I’ve always been fascinated by the power of words. To hurt and to heal. To connect and detach. To mesmerize. To startle.
As a child, one of the first books I learned to read was a book of illustrated poems—from Blake to Dickinson to Sandburg, many of them were nature and animal themed, all of them were enchanting. I read these poems until I’d memorized all of them and soon began creating my own similar-themed versions. My mother was thrilled that I’d discovered a diversion from some of my other creative urges, like crayoning our kitchen walls and carving up woodwork.
I often illustrated my poems and gave them to favorite teachers, some of whom acted as saviors in difficult circumstances, even when they didn’t know it. I still enjoy that kind of giving and sending my work into the world, as well as midwifing the work of others in my role as a creative mentor.
I’m a fan of blending genres, too, and my epistolary poetry novella, Night Flying, was published in 2015, with a new edition coming out in 2018. My active projects include a graphic novel inspired by my chaotic childhood, and artwork that explores the intersection of nature, mechanical objects, and the human body. Stay tuned for updates!
Have you ever been in that stark and lonely place of having to make a decision you might regret, no matter what you choose? Or fought with God or yourself over having to make a choice, knowing either way it will hurt those you love and change their lives forever?
Writing in her diary, Mae questions God as she and her husband receive devastating news about her pregnancy and agonize over the decisions they face. Needing time away to think, she visits her childhood home and reconnects with Will, a deaf friend who taught her to sign when they were young. After her visit, Mae and Will continue an intimate written exchange in which she confides her despair, while Will shares his own struggle to honor the wishes of his dying father, and reconcile his mother’s reluctance to let go.
Night Flying is a collection of letters and poems that delivers a powerful, nonjudgmental narrative around the difficult choices we make about life and death, and will touch anyone who has suffered through similar heartbreaking circumstances. First published by Port Yonder Press, a new edition will be released in 2018 by Kin Press.
A review from Tony Connor, poet, playwright, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature:
“Night Flying navigates darkness using only the instruments of the author’s finely tuned imagination. The work defies classification—poem, novella, epistolary meditation—while engaging many literary modes and amply fulfilling Ezra Pound’s famous dictum, Make it new.
Audacious and original, it fuses Job-like questioning of God’s goodness with the colloquial exchange of emails, touching, as it does so, upon religious heritage, the flawed human flesh, childhood hopes, death’s certainty, the limits of language and truths to be apprehended only in silence. At the same time, the work embodies a powerful dialogue between the certainties of tradition and the dislocations of post-modernism, which in no way obscures its simpler and grander purpose.
Night Flying is, above all else, a touching evocation of physical and spiritual suffering and love.”
Featured art: Not Right, charcoal
Night Flying cover art: Benjamin D. Bailey