In order to create compelling content, I have turned to my own experiences living in and visiting family in the rural South. Within these stories, I seek to inhabit a space that combines nostalgia with particular imagery and an ambiguous, unsubstantiated fear of The Other.
Uncle Frank's ghost still hangs out in an old metal lawn chair, just to the right of the woods I've painted here. It's become something of a ritual to wave at him. This land has been in my family for at least a century.
I draw deeply from my own experiences for these short visual and written works: I grew up in rural Appalachia, a region that is often portrayed as backwards, mysterious, and sometimes sinister. I spent much of my childhood visiting family in rural Florida and North Carolina. I love these places, with their secrets, their mystique, and their unapologetic pride. When I moved to Chicago as an adult, I developed an awareness of how non-urban cultures (including that of my youth) were traditionally described and portrayed.
My grandfather grew up in the house pictured in "Termite Fodder." No one is buried under the stairs. At least not at that house.
My fictions seek to explore this concept of The Other from the perspective of someone who is within that space but trying to portray truths as if she were not. As such, they simultaneously substantiate and ridicule preconceptions, and leave the viewer questioning what is actually real.
My grandparents built their home from scrap, using what they could find and what they could salvage. The resulting structure annoys the sensibilities of adults but delights the wonder in children. Secret passages abound, doors lead into hidden rooms, closets branch off into unlit staircases to another world.
Once I nearly stepped out of an exterior upper-story door that had no porch beyond it—I had no idea the door had been placed there in lieu of a wall. I would have plummeted to my death (or severe injury) were it not for a giant banana spider the size of my head that had wrapped herself around the knob, causing me to turn and go the other direction.