Visions of Imagination

A title reveal, an inspiration, a gentle train of thought

Dearest Bookworms,

It’s Sunday, I’m resting in the morning cool in our kitchen, nursing a flare-up in my hips that makes my legs feel elephantine. Before the pain really settles in, there’s a certain mistiness and a cognitive fog that arises, through which I can still compose sentences. So I’m writing to you now, and then I’ll write a little more of Quin’s next story. The title will be Embrace of Belonging. To write a romance, for me, is to write not only about discovering and moving into an enduring love, but to write about belonging.

In these periods of fog where I can still think, a memory often emerges of the book on Californian pictorialist photography I borrowed once from the Santa Barbara library, back when we could still afford (barely) to live in that beautiful city. On the book’s cover was a photograph by Anne Brigman, a visionary artist who became an associate of Alfred Stieglitz’s Photo-Secession, broadly conceived as a movement against conventionality in photographic art.

What I love about Anne Brigman’s works are they way they drape the gauze of her inner world over the solidity of the human body and our shared, outer world, to give insight into the fragility of all things:

A painterly, misty photograph of two women in a strange embrace, together embraced by two windswept trees. The photograph is manipulated to resemble or approach the sensation of fine art.

Anne Brigman, Heart of the Storm (1918)

Photograph of a bare mountain range with a cloaked figure in the foreground. The photograph has a misted quality and is heavily shadowed as if taken early in the morning or at dusk.

Anne Brigman, Sanctuary (1921)

I received two lovely reviews this week for Crossroads of Desire that showed me the story had become what I’d hoped it might. I had feared that Quin’s job might not come across as the worthy vocation I believe it is — and not only in the context of disability. I am married to a former sex worker, and I feel differently than many people about this work. It is worthy in the way that any serious work is. Especially in the context of disability it can become a vocation, even if society won’t abide it and laws won’t accept it. This is where Quin is in his life.

With love,

AR x