One of my favorite artists is Brian Andreas (if you do not know his work, stop reading and head over to www.storypeople.com and explore; right now). His words, his poetry, his stories, are a gift to me in their simple, deep truths. We have several of his prints and a few sculptures in our art collection. Pausing to read his stories that adorn our walls is part of my sacred life.
Early on when we were dating, Jon and I visited a shop that had Andreas' work and I was able to introduce Jon to a favorite past time: looking through all the prints to discover which one resonates deeply on that day. The story that day was "Real Reason," and days later Jon drove 90 minutes back to that shop in Valparaiso, Indiana to buy it for me as a "two-month dating" anniversary present.
A few months later, weeks before we became engaged, we had the opportunity to meet Brian Andreas at a signing and we bought the sculpture of "Real Reason." As we handed it to him to sign, he said, "who do I make it out to" and without asking each other, together Jon and I said, "Liz and Jon." He looked at us and said something like, "that's a big commitment;" in a way, it kind of felt like we got engaged in that moment.
Of course, the truth is that my Storypeople collection began years before I met Jon. I wrote about my first introduction to them here. I remember reading the stories aloud in the car with my mom and coming to "Fog People" and pausing and reading it again and again. I love that story and my mom gave the sculpture to me as a college graduation present. I wouldn't say that I think of it as a test when I show people the sculpture, but I always giggle a bit when people say, "but I don't get it." Another favorite print that hangs alone in our hallway so that you pause to read it is "Crayon Pirate." The simple wise truth of a child's world – that is what that story says to me.
Last week, I spent some time clicking around the stories at the website and the two stories that speak so deeply to me in this moment of my life are "Whales" and "More Fair." I hope to one day add those stories to my collection.
When the events of September 11, 2001 happened, I found myself, like so many others, trying to find something to help me wrap my brain around what had happened and the grief and helplessness. Sitting in my office one evening a week or so after the eleventh, I turned to the Storypeople website, seeking the wise words of Brian Andreas, and found that he had written a story to commemorate 9/11. The story is "Awakening." At the time, Storypeople was selling the story as a poster with the proceeds going to raise money for the people affected on that day. I bought ten planning to share them with others. And after framing one for myself and giving a few away, I did what I do best, I put them someplace and forgot.
As we have been organizing and cleaning and all that stuff over the last few weeks, I came across my carefully rolled up posters of "Awakening."
I am wondering if any of you reading this might want one. I have five and would be happy to mail one to you. Please just send me an email at waywardtulip at gmail dot com and let me know. UPDATED: The posters have all been claimed. Thank you...
Many blessings to all on this day,