST.

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  YES PLEASE!  You can donate via PAYPAL here: DONATE

On Becoming a Woman- vintage treasure. #graphicnovel research #Vancouver #coldcase

I found a glorious and heartbreaking book on ETSY at LOST BEAR STUDIO as I was searching for 1940s/50s items for my graphic novel research.

On Becoming A Woman by Harold Shryock, MD.

The information teenage women were receiving at the time regarding their physical, personal and sexual development was truly horrifying from my perspective now.  This is what makes this book one of the most frustrating and fascinating reads.  WOW.  Delicious and tragic.

And of course, the chapter on homosexuality:

ARGH!

BUT- what makes this book even more special are the margin notes by the teen, Laura H. [Full name is in the book, but for privacy, I’ll just use last initial].  It adds so much to the experience.  I wonder who she was.  Where she ended up.  What a window into this young woman’s life!

Handwritten “owners” name on the inside, as well as some notes, underlining, & check marks she made on certain sections of the book that appeared to interest her which adds to the character to the book. – LOST BEAR STUDIO

Make sure to check out other items at LOST BEAR STUDIO:

Lost Bear Studio is my Collection of Vintage finds. I collect housewares, jewelry, decor & kitsch… I love art and all things creative, colorful, upcycled, repurposed & recycled… I collect a variety of quality vintage and antique treasures. My specialty items include home decor, housewares, storage items (tins, boxes, ANYTHING with drawers) & vintage accessories and jewelry. I collect items that catch my eye, and bring them to you, in the hopes that my descriptions will give you ideas you can utilize in your own home. – A. N. Fowler, Lost Bear Studio

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  YES PLEASE!  You can donate via PAYPAL here: DONATE