Tag Archives: Dr Abbey

Sharing my inspiration

Regular readers will know that I’ve been sharing a lot of art by Dr Abbey in recent months and that most weeks I put up a piece we’ve collaborated on. There’s a lot more going on in the background as we’re working on several much larger projects that will also involve Tom in the future. (For those of you who don’t stalk me thoroughly enough to know the details, Tom is my husband and co-creator on the Hopeless Maine graphic novels).

In recent months, Abbey has quite simply been my muse. I’ve had a lot of years struggling creatively, being short of ideas and energy and not getting much written. Working with Abbey has changed that dramatically. He has more ideas than I know what to do with. Most days he sends me new art he’s working on, and ideas to explore. He’s opened doors inside my head and has helped me find my way back to wanting to create, and to feeling excited about what I do. I’d missed that, and I’ve been missing it for a long time.

I’m always happiest when I’m creating with people rather than on my own, and I’ve been blessed with some fabulous creative collaborators along the way. Abbey is more than that, and has taught me a great deal about how to be myself, a process that has changed me in the last few years. Thanks to him I have a much clearer sense of who I am and where I need to be going, and a better understanding of where my creativity fits in all of that. 

Up until now, Abbey has done most of his creative sharing on Facebook, aside from what shows up here and on the Hopeless Maine blog. He’s now striking out with a ko-fi page, which means it’s easier to make his work visible to people. One of the (many) nice things about ko-fi is that you can follow people to see what they do. If you’ve found the collaborative pieces here interesting then I heartily recommend following Dr Abbey on ko-fi so that you can see and engage with more of his work.

Wander this way… https://ko-fi.com/abbeymasahiro

Dream Being – a story

You dream that you are walking through the city. The buildings are overrun with plants. Old bits of architecture peer through the vibrant new growth and you know this is not what you remember seeing. 

In the dream you remember those other, haunting images of cities that were barren grey wastelands. Inside the buildings was where the plants had gone ferociously wild. Leaves and flowers pressed to windows. And amongst them, sometimes, the decaying forms of the dead. You remember that the plants flourishing inside the skyscrapers were the reason people did not survive inside. The story went that the plants themselves breathed out carbon monoxide at night. You are not sure if that is possible. Maybe something else happened.

In the dream, you walk away from the city, and even as you leave you can hear that it is alive with birds now. You walk out into the desert. Once, there were fields and farms here, but those were dying when you were a child. Everything is dying. The ground beneath you is hard and what little rain falls runs off it in brief, devastating floods. 

Now you are dreaming about trees, and where your feet touch the exhausted soil, new growth springs up. You look back and see that your footprints are alive. It is your job now to make footprints, to dance life back into the desert. You spin, and spread your steps, knowing that what you plant on the ground with the soles of your feet will change everything when the rains come.

You remember that you are not who you thought you were. You forget who you used to be, because it no longer matters. Old grief falls away from you, because it must, because it is down to you to make life out of desolation and you are not prepared to fail in this.

(art by Dr Abbey, concepts from our joint project.)

The Teller – fiction

You are sat in the shade under the solar panels. It is the hottest part of the day, the best charging time and there is nothing to do but sit and wait.

She says, “It’s best of course to use energy as you harvest it, but this thing is so unstable with all the sails out and without them we don’t get enough juice to keep moving.”

You nod. The unfolded sails have legs to support them. You can’t imagine the machine in motion with all that extra width. 

“So I tried to find other ways to make it work, and this heats the water as well. I try not to let anything go to waste.”

It’s a clever system. You hadn’t realised the woman sat alongside you designed this machine. You hadn’t really thought much about anyone designing it.

While you wait, she tells you stories. She is amusing, and clearly in the habit of passing the time this way. You are hot, and uncomfortable and her voice is soothing. It strikes you that she is someone who makes her life with her own hands, out of whatever fragments can be found. Her clothes are beautiful, and you can see how they have been cleverly put together from scraps and elaborately stitched. You wish you had her skills, and say so.

“It just takes time, and patience,” she says. “Anyone could do any of the things I’ve done.”

This strikes you as unlikely, but it is a persistent thought and stays with you. What could you do just by getting in there and having a go? What do you want to do?

(Art by Dr Abbey, part of an ongoing fiction collaboration, currently we’re world building and thinking about what form this project will eventually take.)

Mapmaids – fiction in progress

The land has changed a lot. War, desertification, the work of resisting desertification, the abandoning of war-ravaged cities, the establishment of new towns and the building of the railway. No one quite knows where anything is any more.

The mapmaids are a band of adventurous young women who travel alone or in small groups, to map the land, find out what people are doing, and share stories. They favour wind powered go-carts, hence the goggles. There will be maps that are hand drawn onto large pieces of vellum – paper being far too delicate for this environment. There are also story maps, because those are easier to share and learn.

The idea of the mapmaids came about as a happy accident. Dr Abbey and I were talking about Hopeless Maine. I knew he’s meant to write ‘mermaids’ but as soon as I saw ‘mapmaids’ I also knew that they were a vital addition to this project. I’ve been waiting for him to draw one – and as soon as I saw this character, I knew that she was a mapmaid.

Everything changes

If you watch my youtube videos, you’ve already seen a fair amount of my flat – it’s a small space and I either film in a bedroom or the living room. I am however a rubbish photographer and I don’t have the kind of phone a person can take pictures with, so I don’t tend to post images that much. This, evidently, is going to change thanks to the skills of Dr Abbey, who does excellent things with cameras.

We have recently expanded as a household and as a creative team. It’s been fairly easy on both fronts – which when living in a small space is remarkable. Projects that Tom and I have worked on intensely together are now opening up to be three person projects and I’m excited about how all of this will play out. And here we are on the blog, which is usually my little corner of reality, with odd guest posts in it, and today I am sharing photos that Dr Abbey took of Tom while he was working.

I’m excited to see what happens for me creatively as we saunter on. It seems likely there will be more images on the blog as well. I have no idea what will happen. Adventure calls!