More than a year ago, I submitted 2 pieces of art to be considered as illustrations in a new book by Patti Digh, one of my favorite inspirational authors. The decision deadline came and went, and I *knew* neither of my illustrations were chosen to be included. Honestly, I wasn’t too upset since I had considered it a long-shot. Plus, each person who submitted art was promised a copy of the book when it released. (You can read my original blog post about making and submitting the art HERE.)
Fast forward one year—a full YEAR! This past December I got an email that was so exciting I actually screamed “WOO-HOO!” out loud. Due to personal challenges in the author’s life, the book release had been pushed back. My art was going to be included in the book after all.
This book, The Geography of Loss, is an insightful look at grieving many kinds of loss. It has poignant stories, encouraging quotes, helpful exercises (to make one’s own maps of loss), and is fill with wonderful art (including mine!) Consider buying a copy for yourself in either kindle or hardcover. You can read an excerpt from the book HERE.
My first mixed media painting is at the beginning of Part One: Embrace What Is, Walk Into Your New Landscape. The passage I was given to reflect on is at the beginning of the Introduction: “I hear the sound of paper tearing, ripping. It is the sound of an old map being torn, an opening created for me to walk through. I am suddenly thrust into a new landscape, a new map. I feel I am drowning, though the new landscape is barren, hot, arid, scorching. I am lost here. And alone, or so I believe. … Our eyes feel swollen in the new air. We have no familiar landmarks to guide from. They have disappeared–all of them, gone. People have become strange to us. We hate them as they stand in the comfortable landscape we’ve just left.”
The second illustration is a full-page introduction to a story which talks about running out of time, of last hours, of figuring out what to do to survive. The passage I was given to contemplate on in making this painting is found in the Epilogue. It is part of a writing prompt: “You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live…There is no clock for this. No ticking, no sound. Things slow way down. … If I haven’t lived the life I wanted, full of laughter and all wide and deep; and if I haven’t told the people I love that I love them by now–and in so many, how many, ways–then it is surely too late. … The clock takes a turn forward. I lean into it, each moment a memory. You cry, and I lean to wipe your tear, then taste it. If you don’t know by now how much you are fully inside my very skin, then you will never believe it after I am gone. So we must tell. Now. And we must live and give. Now. We must trace the outlines of the faces of the people we love most in the dark with our eyes closed. Now. Because the time is always, always, at the fifteen-minute mark.”
I am humbled and excited, all at the same time. Out of my brokenness, loss, and grief has come beauty. And I can now say, “My art is in a published book.” How cool is that?