When I became a full-time mother almost seven years ago, my days as a free-spirited musician (with a day job supporting her art) came to a halt. When my daughter was diagnosed with a chronic illness two years later, what was left of my identity as a singer-songwriter was all but buried beneath grief, confusion and exhaustion.
Once in a while I ventured into the recording studio and also started a home-based coaching business, but the economic downturn of 2008, not to mention a highly competitive hunt for a good kindergarten, put an end to that.
During some of the roughest patches, the only thing that cut through a fog of fear and inertia was color. The rich palette of my daughter’s oil pastels. The vibrant images in Anthropologie and Sundance catalogs. The vivid pinks, reds, and yellows of roses in my courtyard and outside markets on Broadway.
Between my husband’s photo trade magazines, the plethora of catalogs I receive almost daily, and my daughter’s art (she provided the heart in the pink hope collage) I’ve become a collaging fiend, filling journals and three-ring binders with playful and wise phrases and poems juxtaposed with gorgeous scenery, jewelry, horses, whatever catches my fancy. I try not to analyze why I’m drawn to a picture or theme, but I do notice clues to my heart’s yearnings.
For a while, England kept showing up in my collages, and within a few months, my husband was called to London on business for a week, and my daughter and I were able to join him. I can’t say for sure whether my collages manifested an international trip for three, but I can say the images opened my mind to the idea of crossing the Atlantic with a child on a very strict diet. No small feat!
At a friend’s suggestion, I began blogging earlier this year, and I found myself illustrating my mini-essays and musings with collages and snapshots. After 14 years of delegating photography to my husband, I am having a ball reporting on the beauty and whimsy of New York (and my imagination) in both still photos and video. No longer holding on so tightly to my identity as a writer, I’m excited about visual storytelling and what else it will reveal to me. And more importantly, I am at peace with the choices I’ve made to help my daughter thrive.
http://www.YouTube.com/RabbitHoleReport (“A Barrage of Collage” gives you a peek inside one of my collage binders, including one of the British collages)