Books to feed your soul and creativity
Hi! I've been away to Switzerland for the past 10 days for the Fumetto festival (an independent/small press/zine festival) in Luzern. Like last year, it was super fun and I met a bunch of people whose projects and ideas were extremely inspiring. 

In particular, I met a fellow artist (her work is beautiful) who is going to embark on a 1-month artist residence on a sailboat with 4 other artists. They are going to sail towards the arctic in order to give an artist's perspective on the glaciers (and melting glaciers linked to climate change) up there. How exciting is that???

Apparently it's the first time the owners of the sailboat are organizing this kind of residency, but it could be a wonderful goal to aim for a residency like that in the next year or two!

On another note, I wanted to share with you some of the books that have inspired me on a personal and artistic level. Hopefully, they will resonate with you as well! 

My top three are: 

1) The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit

I came across this book thanks to the wonderful site, which I regularly support because the reviews she makes are always amazing. The way that I would describe this one is that: 

— You've probably never read anything like it

— It's a labyrinth of poetry, storytelling, insane amounts of knowledge on super diverse subjects (the biology of birds and moths, the history of arctic explorers (can you sense a common thread here?), the analysis of fairytales and Frankenstein, etc), personal memories about love, loss and apricots, essays on the act of creating art and creating yourself — all of this interwoven in a seamless, yet extremely thought-out structure that loops back into itself in exquisitely written prose. It's a breath-taking book that is, by far, the best book I've ever read. 

— It's also one of the books that initially fueled my goal of creating a graphic novel. 

— The dedication is a little gem in itself and sets you up for the flavor of the entire book:                     "To the mothers, and the wolves"

(I'm now reading her "Field Guide to Getting Lost", which is also a wonderful read)

2) Atlas of Remote Islands (Fifty Islands I have never visited and never will)  by Judith Shalansky 

This is a little dream of a book I found perusing in one of my favorite bookstores in Montreal when I was there last summer. It's a collection of aerial hand-drawn maps of tiny little islands strewn across the globe. Each island is described by the story of its discovery as well as other strange tidbits connected to its inhabitants or absence of inhabitants. It's a book made for the "armchair explorers" of the world. :)

3) A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki 

This is a story about a 16 year-old Japanese girl and a Canadian woman who finds her diary abandoned on a beach, remnants from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. It's about the wisdom that the Japanese girl's buddhist grandmother gives her to help deal with her complex dysfunctional family life. It's about difficulty and resilience, loneliness and connection, and about finding strength and beauty in the hardships. It's also surprisingly funny and has a touch of magical realism in it! It's a beautiful book & well worth the read.

Let me know what you think about the books if you end up reading them. I'd also love to know what your favorite books are, so please feel free to share! :) 

As for news, I am currently revising my goals because (as some of you might know, and others might not) I've been struggling with overwhelm/burnout in the past few months. 70 hour work weeks are not a healthy way to lead a life ;) (I was teaching 20-30 hours a week and also trying to move forward on all my artistic projects, as though I didn't have any teaching to do! well, I learned. :p ).  With that in mind, I've decided to focus on just a few specific projects and put others 'on hold'. More specifically, I've put my graphic novel project on hold... But it's only temporary!! It was a difficult decision to make, but there are other projects that I feel need more urgent attention: collaborations that are important to me but that I've put on the back-burner for too long, orders, commissions, and also 'mind-space' to work on drawings for the different series I've started this year. 

On another note, the total number of pledgers on this page has reached 19 this month, for a total of 40$. So welcome and thanks to my newest patron Michael, who has been one of my most faithful supporters over the years and a wonderful pen-pal. :)

It's so wonderful to know that I have a support group who believes in me and understands what I do. Thank you to each and every one of you. Your kindness gives me drive to keep creating, help others dream, and hold out a hand to all those who are striving to connect more deeply with their own creativity. 

All the best to you,