There are times of no ideas… – Lynda Barry (but there is always process)

Daily disciplined connection with my journal maintains my creative process and even though the entries are seemingly unrelated to my writing project… … they cleanse my brain and I am more driven to write as I stay in flow…

Ut Pictura Poesis- the narrative potential of the drawing

I draw pictures. I imagine storylines. I imagine a narrative, a comic, a screenplay… There is nothing quite as on target as the prose I write in my mind when on the bus- whilst staring out the window to deal with motion sickness, taking in the landscape. But alas, those musings instantly disappear as soon…

One must not be too romantic about madness…

Feeling burned out today from my bread and butter work, I decided to ignore my entire to-do list this evening, decided to not to catch up on things, to ignore prepping for the rest of the week. Instead– I got my hands dirty, dove back into my research into mental health treatment 1940’s to 60’s…

Nature moves through carcasses…

Illustrating decomposition by allowing the newsprint to deteriorate over several years and for the dead bird to slowly be encompassed by embroidered roots and the dark. The process continues. Check out:

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

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…

Tuesday November 6, 1947

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 6, 1947 MOLLY, A GRAPHIC NOVEL– my now 15+ years passion project– continues at the drawing board and at the writing desk and in my heart, with new developments, insights and directions behind the scenes.  Some announcements in the new year. NOTE: this is a work of creative non-fiction inspired by true facts, evidence and…

The New Year’s Drawing Marathon

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,…

30 strange chapters completed.

I am workshopping my true crime graphic novel online. 30 strange chapters completed. I am working on the 31st today. Then 15 to go. I am sure it is all as confusing as a Twin Peaks episode! The online workshopping method helps me get perspective.  Laying out ALL the information for editing it down and re-drawing…

Celebrating 95 pages with a vulnerability hangover…

I am workshopping my graphic novel through a weekly online serial. So far… we have been witnessed a crime: Looked at the original headlines: I’ve introduced my involvement (more to come): And travelled to Ireland to get our first glimpse at the main character: Molly’s and The Babes in the Wood timeline are now starting…

The best things in life are free…

Sitting here, surrounded by drawings and notes and cold coffee in multiple cups… butterflies in the stomach… I want to honor Molly, who reached out through space and time and chose me to tell her story and my muse, Jocelyn Louise, who has so generously lent herself to represent my vision of Molly— and to celebrate…

My weekly serial format serves as a means to workshop the graphic novel…

My Molly site mollygraphicnovel.com launches with Part 1A on Sunday. The work is presented in an experimental form. I will simply allow the creative process to unfold. THIS WEEKLY SERIAL FORMAT serves as a means to workshop* the graphic novel. *Workshop production: … a form of theatrical performance, in which a play or musical is…

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…

Around 3 am… I felt a tap on my shoulder.

Around 3 am yesterday morning (November 19) I woke up because I felt a tap on my shoulder. More like a double jab. On my right shoulder. It felt so real— I just knew it was a message regarding Molly but it didn’t even feel like her- felt like a male presence. Like he was telling…

I am a star, glimpsed through a sideways glance.

Working notes, Molly, a True Crime Analysis

Digging deeper, the secrets become aviatic.

  Working on Molly, and I remain fascinated that I find it easier to dig deeper into the story by using the image of birds.   Somehow, the layers that obscure the truth are scraped away a little easier.   Are the birds metaphors?  My guides? I robbed your grave.  I revealed you.  I showed you in shameful moments….

“I recall a childhood dream…” with visual storytelling.

  Toying with creative process. Thumbnail sketches and experimenting with storyboarding the PREFACE (preamble) portion of Molly, a true crime analysis: RECALL:     

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….

A dream- the dead cygnet. A message from Molly.

A message from Molly?  Questioning my commitment to see this story through?  I am on the path.  I promise stay on it. I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan, Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death, And from the organ-pipe of frailty sings His soul and body to their lasting rest. –…

First line… let’s go.

Recall:  I sit now surrounded by my manuscripts, references, inspiration and pressing fingertips to keys and (re)typing.  (Re)COMMITMENT!  This version will be from the pelvis.  First chakra shit. Yesterday, I posted: Start again. Put China markers and socks and threaded needles down. Write, bitch, write. There is no beginning.  I’ve tried to invent one but it…

Rejection letter from publisher? Despair? No- liberation.

I have been awaiting word from a significant publisher who has been considering my passion project- Molly, a true crime analysis. The book is not finished.  I am re-writing the manuscript, and still drawing- but thanks to my agent, Peter Breeze, we have been creating a buzz and were quite elated to be contacted earlier this…

That is a step on which… #creativeprocess

I was working on my Molly project today— contemplating a slightly new format, to reconstruct the prologue.  The idea came out of the first weekly mini writer’s retreat that I started last Monday with my soul-sister, Patti Henderson: Patti encouraged me to attack the material in a new way. I love how collaborative dialogue can push, pull, inspire.  Afterwards, perseverating…

It is important now for me to honor this call for retreat. #creativeprocess

I sense it is time to really retreat in between work schedules and ensure cave time to focus on my passion project: Molly, a true crime analysis.  Seek solitude, writes Delacroix.  I hear you.  I am in a fantastic place regarding the project- she feels ripe, ready, eager.  Through a tear in the fabric of time…

The objects are the context from which I draw clues.

What happens when a case is very old, when much of its physical evidence is deteriorated or destroyed, and its main players long deceased?  How do we investigate? For me it is all about the historical context. When I work on Molly, I step into the 1940’s through books, research, primary sources.  And I do it…

Special sale: Dead Bird Collection- embroidered drawings

I am a BIG BIG fan of symbology, imagery and metaphor.  I feed on it like some kind of voracious vampire.   As I was collecting a few books from my personal library to donate to our local community mini library, I pulled out an old book I had forgotten about.   Oh, how I love…

The importance of the vintage photograph as creative resource.

  There is no end to the inspiration I get from looking at vintage photographs- through immersion comes awakened imagination. The central characters in my graphic novel are real people but as I am doing an artistic interpretation of real events, I revel in the freedom to flesh out the central characters using old photos as a…

The boarding pass lies within the double helix…

I had a bit of a silly dream last night. I write, silly because, unlike the dream, I usually get to the airport three hours ahead of time for a domestic flight.  I am already fretting about the upcoming 6:30 AM flight on June 19 when I head back to Toronto for more creative community…

The timeless/spaceless mid zone of creative process and chatting with the dead…

There is a beautiful part of my creative process that I cherish- the part that allows me to dialogue with my parents as if they are here in my kitchen, sharing coffee and offering advice and dialoguing on the cold case.  I had some magical moments the other day as I pulled out old binders…

Embroidered drawings and forensic taphonomy

My passion project, Molly- a true crime analysis, centres around a 63 year old Vancouver cold case. On January 15, 1953, the skeletal remains of two children were found in the forest of Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  The victims became known as the Babes in the Wood.  The physical evidence indicated that the children were killed…

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….

The Sparrow’s Feet.

I was gifted some delicate Sparrow feet from my friend, Hannah. — They immediately inspired a portrait of my main character, Molly: “How does one respond to a nurturant monster? What archetype do we possess for that?” – Patricia Pearson — Why the obsession?  Why bird feet?  Why dead birds?  Why the sparrow?  Why does…

Daisy’s dilemma. 1947 and dark Disney imagery.

My current book project, Molly, is a creative non-fiction tragedy that centres around a suicide in 1947. Suicides were well publicized back then, often featured on the front pages of newspapers. Searching online images “suicide, 1947,” the image that inevitably comes up is the photo titled “the most beautiful suicide“- a haunting and iconic image. But as…

The 5 W’s. #Molly #GraphicNovel #Process

Working on Molly. Keep at it. Revise manuscript. Organize the collected research. Walk around the lagoon.  Think think think.  Massage the timeline. Spend hours in the coffee shop.  Keep massaging that timeline. Rewrite introduction. Add it to the private presentation site. Work on treatment and elevator pitch. Review the theme of the month: committed choice. Spend hours,…

Using Braid Theory to explain triple timeline. #Molly #graphicnovel

It has taken me years to create a structure for Molly that could combine two stories that run both parallel to each other and have intriguing connections. Massive research needs to be formatted in a cohesive way, yet allow for a compelling narrative. Currently, three timelines run through Molly  and eventually braid together converging in…

Ok, Molly, I’ll eat a shit sandwich for you.

I had a very anxious week last week.  It was a crawl to the finish line.  It was a mix of grief, self-doubt, money stuff, fearing I don’t have what it takes to succeed in this life, blah blah blah.  It’s familiar, having suffered from anxiety all my life.  But last week was particularly hard….

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain… Birds, metaphors, graphic novel, experiments

— Central to my graphic novel is the intensity of anxiety and severe depression while drowning in circumstance, highlighted through the metaphor of birds. — — Here are some experiments from the past weekend:      I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,  And Mourners to and fro… – Emily Dickinson

A marker for Molly

I do not take my work on Molly lightly.  I respect that her story is a tragic one.  I respect 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…

it should be a nightmare, but somehow, it isn’t. Instead, I am filled with curiosity…

I am a bit lost these days.  Spinning in place the last few weeks.   I know the spinning comes from diving into the past for a certain personal project.  The triggers pull the rug out from under me. And so I freeze, bite my nails, feel exhausted. Yet at peace… strangely.  For I am ready. I…

Stick to the facts in the text, avoid assumptions, yet draw conclusions.

In my current project, Molly, I use mainly primary sources and secondary sources such as news articles, as well as well-vetted research in order to build the story around the cold case. The drawings are then freely inspired from the research, i.e. they are an artistic interpretation. I can combine my research to build portraits….

1940’s kitchen. The importance of historical context cont.)

Recall the importance of historical context for my graphic novel research in my post yesterday: LINK. As the story is mainly set in the 1940’s, I find myself fascinated by the 1940’s kitchen. — — — Afterwards, they always had tea in the kitchen, much the nicest room in the house. – Flora Thompson — Make sure…

The importance of historical context in an investigative story

  What happens when a case is very old, when much of its physical evidence is deteriorated or destroyed, and its main players long deceased?  How do we investigate? For me it is all about the historical context. I interviewed Dr. David Sweet, forensic odontologist, on the importance of historical context in solving the 1953 Stanley Park cold…

“What do we know?” Drawing conclusions from the facts. #graphicnovel

My graphic novel is more of an illustrated thesis rather than pure graphic novel.  My words are based in fact.  The drawings are where I can take a leap of faith- a surrealistic interpretation. It is creative non-fiction.  I literally DRAW conclusions based on the evidence at hand.  That is my artistic take on it.  But the story…

Recycled sock craft: dead crow. #Graphicnovel fundraiser. 

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…

Autopsy and the somewhat autobiographical nature of my graphic novel

I have been on a bit of blog-haitus of late.  Just experienced an amazing pull back into the past as a dear friend spent 9 days here visiting from Sweden.  We dove deep.  Real deep.  Drenched in Swedish.  Endless necessary exhilarating conversation. Fully open and torn open- finding old wounds long hidden- releasing them. Reflecting…

Limited edition hand-embroidered print sale #graphicnovel

— I am making available 10 hand-embroidered prints entitled Who is it that can tell me who I am? featuring an original image from my graphic novel, Molly. —  — The print captures the moment a crow, the magician of the forest, adorned by a child’s skull as a crown, looks, with intense curiosity, into Lost Lagoon…

“Crime Scene” creative process #graphicnovel

   — “CRIME SCENE” Testing chapter heading visuals for: Molly, my graphic novel. Creating on nickels and dimes. ‪ “… even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell.” – Pablo ‪Picasso‬ I can’t stop despite money worries and fatigue-inducing insecurities… Can I pull this off?…

ART SALE: Graphic Novel Paper Dress and Update

So the theme of the month of May was, according to the Power Path, NEW ALIGNMENT. We have been shaken, rattled, taken apart, and sideswiped by the unexpected. We have had to accept change and embrace the unknown. The eclipses of March and April affected us on a very deep level, with core issues needing…

VANCAF reflections Part 2 of 6: @VERWHO and Towerkind on @ConundrumCanada

  Fabulous afternoon at VanCaf Day 1- the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival last Saturday! I have broken down some highlights from my visit into 6 blog posts: 1. Julian Lawrence, Drippy the Newsboy, Conundrum Press: BLOG LINK Update: Julian’s book is a FABULOUS READ and VISUAL FEAST!  Truly the kind of comic you read lying in the grass under a…

Molly Teresa O’Dwyer April 25, 1924 #familytree

I know that my heart will be forever in this suspended animation, as I live entwined in their circumstance. Molly, a graphic novel —

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

— 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…

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

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

Boundary- a new comic by Emily Cowan

I am so excited that Vancouver artist, Emily Cowan, has now launched her extraordinary comic BOUNDARY online! BOUNDARY is a long-form comic about being stuck, difficult families, changing friendships and the different kinds of boundaries in our lives.  Mostly though, it’s about adolescent frustration and the unbearable tragedy that is being fifteen.   The worst part of…

Writing is usually a process of elimination until… I don’t know- nothing is really there.

When walking my dog, I usually carry a book. Sometimes I read the book voraciously as Tobey walks at will. Sometimes I just carry the book- reassured that should Armageddon occur, I will find myself seated amidst the chaos- casually reading- because now I have time. Sometimes I just read a sentence or two- inspired…

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

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…

Same image, different context. What is the truth? #molly #graphicnovel

I took down my “working wall” for my graphic novel, Molly. I am planning to put up a cork wall to start creating the Molly AUTOPSY image I imagine. The story of Molly will unfold in the various peel-backs of the autopsy, while at the same time following a 5 act structure. It strikes me…

Circumstantial. Putting the research together.

Circumstantial evidence is evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of fact—like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly—i.e., without need for any additional evidence or inference. On its own, it is the nature of circumstantial evidence for more than one explanation to still be…

“After a sixty-foot plunge off the Georgia Viaduct…” Nov 6, 1947 10:15 AM. Molly, a graphic novel.

MOLLY, A GRAPHIC NOVEL NOTE: this is a work of creative non-fiction inspired by true facts, evidence and events.  It is an artistic interpretation and no more than that.

Molly, a graphic novel IN 5 ACTS #showyourwork

Molly, a graphic novel IN 5 ACTS Installment 1: EXPOSITIONSYMPATHY THE BABES IN THE WOOD1953-2013 Installment 2: RISING ACTIONCONCERN THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE1953 Cold case, unidentified The suspect Installment 3: CLIMAXSUSPENSE FILICIDE – SUICIDECIRCUMSTANCE 1940’S OCT 5, 1947 Installment 4: FALLING ACTIONREST MOLLY O’DWYER TIMELINE1924-1947 Installment 5: RESOLUTION/CATASTROPHESATISFACTION THE CRIMEOCT 5, 1947 THE SUICIDE NOV 6,…

Why use seemingly unrelated vintage photographs as sources for a true crime story?

There is no end to the inspiration I get from looking at vintage photographs- through immersion comes awakened imagination. The central characters in my graphic novel are real people but as I am doing an artistic interpretation of real events, I revel in the freedom to flesh out the central characters using old photos as a starting…