From my Art & Spirituality journal.

A perhaps telling amount of my artwork has dealt with themes of escape, confinement, and freedom, realized or thwarted. I tend to use flying metaphors, particularly women with wings, to describe "flight" as both a literal and metaphorical concept. What would we learn if we were not confined to earth or the quotidian?

My favorite story I've now written three times, twice as a comic and once as a prose story. The last version, a four-page painted comic, is probably the closest to the "definitive version" as it's ever going to get, and it tends to be fairly popular. It involves a girl named Faith (both comic versions are wordless, but she acquired a name in the prose version) who, unhappy with her boring and static life, gets wings tattooed on her back and drives out to the mountains to jump off a cliff. The last page shows her wings of ink transforming into real ones, allowing her to fly into the distance.

My Fiction professor insisted on seeing this as a suicide metaphor, and in many ways, it can be, what with my protagonist jumping off a cliff and all. But the main idea behind it is the idea of escape from the quotidian, in this case through a leap of faith.

One of my dilemmas of faith is having a space to retreat to in order to clear my head, when I find church overbearing and stifling and home intrusive and busy. My bedroom at home used to be my space, but when I left for college, my family moved and I now share a room with my older sister, so I'm not allowed to decorate it-- and beige walls and floral fabric aren't exactly conducive to spiritual experience for me. My freshman year, I had a habit of walking down to [X] Street at midnight and sitting on the pier to think. I stopped doing that when someone pointed out that small, defenseless-looking women might not find it in the interests of their safety to walk around at night downtown.

Nowadays my occasional spiritual ritual is to make myself a cup of green tea, sit on the staircase outside my top-floor dorm room, and warm my hands on the cup while I ponder the mysteries of life, the universe, and the busy intersection I can see from my sitting place. It's a good place to people-watch while being remote enough so that I'm not bothered. Sometimes I pray to myself, but most of the time I just sit and think.

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thus saith Liadan at 3:36 AM


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