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 on the ideas that were brought up, the magic begins as one idea flows into the next, and the creative process leads as opposed to being led.  The dots connect and coincidences become more than coincidences…

For example,

I was on the ferry headed to a wedding on Friday when suddenly, in my mind’s eye, I saw the prologue unfold in a series on visuals with a particular focus on the character’s eyes.  We see the children see…


I wrote some notes and continued to mind map when I got home today.


I put an episode of Charlie Rose on in the background…

I heard Kenneth Branagh quote a moment in Macbeth… That is a step. On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap… He emphasized and mused on the word o’oerleap and how in the context it meant the choice of murder.  I was intrigued by the word, by his take on it and how it worked well in the context of Molly.  So I looked further and searched for the moment it appears in the play:

The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires:
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be,
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. (1.4.55-60)


Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see… how wonderful!  By seeking more on o’erleap, I find a quote related to my new vision for the prologue.  Coincidence?


And so, that is a step on which… I build.

Caress the detail, the divine detail. Language play.

I don’t consider myself a writer by any means.  I am a visual artist inspired by the written word.  I love gathering sources, collecting, researching, gathering.  I love reading and feeling the creative process of the writer.  I enjoy contemplating interpretation- how small changes in presentation and how collaging and mish-mashing can alter meaning and message and how written language and visual language play similarly.


I love the DETAILS.  I love how language dances through alignment and placement.  Take for example in the song, Take a Break from Hamilton (at 2:19):

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Aw, jeez!  This kind of DETAIL reinforces my love of the creative process!

I also perseverate on the notion of stripping away- how taking away a word or adding a word alters meaning and delivery.  Sometimes this fascination hinders my flow when reading a book!  For example,  I was sitting on the subway in Toronto last Sunday evening heading to Kipling and started reading Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace.

There on page 21, I couldn’t help but stop.

[The visitors] are like swans, drifting along on unseen feet; or else like the jellyfish in the waters of the rocky harbour near our house…

The use of the word “like” sidetracked me and I gleefully went on an a tangents, playing with removing it and adding it back.

They are like swans…  


They are swans, drifting along on unseen feet; or the jellyfish in the waters of the rocky harbour near our house…

Oh that is fun.  The delivery is so different.  And alters the intent.

They are like jellyfish.  They are jellyfish.



I am thinking about the young man in Toronto who entertained us (last week at the hotel bar) with a brilliance that shone through despite his alcohol haze.  With remarkable passion, he recited lengthy pieces of Shakespeare and, intriguingly, found himself repeatedly stuck on the meaning and delivery of … but soft… in Romeo and Juliet.

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

He testified that Romeo is in a sense “stalking” Juliet and that spying on her could be played more creepy.  He argued (convincingly) that Romeo’s sentence that starts with but soft is actually a line that starts MID SENTENCE- that Romeo simply starts speaking at mid sentence.  It is quite a lovely argument and does affect how the scene can be played.

Oooo, I kind of love it!

Caress the detail, the divine detail. – Vladimir Nabokov


The permanent analogy of things by images which participate in the life of truth.



“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


What am I trying to convey in my work?  Is it of value?  Does it matter?

I remind myself that it doesn’t, that it CANNOT MATTER how I “fit in” to current zeitgeist or if my work has “value.”  I just do it.

It is a biological function.

PROCESS is my art form, obsessive ongoing process, either when teaching it, facilitating it, doing it.

So there in lies what MATTERS.  The PROCESS.

Process art is an artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment where the end product of art and craft, the objet d’art, is not the principal focus. The ‘process’ in process art refers to the process of the formation of art: the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, patterning, and moreover the initiation of actions and proceedings.

Process art is concerned with the actual doing and how actions can be defined as an actual work of art; seeing the art as pure human expression. Process art often entails an inherent motivation, rationale, and intentionality. Therefore, art is viewed as a creative journey or process, rather than as a deliverable or end product. – Wiki

I have come to terms with the fact that my particular imagery is a stream of consciousness process.  I suppose I am interpreting text in my illustration projects, but it seems more that I land on a particular word or phrase and play from there.  So the resulting image becomes a type of riff or image play.

Fleshy Tomb

I have tried other ways to work, but only my personal stream of consciousness expression makes me feel authentic.

I am thoroughly enjoying Caroline Spurgeon’s book, Shakespeare’s Imagery- and what it tells us (1935) as she contemplates the evidence of Shakespeare’s thoughts in his imagery.

The bare fact that germinating seeds of falling leaves are actually another expression of the processes we see at work in human life and death, thrills me, as it must others, with a sense of being here in presences of a great mystery, which could we only understand it, would explain life and death itself.

Babes in the Wood

For me, drawing and embroidering the drawings is to lie down into life and take time to look at the PROCESS as it slowly unfolds.  It is about TRUTH.

I would actually argue that the current art period is PROCESS.


… the permanent analogy of things by images which participate in the life of truth… – Percy Bysshe Shelley

Check out:

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And which is what I think the thing that we call the Arts contains something that’s kind of alive. And I, I think image is the right word for it, and what the biological function of this thing we call the images or the arts might be. Because my argument is we wouldn’t of dragged it through all our evolutionary stages unless it had a biological function. So, that’s kind of what I’m going to be talking about. And then, work that I’ve been doing with students and scientists about this very thing. Weinman so I think, you know, when we’re little all of us are really connected to our inner artist and then the majority of us, as we get older, cut that off. – Lynda Barry




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Magical thinking. Will you go?

Sometimes a little magical thinking can ease the restless soul.  Where do you go?  I go into the forest and dream of angels.  I let go of reality.  I trust, I surrender and I rest.

Go with me to it and I’ll show it you and by the way
you shall tell me where in the forest you live.
Will you go?

– Shakespeare

1. b. Forest Angel 2



Molly- a graphic novel and the 5-act structure. #showyourwork

I have been intuiting to structure Molly into 5 sections.  I scratch on the back of books, in their margins, in my journal, on napkins…


It’s a fascinating process to try to organize the research and fit it all into pertaining sections.



Eyewitness, in the park 1947, comes forward 1953
Eyewitness, in the park 1947, comes forward 1953


My friend, writer Matt Roy, suggested I look into the 5-act structure of Shakespeare:


It’s proving to be very helpful:


Family secret
Family secret


Molly- A Graphic Novel Trailer

Editor, cinematography: Julian Bowers

Writer, researcher, illustrator: Katarina Thorsen