This year I'm embarking on a brand new creative project that I'm calling The Ray of Light Series. This series will feature women in recovery from alcohol addiction. My hope is to help break some of the stigma that is associated with alcoholism and problem drinking and shed some light on how these women shine brighter since removing alcohol from their daily lives.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional journalist or interviewer.
I only play one on the internet.
There will be a short interview with each woman wherein I'll ask five to seven basic questions about how they got sober, if creativity is a part of their recovery and what sobriety has illuminated for them, etc. The answers to these questions will accompany a mixed media piece that I will create from an image they have provided me. I will share every Friday on my blog and social media. 52 weeks. 52 women.
Over the past few years, I've dabbled in creating mixed media pieces using paint, pencils, collage and wood panels. I'm constantly running into some kind of hurdle to make them work. On a few occasions, the glues wouldn't adhere to the wood panels and more than once the images started bubbling up and reacting to the adhesives. In the image above, when I removed the tape that was helping to keep my lines straight, the tape started lifting up the protective matte top coat I had so carefully applied. The metaphors are endless when I'm creating art. The peeling, the hulling, the stripping down and uncovering that happens right before my very eyes is why I enjoy making art. I think the process is just as beautiful as the end result.
Also, can it be frustrating? Yes. Am I learning something? Absolutely. I know I'm answering the invitation to discover something new about my process, very much like when I choose to abstain from drinking alcohol. The art will not be perfect and the women I feature will not perfect, but I feel like the project itself will be enveloped in the wabi-sabi philosophy that I love so much and radiate beauty as a result of the imperfections.
Recovering out loud is a movement I’m currently very intrigued with and part of why I wanted to move forward with this project. I'm so inspired by people who are not afraid of telling their truth. When I read or hear from others who are not ashamed of their recovery from alcohol, it helps to remind me of my own humanness. It helps me to know I'm not alone. It helps me to own my story and tell my own truth and trust it can help others.
It's also my hope to open up a dialogue about the monikers people use to identify as a person who no longer drinks - Sober, Alcoholic, Teetotaler, Dry, etc. When I quit drinking, I know the words used by others to identify themselves as a person in recovery really rang out to me. I've tried most of them on for size and I'm still not sure I've landed on one that fits just right. I'll keep searching.
By interviewing so many different women, I'm sure to get different opinions and viewpoints on what it means to recover in this day and age. I'm intrigued to ask the women how they successfully navigate recovery in a society that glamorizes drinking.
The women I have reached out to are women that I have a personal connection with and I'll write a bit about how we met or how they inspired me in the opening paragraph each week and then segue into the interview. I'll post a new interview every Friday.
I'm looking forward to this coming year and this project. I know this series will morph and grow organically and teach me a few things in the process, both creatively and personally. I welcome it.
And, I hope you'll follow along.