Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday is Personal History

A Visual Biography can take the form of a simple "A Day In The Life of Me" to a much more complicated "Mind Map". The first you could finish in a day the second might take a lot longer.

Either way lets start out really simple. Get your journal or a piece of paper. Draw something like the following:

0 to 5 5-10
10-1515-20
20-2525-30
30-3535-40
40-4545-50
50-55etc +5

You can use more than one sheet of paper if you want to. Just make sure you leave some room for writing. In each box write something that you remember about that time period. See the example below
0 to 5
Queenie- my first dog
Dan- called me clumsy
5-10
Froze my fingers
Rode Silver
10-15
Mom beat me
Discovered Poetry
15-20
Grade 12- graduated
pregnant
Single Mom X2

As you can see I put a lot of different things in my chart. This part may take awhile but remember all you need to do is put things down in point form. You don't have to tell the whole story. In the first box I could have just written Queenie and Dan. Each word or phrase tells a whole story to me. You have memories like this too. Things that stand out clearly and only need a word or two to bring to the surface.

This is also called a Narrative timeline in Julia Cameron's book Vein of Gold. I have several of her books and find them quite helpful

You are probably asking yourself at this point but what is a visual biography. Simply put it is your memories displayed in art rather than words.

Take one of your memories from the timeline and turn it into a piece of art. You can use any method you choose from a crayon drawing to a large painted canvas.Think about the memory and create a piece that expresses it. Note: This is another one of those things you don't have to share with others but even if you do you may or may not decide to explain your imagery. Personally I prefer to leave them guessing.

I call this piece "Eyes in the Dark"  Someone looking at this would probably not see the eyes but I do every time I look at it.
The main focal point

there is a single and a pair in this image

Some like these three pairs are more obvious than others
I created this piece to help me deal with one of the incest incidents in my life. Sadly in this one I was the aggressor and although he was older than me it was still incest and rape. I received his forgiveness six months ago but I still felt guilty. I used this piece to help me accept responsibility, forgive myself and move on. I still remember his eyes but I also remember what led up to it and I feel better.

Now it is your turn! It doesn't have to be elaborate like mine just a few splashes of color can tell a whole story as easily as an image as the one below does. It is called simply "Anger"



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