I have two presentations coming up this week during which I ‘m to share this new turn my work has taken. In particular, I’ll be talking about my foray into the Graphic Medicine movement. I suspect I’ll struggle to articulate what’s really on my mind as I’m mostly following the impulse to draw again and to allow that process, meditatively, to take shape. However, this new labor is bringing together a number of strands that have been in my work for years (image making, writing, contemplation, the mind, soul, and spirit). The playfulness of drawing, doodling, writing, arranging, rearranging, and working to be present to what’s really happening in life is a powerful antidote to the often negative patterns of anxiety and obsession I can fall into.
Snapped this pic today of melting snow that looks like a rabbit. As I was driving home, thinking about how the beginning of a semester always jacks up my anxiety level, the idea for a drawing of the rabbit as my shadow took hold. My anxiety is often a hidden, or invisible state. People frequently comment on how calm, or even tempered I seem. The reality is often the opposite!
There was a moment for each of us when we knew she wasn’t coming back. It wasn’t the same moment for each of us, further complicating an already stressed family dynamic.
For me, the moment came shortly after the one year mark. Blinking once for yes and twice for no was happening with less frequency. Her eyes, when open, became less focused. Even when she looked at you, it felt like she was looking through or past you. Recognition, which used to dance on the surface of her corneas, faded away. Distance took its place. A distance impossible to measure.
How much text is enough? It’s a graphic novel right? Emphasis on graphic (image). As I write text, I often cut it out in strips so I can play around with the number of words, the words themselves, their relationship to the drawing. This is very, very old school. One of these days when I figure Photoshop (or some other program) I’ll probably save myself a lot of time. In the mean time cut and paste (literally) seem to work for me. *The featured image here is from the graphic novel I’m creating about anxiety.
Playing with a four panel layout just to experiment with these anxiety images on a small scale. I don’t consider myself a comic artist (maybe as a performer!), but I think it’s good to play around with comic formats as I think about how these images might perform on the page.
Submitted a proposal to the Graphic Medicine conference in Dundee Scotland this summer, Stages and Pages. My proposal involves a short performance generated by images, mixing storytelling and improvisation (Drawing On My Anxiety). Here a few of the images I included in the proposal.
A sketch rendering the day we committed sister Sam’s ashes to the earth.
Anxiety is another significant theme in my work. Anxiety of the OCD variety in particular. I have a piece scheduled for publication in Annals of Internal Medicine/Graphic Medicine in the near future. This piece is something I was playing with along the way.
As I develop ideas for a graphic novel about sister Sam’s TBI, I am struck by the dramatic changes to her face over time. Since I could only visit her periodically, the changes were significant to me – they haunt me. This 6 panel series of images is just one layout I’m exploring.