March 10th, 2022
I’m a firm believer that when I have feelings while I’m creating something that it will hold those feelings and then give them to the person who experiences the art.
From my personal interactions, this seems to be true. I’ve had people reach out after reading something and say, “When I got to this part, I just started crying.” And I’ll respond: “When I wrote that part, I was crying, too.”
It’s a relationship and feeling unlike any other I’ve known or felt.
I’m having a hard time drawing this character.
Her name is Ava Marie. She’s the mother of Bay, one of the main characters in Brushfire. And she is based on my own mom. I created Ava Marie before Diane Marie left, but I don’t know if they ever met. I spend every day with both of them in different ways.
And every time I draw Ava, or have to write something she says, I get real emotional.
And if there is any way for my mom to live on through me, I hope it’s in these emotional exchanges through art.
There’s a chapter in Flip where Liam is having a conversation with his mom in space (this is happening in a dream, as is most of the book). I wrote this scene almost ten years ago, but it was really difficult to articulate the idea of a parent telling their child that they have to let go.
When I revisited that chapter last year for the Special Edition, I had a minor emotional breakdown.
Because I wrote that chapter when she was alive, it now felt like she was actually speaking to me from wherever she is, from heaven, from the nonempty space between us, from dreams.
She had something to say from outside of time. She told me that she had to go. And it didn’t matter if I understood.
And maybe that’s why it’s so hard to do this sometimes. I should be able to just draw some lines that look like a squirrel and move the heck on.
Instead, I’m over here wondering why this squirrel smiles, why she needs to hug everyone she meets, why she is so damn alive.