Reliquarium: how art-making saved my life a led me to places I never expected to travel
This is a completed manuscript of 66,888 words and 46 illustrations – two per chapter. I am in the process of looking for a literary agent, which is a frightening process.
It was the recurring nightmare of a boa constrictor wrapping itself around my sleeping body that jolted my spirit out of its mid-life malaise. As a mother of two with a successful, award-winning career as an artist, not to mention an extremely supportive husband, I was shocked when slowly my life mysteriously began to come undone. There was nothing specific to point to. I was just losing my way.
Deeply but functionally depressed, I went into therapy, signed up for a two-year Jungian dream interpretation program, and made art – lots of art. This holy trinity led me toward my salvation, where I uncovered a deep, searing anger toward God the Father and toward a world that is afraid to speak of uncomfortable things, like death.
My healing journey took me across the globe. I studied Mexican death traditions, Tibetan Mandalas, visual prayer traditions in India. These cultures allowed me to recognize the underlying roots of why I had become an artist, and it led me to my pioneering work with cancer survivors – both young and mature, living and passed – teaching them about art and healing.
This illustrated memoir traces my artistic and spiritual development, rooted in the loss of my six-year-old brother to brain cancer at the tender age of ten and expressing how I suffered emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. It explores how the art-making process helped me to remember and heal, how my worldwide travels became unexpected oracles, and how sometimes our deepest wounds can become the sources of our greatest learnings.