There is something magical that happens when words and images come together to tell stories. I experienced this first hand when I participated in Paul Brookes’ annual ekphrastic challenge in 2020, and was introduced to the incredible artwork of Jane Cornwell. I found myself writing about things I never could have imagined, in ways that were new and fresh for me. Jane’s artwork not only brought out things I didn’t know were inside me, but also led me to write things that were cathartic and healing. Writing is such a solitary pursuit, and it felt great to write in a collaborative environment, inspired by such a diverse collection of paintings and drawings ; working collaboratively made me feel less alone. There were also many other writers participating in the challenge, and I found myself excited every day to see how they would respond to the same images. At the end of the 2020 challenge, I was hooked, so when Paul hosted the challenge again in 2021, and I found out Jane would again be offering pieces, I jumped at the chance to participate a second time. At the end of the 2021 challenge, I asked Jane if she would like to create a book together, and so “Tiger Lily” came to life.
Jane’s artwork not only inspires me, but also challenges me and teaches me new ways of seeing. There are poems in “Tiger Lily” that were written in response to Jane’s art, and paintings that Jane created in response to my poems. It is a true collaboration, an experience like no other I have had. It was an unravelling, a treasure hunt, a journey sometimes painful, and sometimes unbelievable joyful. I feel proud of what Jane and I created, and so grateful to have had the chance to work with her.
You can get a copy of “Tiger Lily” on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and Book Depository. It is available in hardcover, paperback and ebook. I will also be selling signed copies of the paperback on my website, starting next week.