Books are life rafts.  I climb into them to keep moving forward…

Books are life rafts.  I climb into them to keep moving forward when life seems in limbo and my energy is fully depleted.  Here is a sampling of those I return to repeatedly.

I return to this quote to address my subject of research and remind myself why:

A cheap Saturday night took you down.  You died stupidly and harshly and without the means to hold your own life dear.  

Your run to safety was a brief reprieve.  You brought me into hiding as your good-luck charm.  I failed you as a talisman– so I stand now as your witness.

Your death defines my life.  I want to find the love we never had and explicate it in your name.

I want to take your secrets public.  I want to burn down the distance between us.

I want to give you breath. 

– James Ellroy, My Dark Places

I return to this quote to trust and let go of attachment to outcome:

As I’ve said, falling for a suspect is a lot like the first surge of blind love in a relationship.  Focus narrows to a single face.  The world and its practical sounds are a wan soundtrack to the powerful silent biopic you’re editing in your mind at all times.  No amount of information on the object of your obsession is enough.  You crave more.  Always more…

The feast of data means there are more circumstances to bend and connect.  You’re tempted to build your villain with the abundance of pieces.  It’s understandable.  We’re pattern seekers, all of us.  We glimpse the rough outline of what we seek and we get snagged on it, sometimes remaining stuck when we could get free and move on.

– Michelle McNamara, I’ll be gone in the dark- one woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State killer

I return to this quote as a goal:

Writing a book is a strange job.

“Here you go,” a publisher says at the outset, handing you a salary of sorts, and a deadline, “we’ll see you in two years.”  And there you go indeed, in a state of high alarm, without any day-to-day ballast– no appointments, no tasks assigned each morning, no office colleagues to act as sounding boards, no clue as to what you are doing” equipped solely with a single idea, which you cling to like driftwood in a great, dark sea.”

Patricia Pearson, When she was bad: how and why women get away with murder

I robbed your grave. I revealed you.

Sometimes you find that one right quote that makes you throw the book across the room because the words are that damn good.  You wish you wrote it.  It seems written for you.  The author just fucking gets you.

I robbed your grave.  I revealed you.  I showed you in shameful moments.  I learned things about you.  Everything I learned made me love you more dearly.

I’ll learn more.  I’ll follow your tracks and invade your hidden time.  I’ll uncover your lies.  I’ll rewrite history and revise my judgment as your old secrets explode.  I will justify it all in the name of the obsessive life you gave me.

– James Ellroy, My Dark Places

For Molly

I want to take your secrets public. I want to burn down the distance between us. #Journalexercise.

She's filled with secrets. Where we're from, the birds sing a pretty song, and there's always music in the air. - Twin Peaks
She’s filled with secrets. Where we’re from, the birds sing a pretty song, and there’s always music in the air. – Twin Peaks

I have found that by being honest with my audience, I can be honest with myself and also forgive myself for imperfections- or more accurately, celebrate my imperfections.  By acknowledging secrets I can ask for help.

I want to take your secrets public.  I want to burn down the distance between us.  I want to give you breath.  – James Ellroy, My Dark Places

Today we revisit an old journal exercise.  Post Card Secrets.

Here’s a good template for your exercise:

On postcard write a secret [or many] about yourself.  Something so secretive, you’d feel really uncomfortable sharing it with the world.  Write it out.  You don’t need to show it to anyone.  It’s your choice.  Be brave.


Glue the written side down in your journal.  The secret is there- but it’s simmering underneath.

Then on the message side, write a message to the world.  

Protected by my bolita shawl, drenched with my tears. – Frida Kahlo



PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.



Eyewitness. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous


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

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

Quote by James Ellroy

Our Kickstarter campaign ends on September 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM.  Please consider donating!  LET’S DO THIS!  Love, Anna (producer) and Katarina (writer, illustrator)

See more links and posts about this cold case and the project at GRAPHIC NOVEL.





TO: –


DATE April 20th 1953

SUBJECT: Re Skeletons in the Park

D.O.                                  Jan 15-53


L. M. M.

At 10:00 am this date, with Det. G. interviewed Mrs. C at the home of her mother Mrs. S.  As a result took Mrs. C and her husband to Stanley Park where she directed us to the vicinity of the skeleton discovery and described how on Oct. 5th 1947 in co. with an Air force man she had been walking up a trail from Beaver Lake toward Prospect Point and had come upon a woman with two children.

The woman is described as 5’3-4, dark hair, fair comp. (suggesting Italian) wearing dark fur coat, full sleeves, with a scarf or something blue at the neck opening.  As they passed the woman on the trail she saw the woman was holding a small rusty hand axe in her hand and against the bosom of her coat.

She called the boy, who was ahead on the trail back to where she and the girl were standing.  The girl was described as about 7 years fair hair and pale face, wearing trousers that were drawn in at the cuff a light brown or sandy color.  The jacket of the suit appeared to be rather dirty but she thinks the same color.  The boy seemed more lively than the girl… darker complexion and wearing a reddish dirty jacket and light colored pants.  Both had dark caps, which she thinks were the kind that fastened under the chin.

Mrs. C and her companion went on to Prospect Point and then returned to the area of the Rose Gardens.  This would be about 4:30 to 5 PM.  When they were at a point where the drive divides to go under the main road, Mrs. C. drew her companion’s attention to a woman, running from the direction of the bear cages toward the promenade and although it was rather a cold afternoon the woman had no coat, a light colored sweater and skirt and had only one shoe on.  She is positive that the one shoe was flat-soled because there was no perceptible limp.

Mrs. C did not connect this woman with the one who was accompanied by the two children until she saw the pictured story in the newspapers.

At the time she saw the axe the first thought was of cutting Xmas decorations, but she discarded the idea when she realized it was only October.  She describes the woman’s voice as low and soft.

–       C. M.


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