The Book

Art, Inspiration, Photography, ProjectsShannon Reed


Well, I finished the book yesterday - it's off to be printed and bound so I should be able to see it sometime next time week.  I thought it would be nice to have - to look back on - as well as something I could pass along to the kids.  It's incredibly important to feel connected to them - not just as children and the young adults they've become - but as they continue to grow and have life experiences (especially the ones that kick their ass - because those are the important ones; the ones that shape us).  

I always thought my grandmother was such a fascinating person, but she never liked talking about the past.  She was a fully-present kind of gal - which is great and healthy and all that, but she actually had an interesting life that I actually wanted to know more about.  You know when I found out about most of it?  While she was dying.  I will say that sorting through boxes while she lay dying in hospice gave me some comfort, but it also filled my head with a million questions I'd never have the answers to because - well - she was busy dying.

I wonder if kids these days give two sh*ts about their grandparents and their lives.  My own kids only know one of my parents - but that has more to do with the choices of my parents than my kids.  Maybe because my grandmother actively engaged with me and made me feel important, relevant, wanted and loved, that I was, in turn, invested in her life.  She taught me everything, including how to love unconditionally.  If not for her, I think I would have probably turned out much differently.  

I should note, for anyone new to my ramblings about my grandmother, that I'm not merely glorifying her because she's no longer alive - oh, no; I've worshiped and adored her out loud for my entire life - annoyingly and shamelessly so.  :)   

Well, before I start down that path and end up sobbing in my coffee, let's migrate on back over to the book path...

I watched a wonderful documentary about Joni Mitchell a couple of days ago (Netflix, check it out); over the course of her career, she never lost sight of who she was as an artist and she's stayed true to that from the very beginning.  Her music is about her life, loves and losses - it's also about the social and political injustices that muck everything up.  She's always been brave and honest about her work - no desire to sell out.  She's one of the best songwriters ever.  Period.  No question.  No room for argument.  I'm sorry, this window is closed.

Annie Lennox is in that realm, too, and both women had a significant impact on me as I was editing the images in the book.  By the way, I didn't actually start out with the notion of doing the book - that evolved over time as I began to feel so connected to these women and to women in general.  The book is a love letter to women, really, but I did it for myself so that I'd have a tangible reference to this period of awakening I'm experiencing.  And for the kids - and their kids - you know - in case they forget how cool I was when I'm all bed-bound and diapered up.  (I'm only sort of kidding.)

There's quite a bit of symbolism there and, while I'd initially included text to spell it all out, I decided that I'd just keep it simple and let whoever sees it decide for themselves what it all means if they care to.  While it's not likely many people will see the book, I am incredibly proud of it.  I'm also incredibly proud of Kari; she's entirely more badass than any young woman could ever hope to be at her age.  She was 25 when we did this series - turned 26 the day the book was published.  Rock on, Kari, rock on with your awesome self. 

I also want to say thanks to Terri Bell for being such an earnest cheerleader.  I'd probably still be sitting on these images if it weren't for her kinds words; thanks for having faith in me, Terri, I'm so glad our paths have intersected.

Alright, alright - when I start getting all sappy I know it's time to wrap things up. 

Okie doke... on to the next project!

**Update**  Just received the book from Blurb and I was not at all happy with the quality, so I'm pulling it until I decide what, if anything, I'm going to do.  Bummer!