The following are illustration projects that currently under development.
Soln’s Dreams (9100 words)
Soln is a girl whose forest culture is fading. An unidentifiable force is causing people to fall silent. This seemed to happen after a war when the soldiers who passed through the town all had exactly the same face. Everyone is losing their individuality and sense of purpose, everyone except for Soln, Soln’s friend Lilitha, (who is actually from another place), and Arne, a sculptor who carves figures from wood.
Soln finds herself wandering in the forest that surrounds her town. For her, it’s a magical place where it seems the power of her people once resided and where her mother and beloved grandmother are actually buried. Soln’s father cautions her against venturing too deeply into the woods, as if he is afraid something there might harm her. Soln ignores his warnings. She believes that the answer she is seeking lies somewhere within the forest.
As Soln struggles to hold onto her voice, she’s helped by her friend, Lilitha, who chatters on and on as if she is unaffected by the “disease” that is annihilating both the people and the culture itself. Arne involves himself more and more in his work. He seems to be fading while the figures he is creating take on his life force and become more alive.
Restoring Soln a transformative moment occurs when we realize that Soln is no longer a girl. She’s become one of Arne’s sculptures and she’s been stolen from her niche in a place of worship. A young woman miraculously rescues the piece and returns with it to be lauded by the whole village where Soln is something like a patron saint.
More generations pass and the sculpture of Soln is now on display in a glass case. A docent explains to a group of school boys that the rare piece comes from a culture about which little is known except that they may have worshipped trees. Like the soldiers, all of the bored schoolboys have the same face. But one of them lingers in front of Soln, affected by some unidentifiable emotion. He writes a paragraph down in his notebook and Soln’s dream somehow lives again.
Read by children, “Soln’s Dream” is the story of a girl’s dream and quest for answers. Read by adults, this tale about loss—the loss of individuality, language, and even whole cultures—speaks to our present day. It also addresses the power of a work of art to exist even beyond the loss of its context and to convey the meaning and emotion that help Soln to achieve her own kind of immortality.
A Quiet Place (102 words)
The premise of this picture book is that in a world where children as well as adults are bombarded with sensory overload, everyone needs a quiet place—somewhere that is set apart from the world of noise and speed. This illustrated text is intended to help children (and adults) imagine how to create the quiet place and find things to do there. It offers a long list of activities and experiences that require quiet and focus. In much of our world, quiet is a rare state and even the idea of being quiet can seem like an anomaly. The quiet place is something we need to create—around us and inside of ourselves.