Art, the Messenger

I discovered the video “To This Day,” based on a poem by Shane Koyczanwhen reading the blog Synapsis & Synopsis. This well-designed animation tells a clear, powerful story in an aesthetically pleasing way, while sending a strong, accessible message.

Haven’t we all dealt with bullying at one time or another in our lives? If not bullying, exactly, we certainly have all had to find and make friends, enter or leave social groups, and learn how to participate in social dynamics.

This video moved me because of the experiences I have had in my life, and for the messages I would like to send with my own work. My novel features a college girl who must learn to navigate the treacherous social situations in her sorority. Female relationships often include bullying/cyberbullying and back-stabbing while women vie for popularity, and my book incorporates these themes. I know as an artist you cannot control how your work will be viewed or the impact it will have. However, my hope is that the young women who read this book will reconsider how they treat each other. I hope they might change their views and actions, and try to boost each other up, rather than tear each other down.

Recently I picked up Tammara Webber‘s Easy at the library. While the book prominently features a love story, there were several elements of confidence and learning to stand up for oneself, emotionally and physically. The protagonist experiences near-rape within the first few pages of the book, and she spends most of the book in fear of her attacker. *Spoiler alert* She takes self defense classes and ultimately triumphs–in a final confrontation with her attacker at the end of the book, she not only fends him off, she uses her new skills to give him a bloody nose. I had no doubt that she would stand up to him in court. At the close of the book, I enjoyed the way her love story reached a happy ending, but I was more impressed by the way she had grown. 


In the pages following the story, there were discussion questions. One of them was, “Did reading Easy make you want to learn self-defense?” and my answer was a resounding YES. I absolutely felt a heightened sense of awareness of the issues women who have experienced rape face and wanted to take action to protect myself. I haven’t signed up for self defense classes yet, but I have become much more aware of the message “90 percent of self-defense involves reducing the risk of attack in the first place.”

Visual media and the written word are two powerful forms of art. The video moved me and strengthened my desire to impact the conversation on bullying among women. The book inspired me to take action and change the way I live my life. This kind of impact is what I aspire to in my own work.


Typing Challenged

One day I was doing yoga and my wrist started to hurt. I thought if I went easy on the yoga for a while, it would go away, but after two months I finally decided to go to the physical therapist. Turns out I sprained a muscle in my hand, and I have to stay off of it for 1-2 months.

Although the sprain wasn’t necessarily a result of yoga, this means not doing yoga. Which would be hard enough, as yoga is my favorite form of exercise, plus meditation. Apparently all sorts of simple activities I never thought were related have been exacerbating the sprain – things like holding a book up for long periods of time, using a stapler, holding up pots while washing dishes. Pressing the space bar.

I’ve been becoming somewhat ambidextrous. And yes, it has totally been slowing down my writing. The physical therapist also said, though it’s a remote possibility, I may have early (really early)-onset arthritis. So I bought this brace and I’m not pressing the space bar with my right thumb anymore (writing by hand is difficult; chopsticks are a definite no-no). What if I couldn’t write anymore? I’m terrified by this idea.

People keep telling me about these phone apps that translate your spoken words to written, like for the forbidden texting-while-driving scenario. I think I have one of those apps, actually, but I’ve never used it. There is something different about thoughts through fingers rather than thoughts through speaking. I guess if I had to I could get used to dictation.

This general concept, however – what if I couldn’t write anymore? If I were incapable, or censored, or for some other reason, whatever it might be… that thought is terrifying. A sure part of me would be lost. Something deep and necessary. For now, I’m determined to heal my hand.

My Early Work

If I were a caterpillar, my name would be Tayloo and I would throw fabulous caterpillar parties with lots of balloons. At least, according to my six-year-old imagination.

This is one of my very first pieces, which I wrote when I was in kindergarten.
I was a sassy six.
Then, I wrote for the joy of writing. Creation. Always the artist. Whether my work would find an audience – it was never a question. Now, I write for that, and because I want to change people’s lives. I want to touch people, to be that story that threw a lightning bolt through your gut, the book that made you laugh aloud, forgetting you sat in a coffee shop, and you were unabashed when people turned to look, the one that made you cry, and pass it on for how it moved you might move your sister, or your father, or your best friend. The thing that allowed you to see the other side of someone’s story, and so you could forgive, or the one that brought you closer to someone you thought you’d lost. The one that gave you courage to do something you thought you couldn’t, or gave you insight into yourself that brought you peace, or spurred you to change.
I have always been a writer. I have been creating stories from the moment I could. I write to touch people. To change lives.
These are not original statements, but they are true.