Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2013

Yesterday, the 27h of May, marked my five-year anniversary with ME… which leads me to talking about why I call it ME verses the multitude of other names given to it, in addition to introducing my latest photo on the subject which you can WIN a print of!  Make sure you read all the way to the end to find out how to enter 🙂

Vanity's Murder

A detail shot from my new photo

I’ve been wanting to address this for some time and it just keeps getting pushed down to the bottom of my blog to-do list.  But my anniversary seemed like a good time to bring it up.   In the United States, we call ME by a whole host of other names; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia (fibro), chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), Chronic Epstein-Barr virus (CEBV), and most insultingly, the “yuppie flu.”  Luckily we seem to have mostly left the “yuppie flu” label behind us, but many of the other names are not much better.  Calling it Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been likened to calling tuberculosis “Chronic Coughing Syndrome,” or stomach cancer “Chronic Upset Tummy.”  The names are not indicative of what’s really happening in our bodies.  They are trivializing and patronizing.

I like myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), which is what most of the rest of the world calls it.  It literally means “inflammation of the brain and spinal cord with muscle pain.”  This at least hints more accurately at what may be going on.  Muscle pain is one of the defining characteristics of reaching that diagnosis (as I can personally attest to; I woke up nearly weeping from muscle pain after a strenuous shoot yesterday) and the evidence is suggesting more and more that this is ultimately a neurological condition.  ME at least doesn’t carry the negative connotations of the other names; people are generally under the assumption that they are not “real” diseases.

In Between Awake And Asleep

In Between Awake And Asleep

I should be perfectly clear that there is still a tremendous amount of controversy over what name to give us, and if they really are all more or less the same disease.  I genuinely believe they are the same disease from everything I’ve seen and read, but there will be many who do not agree with me.  However, since the entire reason the US broke off from the rest of the world’s name in the 1980’s was to create an insurance loophole so companies could deny coverage to patients… I am reluctant to believe what anyone on that side of the table claims.

So I call it ME, though since it is a lesser-known name here in the US, I’ll often consent to referring to it as ME/CFS.  Meeting the names halfway, so to speak.

As I said, yesterday was my five-year anniversary with ME, although the signs were certainly starting to form years before that.  I was unnaturally tired all the time, I got sick and injured easily and seemed to have a little more trouble healing.  But since I barely knew ME existed, and I was young, in my late teens and early twenties, I figured it would pass.  You think horses, not zebras; you don’t automatically jump to the conclusion that you have a strange, little-known disease.

A Fading Girl

A Fading Girl

Some of you have heard the story of how I became acutely sick with ME before, so I will try and just hit the high points.  Five years ago Geoff and I went out to lunch.  We’d been dating for exactly a month.  After lunch, I felt tired so I laid down and took a nap.  When I woke up, my stomach was very upset and I thought I had food poisoning.  Though it wasn’t pleasant, I figured it would pass quickly.  Several days later I still felt nauseous, so I saw a doctor who was very unconcerned about me and suggested I take some Pepto Bismol.  How helpful.  Over the next several days the pain in my stomach gradually changed from an all-encompassing gripping, nauseous pain to an extremely sharp and localized pain in my right flank.  Appendicitis? I wondered.  The pain was higher than would be classic, but it was so sharp, extreme and had come on so suddenly, I worried nonetheless.

After 10 days of pain and nausea, I finally saw a good doctor.  They determined pretty quickly that it wasn’t my appendix, ordered an ultrasound and a LOT of bloodwork (the only reason I didn’t faint was because I was sitting down, but I felt bad enough to wish I’d fainted.)  Everything came back normal.  They thought it must be a kidney infection, so I took the antibiotics, glad that we had figured out what was wrong and that I’d be over it soon.  But the treatment didn’t do anything; I still felt terrible.

That same story repeated and repeated over the next few years.  For a long time it was thought that my crazy flank pain and my fatigue were two separate problems; at this point, I believe the evidence indicates they both stem from the same cause.  I have undergone more tests and procedures than I care to remember, I have tried every food and supplement imaginable; every Western and alternative approach.  Occasionally I find something that helps even fractionally, and I cling to it like a drowning girl.

When I think back on this time, I feel like what was happening in my body is best expressed by this scene from Akira, near the end of the movie.

Tetsuo's grim end.

Tetsuo’s grim end.

My body seemed to completely fall apart and spiral out of control, with me stuck in the middle of i.  Up until then, I had been quite consistent with doing Pilates and yoga, and enjoyed their effects on my body.  I ate pretty well, I didn’t smoke, drink or do any drugs.  I felt like I was doing things right.  But when ME finally hit, none of that mattered any more.  My body became a disgusting, horrible prison with a mind of its own, seemingly bent against me in every way.  And the fact that almost none of this showed outwardly made it even worse.  One of the things I hear from other ME people as being the most frustrating thing is having people say to them, “You don’t look sick.”  It’s true, often we don’t (until you get into the very dire, extreme cases of ME) but inwardly, that movie clip is what I felt was happening to me.

Thankfully, the flank pain has been reigned in somewhat over the years through arduous nerve-blocking injections, although it never truly goes away.  And we still have absolutely no idea what’s actually causing the pain in the first place.  But since it used to feel like I had a shard of glass trapped inside my abdomen, I’m very grateful for every bit of pain chipped away from it.  The fatigue and muscle/tendon/anything-but-my-flank pains have all gotten steadily worse over the past five years.

The Fog Rolls In

The Fog Rolls In

My life has become smaller and quieter each year in response to the unreasonable demands of my body, only to have it ask for even more.  To a degree, it’s generally agreed that staying as active as possible is best; that “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”  This is tempered with one of the few things known with absolute certainty about ME: if you continually push yourself past what you can handle, you WILL get worse.  And it can get much, much worse than what I experience.

The UK documentary Voices From The Shadows paints an uncomfortably vivid picture of how bad ME can really get.  It shows people completely bed-bound, in constant, wracking pain, despite morphine drips, eyes continually covered as they are unable to endure even sunlight filtered through curtains.  Ears always protected with earplugs because they are so sensitive to sound.  From my end of things, going to the grocery store is only barely tolerable.  All the light and noise, oh the cacophony of noise… people talking, carts wheeling, plastic crinkling, children crying, music playing, announcements made… I genuinely dread the necessary trip each week.  And if I feel that way about it when my case of ME is one of the mildest diagnosable forms, I can hardly imagine the miserable existence the poor souls with severe ME endure.

Unjust

Unjust

I don’t want to have to know what severe ME feels like first-hand.  So I keep trying treatments and supplements.  I modify my bedtime, my sleep habits and try to rest as much as possible, without giving up any of the physical ability I still have.  I try to do gentle yoga and do more walking, which I can also use as time to scout locations.  My family and friends all know that any plans made are subject to the whims of my body and I may have to cancel at the last minute.  Very, very thankfully, they have all been extremely understanding and supportive.  It’s a hard enough battle to fight your body every day; I am sorry for those who also have to fight with their loved ones too.

People not understanding is at the core of our problems.  The medical community that doesn’t understand what our disease is or how to help us.  The public, who have been led to believe our disease is not valid.  And we ourselves who are trapped in these confusing, maddening bodies that seem to be actively working against us.

Breakable

Breakable

Luckily, I do believe the tide is finally starting to turn.  More and more noise is being made about ME, and we are starting to get even a little bit of recognition and validation.  More research is being dedicated to finding out what’s really going on in our bodies.  I try to maintain a balance between being open to changes coming and breakthroughs being made without actually hoping for them.  The disappointment is too great when they don’t pan out.

Through it all, the highs and lows, the dinners I can attend and the ones I have to stay home from, the times I weep from pain and frustration and the days I walk easily through meadows, I have my art.  I’m sure you’ve all heard me talk about my Enchanted Sleep series, photos from which are scattered through this post, and how I use my photos to portray what living with ME is like.  Art has helped me keep my sanity through these last five years.  It’s something I can do, not just in a metaphoric sense and raising awareness, but it’s physically something I can do.  Walking through the woods scouting locations is good for me, body and soul.  I can still edit even when I need to lay down (which is frequent) since I work on a laptop.  Sometimes muscle or tendon pain in my right arm or wrist will force me to stop for a few days or weeks, and those are always agitating times.  I want to be creating.  That is where my soul finds meaning and pleasure.

Spoon Theory

Spoon Theory

It’s been a rough five years.  But it’s also brought some incomparable joys to my life; my discovery of photography, for example.  And most importantly, Geoff.  Geoff who stuck by me when I became very ill after we’d only known each other for two months, and been dating one month.  Lesser men would have run.  He has supported and loved me every step on this tricky road, and is always there in the dark moments when I want to give up.  He gently pulls me up and sets my feet going again.  I am so incredibly grateful for him.

To be honest, I have been depressed with this anniversary looming ahead of me.  I have heard that if you don’t go into remission within the first five years, you’re never going to.  And while intellectually I realize that’s a pretty ridiculous, sweeping statement to make (how could anyone possibly know that when we don’t even know what it is we have?) it’s made this date feel even gloomier.  I am choosing to not believe that I will automatically never go into remission, simply because it hasn’t happened yet… but it’s also ok for me to feel sad.  It’s ok for me to mourn the things I have lost.  It’s ok for me to have bad days when I just cry and burrow under the covers all day.  It’s ok to be human and have emotions.

Mourning For Things Lost

Mourning For Things Lost

I work hard at my art, not only because it’s so deeply satisfying, but because it’s something I hope to make a career out of.  Means of employment get fewer and fewer for me every year, but I can do art.  It’s a way for me to earn money and contribute to my family’s income, things very important to my sense of identity.

I think this is going to be a good year for my art.  Not only with my recent good news, but other things are starting to happen too.  I think this is going to work.  But please feel free to support my work and pick up some blank greeting cards, limited edition prints or sign up for my online self-discovery-through-photography course.  🙂

Each journey through ME is different.  This is just my story.  I can only hope that by telling it, it adds another drop to the sea of change coming and will bring us a tiny bit closer to recognition and a cure.

Longing For Better Days

Longing For Better Days

I’ll just say a few words about my latest Enchanted Sleep photo, Vanity’s Murder.   My hair has always been quite fine and refused to grow any longer than my shoulders.  No matter what I did, how often I did or didn’t cut it, nothing changed that.  While it’s always annoyed me, since I would love to grow it romantically long, it was a fact of my life that it never would.  A few months ago, I thought my hair seemed a little shorter, but I dismissed the thought.  It kept nagging at the back of my mind though, even though I hadn’t gotten it cut in months.  Finally, I looked at a photo of me from about six months ago and I was shocked by the proof of how much shorter my hair was; nearly down to chin-length.

I went in to my doctor, since hair thinning and loss is a possible side effect of almost every medication I take, but he suspected it was a response to stress, not medication.  I finally made an appointment to see my fantastic hair guy (Hurley, at The Hair Pyrates).  He agreed that the loss was probably stress-related too, but importantly mentioned that the hair I’m seeing now first started growing four to five years ago… and I think we can all agree that I started undergoing a great deal of new stress five years ago.

After everything ME has taken from my life, all the things it’s made me give up, my hair just felt like the absolute last straw.  I had no idea how much of my feminine identity was tied into my hair until its existence felt threatened.

The good thing about stress-induced hair loss is that it’s usually pretty reversible, at least in theory.   At Hurley and my doctor’s suggestions, I started taking a hair, skin and nails supplement and I was startled by how quickly I saw a difference.  It still has a ways to go, but I’m so grateful that it is coming back.  Worrying about my hair may seem like a very superficial, frivolous thing, but it wasn’t to me.  It was about having one more thing taken away from me, it was about losing control over another big factor of how I appear to the world, and the things that contribute to my identity.  There is so much about ME that is outside of my control.  I am very thankful that this time, I could fight back, and actually win a little.  Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.

Vanity's Murder

Vanity’s Murder

Vanity's Murder - detail

Vanity’s Murder – detail

Vanity's Murder

Vanity’s Murder – detail

Vanity's Murder

Vanity’s Murder – detail

Vanity's Murder

Vanity’s Murder – detail

Lastly, let me tell you about how you can win a signed and numbered limited-edition print of Vanity’s Murder!  The very kind people heading up the ME and You fundraiser were very receptive when I wrote them and offered to donate a print to their cause if it would help them.  And while I’m sure they have more than enough on their plates, they quickly came up with a way to do this!  Want a chance to win the print?  Follow the directions below!

  • Click on the ME and You button below and donate whatever amount you can through the big yellow “Donate” button on their site.
  • Leave a comment on this post saying that you donated and mention that you’re entering to win Vanity’s Murder, as several artists are doing similar giveaways.  Make sure that the name you leave in your comment matches your Paypal name!
  • Leave a message for the ME and You people during your Paypal  checkout, again stating that you’re entering to win Vanity’s Murder.
  • A winner will be randomly selected on June 6th and I will announce the winner here!

Click here to donate!!

That’s it!   This is such a win-win situation; the cause is so worthy and someone will get a beautiful print as well.  🙂  For anyone who missed it, the amazing people at ME and You are trying to raise funds to do further testing of a new drug that has shown real promise in helping to cure ME.  This is something we absolutely must study more, and hopefully, within a few years it will be approved and people all over the world will be able to try it.  And just maybe, some of them will go into total remission like some of the people who it’s been tested on.

Remission.  I can hardly imagine what that would feel like.  But I would love to find out.  If you can, please consider donating to this great cause.  And thank you very much!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It has come to my attention that there is a new drug being tested in Norway that has shown great promise so far in treating ME/CFS.  To my knowledge, this is the first drug that has shown persistent, repeatable improvement in patients – even going so far as to sending some patients into full remission.  It seems like even the most successful cases eventually needed to have the drug re-administered, by my god, even if it were something we had to have injected a few times a year, to have anything that would help, even fractionally, let alone full remission, would be an absolute miracle.

There is a fundraiser going on to try and crowd-source funding for the next phase of drug trials.  If you can at all help, please do.  Even it’s a few years before the drug trickles down to actually reaching patients, just having that in our future would make such a difference.  I’ll have a bit more to say about this in the next few days, but for now, please join me in giving what you can.   And thank you so very much!

MEpress_image1

* * * * *

I’ve noticed more and more flowers creeping into my work recently, and I’m not entirely sure why that is… or if it even matters.  Some of it certainly has a great deal to do with particular DreamWorld characters you will meet in the future, but they are cropping up in non-DreamWorld images too.  I could spend a long time analyzing why that is, but I’m not sure I need to.  Sometimes you just have to let things grow as they will.

I gave an interview recently and stated that I never shoot an image simply for the sake of taking a pretty picture.  They always have meaning to me.  This last photo was the closest I have ever come to taking a photo simply for the sake of beauty, although I knew there was some underlying meaning… I just had to figure out what my subconscious was trying to tell me.  Artists need to have faith in themselves and their visions; if they don’t, who will?

I’d had a vision of a girl holding an umbrella filled with flowers pouring down on her, so I set out to make such an umbrella.  As usual, I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I got started.  I had a good umbrella, and I had flowers left over from a few other projects, including this one.  Even though I almost always manage to buy them on some kind of sale, fake flowers are one of the most expensive props I buy, so I try and mitigate the cost by using them as many times and ways as possible.

In my vision, I very, very clearly saw wisteria hanging down, perhaps because I had recently been to the garden center where I lusted after a very expensive wisteria plant.  But I did not have any fake wisteria.  It seems to grow quite rampantly around here, and I toyed with the idea of simply asking an owner of an overly enthusiastic plant if I could cut some off… but ugh.  Talking to strangers.  Talking to strangers and asking them immediately for favors.  No.  I couldn’t do it.  Have I mentioned recently how shy and introverted I am in real life?  So I buckled down and found some reasonably-priced, realistic looking fake wisteria online and ordered it.

I’d had a shoot planned already with a model who would be new to me, although I knew her a bit through other photographers she’s worked with, Katie Johnson.  (Katie is amazing, by the way.  A charming, fascinating person, an absolutely natural and dedicated model… I would highly recommend her to anyone.)   Katie had recently approached me about shooting together sometime, which I was very keen to do!  I planned a number of concepts for her, including the wisteria umbrella, we picked a day and all was set… until somehow the wisteria was delayed, and it didn’t arrive until the day after our shoot.  Oops.  We still had a great time at that first shoot, and since it had gone so well, we decided to plan another shoot soon after, and bring the umbrella concept to life then.

The cats help the only way they know how; by sleeping on things.

The cats help the only way they know how; by sleeping on things.

After my wisteria arrived, I set about attaching it to the umbrella.  I ended up sewing some directly to either the frame of he umbrella or he fabric itself, and broke out my trusty glue gun to attach the flowers along the edge.

Hanging bunches of hydrangea from he umbrella to help fill it out.

Hanging bunches of hydrangea from the umbrella to help fill it out.

Starting To Hang

Note the balancing-on-the-laundry basket move.  The damn umbrella was so awkward and lopsidedly heavy, poised on a curved handle, plus it kept shifting slightly as I moved around…. language was used.  More than once.

More Hung

More wisteria is hung, and the first bit glued to he edge is on.

Just about done!

Just about done!

Since I was working with a limited amount of flowers, I concentrated them on one side.  I knew Katie’s head would be blocking part of he umbrella, so I didn’t want to waste any flowers there.  And filling it out a little in post is fairly easy to do, if you need to.

The day of our reshoot came, and it was a gorgeously overcast morning, which was absolutely perfect for what I wanted.  Katie was, of course, a dream and we were able to shoot several different concepts before calling it a day.  But not before Katie twirled around with the flower-ful umbrella, flinging shoots of wisteria into every direction, which made both of us laugh pretty hard.

umbrella outtake 4 small

umbrella laugh 2 small

The umbrella took it all in stride, not seeming to mind being spun about.  🙂

After the whole thing was said and done, I finally realized what my subconscious was saying with these photos.  They portray a girl who is carrying hope and life, symbolized by the flowers, with her wherever she goes.  While the umbrella protects her physically from the sun and rain, its bigger role is to protect her soul by keeping these positive qualities with her.   There’s an implied symbiosis between her and the flowers; that each of them needs each other for its life, in a way that can be read both literally and metaphorically.

And as I edited these during a week when I was feeling particularly depressed and had been advised to exercise “self care,” this seemed like a perfect visual metaphor.  Keeping the gray world off my back with a layer of protection, under which heady armfulls of my own, beautiful flowers grow.  Not only was it a lovely metaphor, but working on the photo was cathartic in and of itself, so it worked for me on many levels.

Finished photos and detail shots below!

Perennial Parasol

Perennial Parasol

Perennial Parasol

Perennial Parasol -detail

Perennial Parasol

Perennial Parasol -detail

Perennial Parasol

Perennial Parasol -detail

Perennial Parasol -detail

Perennial Parasol -detail. Katie’s extensive dance background often shows itself in little details like this, which she did all on her own.

Efflorescence

Efflorescence

sarahallegra.com

Efflorescence – detail

sarahallegra.com

Efflorescence – detail

Efflorescence - detail

Efflorescence – detail

Read Full Post »

Well, this is fun!  I had the pleasure of getting to meet with Timothy Rutt recently, a journalist who writes for the Altadena Blog.  He conduced an interview with me about my art, and it is up, so please head over to his page to check it out!

I’ve got some cool things to share with you guys over the next week!  🙂

Read Full Post »

Head cold.  Blech.  Last night seemed about 15,000 hours long.  And NONE of the animals would cuddle with me.  That’s part of their JOB as pets; snuggle you up when you feel bad.  Luckily I had this post pretty much written already so I can press “publish” and go back to watching 4 hours of So You Think You Can Dance.

So, let me tell you about my trip to Bolsa Chica!

I knew I would soon be needing a lot of bird images for compositing into photos, so I decided to go somewhere I knew they would be hanging out; Bolsa Chica.  Bolsa Chica is one of the very few remaining natural wetlands in southern California, and I am lucky enough to live within driving distance of it.  Since birds tend to be most active very early in the morning, and since I was making a bit of a drive to get there, I decided to make the most of my trip and get there around sunrise.  My mom also lives relatively close to the wetland, and very generously offered to come along and keep me company, even after I told her how early I’d be going.

Getting up that morning was less than pleasant, but as soon as I saw my first snowy egret, it was all worth it.

sarahallegra.com

Egrets are my favorite birds.  I was realizing that they share very similar overall lines with sighthounds and deer, so clearly I have a “type” 🙂  I was thrilled to see not just the one egret but MANY of them.

sarahallegra.com

My mom brought her bird book along and helped me identify the birds I didn’t know.  She asked what I was really hoping to capture (egrets and anything that was flying) and acted as a great scout for moments I probably would have missed on my own.   I was really happy she’d been willing to come along, not just for the useful information and second set of eyes, but for the lovely time we were able to share and catch up on things!  After I had my fill of bird photos, we capped the morning off with a very excellent breakfast at a local restaurant we both love.  It was so fun!

sarahallegra.com

The Chronic Fatigue really dislikes changes in schedules.  Any time I get up extra early or stay up unusually late, I pay for it.  And with this marked change in schedule; not only did I get up so early, I drove a long way and then had the nerve to walk around the wetlands, I felt ill for the next two days and could hardly do anything.  But it was worth it.  A little defiance in the face of disease can be a very good thing, even if you suffer for it.

sarahallegra.com

You’ll be seeing more of these birds popping up in photos soon, so keep an eye out for them!  In the meantime, here are some pretty photos I captured that morning.

Thanks again to my sweet mother for coming along, and letting me take her photo for the blog!  It was pretty cold, so we were both bundled up like this 🙂

sarahallegra.com

Love you, Mom!! ❤

Read Full Post »

Another set of DreamWorld photos are done; yay!  🙂

Paul trio

I had the chance to shoot Paul Telfer, who looks startlingly like you would imagine Superman would look in real life.  When I was casting the role of the Sentinel, Paul immediately came to mind.  He just looks like someone who would be more than capable of keeping you safe, in this world or DreamWorld!

You might recognize Paul from his recurring role on NCIS,  and recent appearances on Body of Proof and Vampire Diaries.  In fact, you can catch him on Vampire Diaries on their season finale on hte 16th!  Make sure to set your DVR.  🙂  He is also just the nicest person; charming, interesting and he really brought his acting skills into play for the photos.  He was a joy to shoot!

DreamWorld was going to need a protector; someone who would watch over you as you sleep and keep the nightmares at bay.  As I started thinking about how to visually portray this, I again associated one’s ego with eggs (although I actually conceived and shot this before Lauren’s photo).  It seemed very fitting; the intrinsic fragility of eggs, combined with their promise of life, growth and change… a perfect metaphor for the human soul.

For them to work in the photo, they were going to need to be much, much larger than an average egg, so I turned to the internet.  It proved really quite difficult to find suitable eggs; everything was either far too small or far too large (and also cost far too much).  Eventually though, I came across some plastic eggs at a party supply site.  They were all the wrong colors, and the package came with many more than I needed, but they would work, so I purchased them.

Once they arrived, I set about painting them.  I started with a few base coats of a pearly blue acrylic paint… I love this paint, it’s actually the same paint that I used to cover the dresser at the foot of my bed.  It’s just gorgeous.  Being covered in the paint immediately made the eggs look less like toys and much more magical.  I added in several more layers of different colors and textures, finishing them by spritzing them with water and then spraying on a light haze of silver spray paint.  The paint wouldn’t adhere where the water was, so it gave the eggs a slightly speckled appearance, which made them look like authentic eggs.

egg 2

Painting eggs

Painting eggs.

More painting eggs

Paul came over and the weather gods must have been favoring me, since it was a gorgeously overcast afternoon.  Cloudy, overcast days are my very favorite, both personally and for shooting in.  I scooped up a mess of pine needles, generously provided by the little pine grove in front of my house.  Creating a nest out of them brought back fond childhood memories of building just such nests at parks which I’d sit in, pretending to be a bird.  Happy memories!

The painted eggs got loaded into the nest, along with some moss I’d found just to give an extra little dimension of realism.  Paul posed with them and was such a pro!  Shooting all three photos probably took twenty or thirty minutes, and then we were done!

I can never shoot anything without an animal appeared unexpectedly in it, as my neighbor’s dog Mei Mei demonstrates.

Mei Mei bomb

Mei Mei bomb

I felt like I’d done a good job with the photos when I had a nightmare a few days after I’d finished them, and imagining the Sentinel guarding me in my sleep helped calm and comfort me.  Please enjoy the finished photos and detail shots from each image, and feel free to imagine the Sentinel is guarding your sleep too 🙂

Sleeper's Sentinel

Sleeper’s Sentinel

sarahallegra.com

sarahallegra.com

His Flock Of Little Birds

His Flock Of Little Birds

His Flock Of Little Birds nest

Prayer For The Frail

Prayer For The Frail

Prayer For The Frail

Smoke birds

Smoke birds

Smoke birds

Smoke birds

Smoke birds

Smoke birds

Read Full Post »

A Joy Too Great

“[Molly] stood very still, neither weeping nor laughing, for her joy was too great for her body to understand.”

-Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn.

I have wonderful news 🙂

Today I signed a contract with Conlan Press.  Yes, the company who publishes Peter S. Beagle’s books.  This partnership started a few months ago, but I wanted to wait until it was official to announce it.  Not too long after I’d posted When Spirits Weep, a self portrait which was inspired by Peter’s book A Fine and Private Place, I received an email from Connor Cochran, Peter’s publisher and manager.  Connor asked if I would be interested in joining forces and working with them, and possibly on some upcoming projects of Peter’s.  I had to read the email several times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming or imagining it.  Once I was sure the email really was real, and really was saying what I thought it was saying, I burst into tears.  Sobbing, noisy tears of joy.  As soon as I could compose myself, I wrote Connor back saying yes, I would be interested.

You all know how influential Peter’s works have been for me.  How they inspire me, not just in my art, but they help me navigate life.  I spoke at length about this just the other day.  I would have been excited to have been approached by any publisher, to get to work with any author.  But to have it be Conlan and Peter is just beyond anything I could have dreamed.

For the moment, I can say that Conlan will be marketing and selling images of mine; both ones that have a direct connection to Peter’s work, and others that they simply enjoy.  This is just the very tip of the iceberg, but I will save announcing other collaborations as they arise.  It is extremely safe to say that I am over the moon with excitement about ALL of them.

I am struck quite mute by the greatness of my joy and excitement, so I will leave you with some images collected on Pinterest which express my feelings better than any words could.

No creatures can express joy as purely and vibrantly as dogs can.  I am very excited to see where this partnership leads.  🙂

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: