On January 15, 2017, I launched the first chapter of the third draft of my experimental graphic novel: Molly- a true crime analysis.
Birds have been a recurring theme throughout the work. It is difficult to explain their symbolism fully, but to me they carry messages across space and time.
I spent Dec 31, 2017-Jan 1, 2018 drawing birds for a particular image I wanted for Part 22 and in order to end and start the new year working on the book. The drawing process was a joy but I was surprised at how loud my inner critic was, how sad I became, how I questioned the validity of the book, the point.
I danced with the critic though, didn’t fight the darkness that welled up, and continued to put china marker to paper and wheatpaste to canvas until I felt done.
MOLLY- A TRUE CRIME ANALYSIS
This true crime/cold case/murder mystery art project has been part of my life since 2003, though I know I was born to write and illustrate it.
“The image of a dead bird in the snow is similar to the popular “Babe in the Woods” motif of children who are in their mortal sleep in the forest, and may have likewise been a call to empathy for the less fortunate.”
No doubt my collection of 300 + journals, sketchbooks and image-idea files are filled with more sad rants than with positive day-to-day activities.
For many of us, our journals are a safe harbour in which to deposit racing thoughts- a place of privacy in which to address the darkness that we all struggle with from time to time.
This blog is often that safe journaling haven for me.
It is a way for me to demystify the darkness for myself- and thereby, perhaps, demystify it for my readers as well. Maybe, by sharing the good, along with the bad, I bring some lightness in and create connection.
Dead sparrow found outside the LGH cafeteria, 2012:
It is evident that the journal was a depository of ramblings to quiet the brain- at the time I felt INSANE and incoherent- but now in retrospect I actually seem to make some sense. Though I want to yell at the woman I was then- for I seemed incapable of seeing the truth behind what was happening, I can now see that I, in the end, worked through to the truth on my own- I worked it out. I GOT IT.
So can we look at these sad rants in a new way? Read between the lines and yes- accept the words for their face value, but try to find the positive?
For example, on March 2, 2016, I wrote:
What if I stopped caring about ANYTHING?
This can be read, and indeed it was written during a panic attack, as alarming. But really- is it not simply about SURRENDER?
Maybe it goes the other way as well. Maybe by looking past the positive veneer, peeling it back, we can perhaps get some answers as to what is really lurking underneath.
… through the sunny cellophane of which not very appetizing frustrations can be readily distinguished. – Vladimir Nabokov
Of course, let’s not forget that sometimes positive is actually positive, and negative is just really about a shitty sad day- nothing more, nothing less!
The key, I feel, is to spew it out, record it, acknowledge it and, if so inclined, take time to look at it in a different way.
Anyway, I am rambling here. Not sad ranting– rambling. But today, I want to celebrate my not very anonymous sad rants. I celebrate that I am driven to put pen to paper!
The crow guides my healing journey. It gives me the courage to enter the darkness of the unknown and to let go of fear. The crow reminds me to laugh, live and love fiercely as I embrace my life’s mission. According to folk lore, finding a dead crow implies good fortune awaits. I feel they also give us pause to celebrate the beautiful spiral of:
the void-birth-life-death-the void-rebirth…
As you may already know from previous posts, dead birds are a continuous visual theme in my graphic novel, Molly. They are a metaphor for loss of freedom and the struggles the main character faces in her short life.