Wednesday, January 30, 2013


My November 2011 journal pages.

My sister Deborah and I have always been close. Just never as close as we are now.

We grew up in a family that assigned labels to each child—as many families do. I was the artist; she was the poet. And that, of course, was that.

Except that it wasn’t. In secret, I wrote and she made art. And we (secretly) resented the labels that boxed us in. Labels that ultimately stamped our passports to our futures: college and job choices, creative pursuits. Labels that drove a wedge between us—and drove us to bury our treasures beneath fear and anger.

With time, pain, and growing up, we chipped away at the boundaries. Our art and writing blossomed, and so did our willingness to share and support each other’s process. The day came when, at Deborah’s suggestion, we began a collaborative visual journal project. Each month we filled two pages with art and writing, then exchanged the journals by mail (she’s in Maryland, I’m in New Jersey.)

It’s difficult to express what this collaboration has meant to me. How it has impacted my creative journey and our relationship as sisters.

Perhaps all that needs to be said is that it’s been going on for almost two years and neither of us has missed a month.

Or that many of my journal entries reflect hers and vise versa. Sometimes they even share common creative elements, as if guided by some magical virtual muse.   

Or maybe this: we’re sending off a proposal to a women’s writing retreat to broaden and deepen our collaboration—and collapse the distance between us—as artists-in-residence.

Then again--maybe there's no need to put a label on it.

My April 2012 entry.
Deborah's Pocket Travel Book.

Page 1 of my Hurricane Sandy journal entry.

Page 2.

Me...June 2012.
Deborah's Writing Through the Blues, which was chosen as the cover art for Keeping Time: 150 Years of Journal Writing. Below are a few of her journal pages.