The book has arrived. Yes, All Ways a Woman, a collection of art and poetry created in collaboration with artist Lynn Centeno, is here. Within its pages, we invite you to walk with us as we depict a woman’s path, give voice to her life song, and honor her journey in watercolor and word. In hardcover and published by AquaZebra Press, the book will become available January 31 at Amazon.com.
Through the course of developing the project, we were moved by not only the uniqueness of women’s experiences, but also their universality. How women inspire and encourage each other. Their strength, resolve, and grit. Their vulnerability, their ability to give. Their talents.
And so the book was born. At heart, it’s a portrait of a woman. We hope it will inspire. We hope it will bring reflection and peaceful moments. We hope you will enjoy. But mostly we hope you will find it a celebration.
How did All Ways a Woman come about? The collaboration on the book actually began in 2011 but we didn’t know it. The National League of American Pen Women Palm Springs Branch did a program called Ekphrasis (EHK-fra-sis) for writers and artists. And Lynn and I participated.
A quick aside about the word ekphrasis. It’s a noun from the Greek meaning description and is an old literary form in which a writer wrote a description of a painting or object of art or sculpture he admired. For example, Homer described the shield of Achilles in great detail in the Iliad. The literary form took a turn in the 1800’s. In 1820 John Keats published the classic “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” in which he not only described the urn but then in a departure from convention incorporated his feelings and thoughts. From that moment, an ekphrastic writing became something more. Today it’s defined as a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art.
But back to the Ekphrasis experience. Branch artists submitted pictures of their art which were posted on the local Pen Woman website. Writers in the branch then selected one to write about. I chose Lynn’s watercolor called “I Care Not.” (The watercolor and poem are in the book.) For the final program, as each artist’s work was displayed, the writer read her accompanying piece. By the end of the event, there was a calm in the room and the women in attendance, whether they knew each other or not, seemed to feel what can only be described as a palpable closeness of spirit. A fulfilling experience.
Fast forward to 2013 when the branch repeated the event. Again I chose one of Lynn’s watercolors called “Girls’ Night Out.” The poem is a look into what girlfriends might like to dish about. It’s also in the book.
After those two collaborations, three years passed until the summer 0f 2016, when Lynn casually suggested we do more.
The idea percolated. We each went through our existing body of work for everything “woman.” Themes came to life about women’s thoughts, loves, and lives. We worked page by page or “bird by bird” as author Anne Lamott wrote and we gathered our collection. Some of the watercolors had been in juried shows. Some of the poetry had appeared in literary journals and magazines. We joined pictures with poems. And we created new work. Slowly, we had our book.
Now it’s January 2017. We’re ready to launch. An email promotion announcing All Ways a Woman will go out within days. The book will have its own Facebook and Goodreads pages. We’ll be doing readings, presentations, and book signings. Think about us for a program for your club or organization. A tea? A reading and champagne? We’ll welcome your reviews and comments.
And think about the book as a thoughtful gift for a special woman in your life. Mother, sister, wife. Mentor, colleague, girlfriend. Honor and celebrate her on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, an anniversary, a birthday, or just because. And, ladies, it makes an extra-special gift to you, from you. We look forward to your joining the journey.
walk with us
For together …
from All Ways a Woman
A closing thought. Reflection is taking a look at ourselves in the mirror of our mind. We hope you will enjoy the watercolors and words as you reflect and become inspired by your own journey. And from writer Anais Nin these words:
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.