Wednesday, March 25, 2015

11 The Found-Art Mosaic of Storytelling, a WOW-Wednesday Post by S.P. Sipal

Gabi & her crows
Did you hear the news story that was going the rounds a couple of weeks ago about the young girl in Seattle who has been feeding the crows in her backyard for years and they repay her kindness with gifts? From buttons to broken beer glass to paperclips to a Lego piece, the crows bring the mini-human who feeds them faithfully the plunder of their scavenging. And she saves, documents, and treasures each one.

Perhaps it is because I have a backyard full of crows, or because my own daughter has always had a fascination with birds (or any animal for that matter), but this story really touched my heart. However, when I looked at the picture of some of Gabi's prized gifts, it was my imagination that was stirred. I saw something else...pieces for a mosaic.

crow gifts
Mosaics, traditionally made from shards of colored glass or stones, may have always been a product of recycling, even in ancient times. But recently, a new practice of "found-art" mosaics has grown in popularity. Taking bits and pieces of our discarded culture, of items considered worthless trash, these artists create stunning images that also say something about the way we live.

Much as Gabi's crows have done for her and the people who've heard her story. From birds usually seen as pests, comes a collection of debris a young girl treasures as priceless. A lovely mosaic is formed of the surprising connection that is still possible between human and nature when we pay attention.

So much of storytelling, it seems to me, is built upon feeding the crows. In the beginning, as fledgling writers, we flit about on the changing winds of craft and market, trying to find our way. We gather nuggets of advice, some good, some bad, and hoard it close, hoping to come upon the one piece that will transform us from ugly duckling to published author.

For most of us, time passes...and passes...and passes. Yet if we keep faithfully feeding our muse, writing new stories, making connections with other writers, living a full live, and always observing the people we interact with...then somewhere down the line, our crow of a muse may just gift us with one shiny, ocean-rubbed piece of glass. A request for a full. Or perhaps a sale of a short story.

Encouraged that this muse we thought had bird brains has finally been paying attention, we seek her guidance faithfully. And, eventually, the scattered shards of our writer's life comes together to form a beautiful picture. A sale of a novel. A touching letter from a fan.

By Found-Art Artist: Jane Perkins
And this is the point, it seems to me, where the gathering transcends our personal interests. For while we have been crafting our writer's life, we have also been gluing together the elements of our story. The tip of the hat from the old man at our corner grocer that works its way into our character's goodbye. The clean trace of a tear (last seen on our child) through a soot-covered cheek of our firefighter hero. The rough shards that make up the work we create are brought forth from a faithful feeding of of our muse. Authentic storytelling emerges from the life we live...more fully when we pay attention...and touches the lives of people beyond ourselves.

Writing can be a long and lonely road. But gradually, if we're patient, and if we keep feeding the crows, and value the bits and pieces of experience and connection they bring us, then one day we can piece together all these shiny discards into something harmonious. An amazing found-art mosaic of Story.

To celebrate the release of Southern Fried Wiccan, I am giving away a beautiful bee pendant. The honey bee was a symbol of Artemis of Ephesus, who greatly influenced my young heroine, Cilla. This handcrafted pendant also symbolizes the shards of inspiration that come together to form a a beautiful mosaic.

Pendant Crafted by Minerva Mosaics

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And "bee" sure to check out another giveaway on my home blog for a Turkish tea set!

About the Book:
Southern Fried Wiccan by S.P. Sipal
Cilla Swaney is thrilled to return stateside, where she can hang up her military-brat boots for good. Finally, she'll be free to explore her own interests--magick and Wicca. But when she arrives at her grandma's farm, Cilla discovers that life in the South isn't quite what she expected. At least while country hopping, she never had to drink G-ma's crazy fermented concoctions, attend church youth group, make co-op deliveries...or share her locker with a snake-loving, fire-lighting, grimoire-stealing Goth girl...

...Who later invites her to a coven that Cilla's not sure she has the guts to attend. But then Emilio, the dark-haired hottie from her charter school, shows up and awakens her inner goddess. Finally, Cilla starts believing in her ability to conjure magick. Until...

...All Hades breaks loose. A prank goes wrong during their high school production of Macbeth, and although it seems Emilio is to blame, Cilla and Goth may pay the price. Will Cilla be able to keep the boy, her coven, and the trust of her family? Or will this Southern Wiccan get battered and fried?

Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About the Author:
S.P. Sipal

Born and raised in North Carolina, Susan Sipal had to travel halfway across the world and return home to embrace her father and grandfather’s penchant for telling a tall tale. After having lived with her husband in his homeland of Turkey for many years, she suddenly saw the world with new eyes and had to write about it.

Perhaps it was the emptiness of the Library of Celsus at Ephesus that cried out to be refilled, or the myths surrounding the ancient Temple of Artemis, but she’s been writing stories filled with myth and mystery ever since. She can’t wait to share Southern Fried Wiccan with readers.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


  1. This is an utterly beautiful post, Susan. So gorgeously written and deeply meaningful, and I love how you connected the mosaic bits, the crows' gifts, and the muses that feed our stories.

    Also, I'm beyond excited to have this book out in the world at last. I'm celebrating with you, sweetie. And I hope everyone will read this!



    1. You are too kind, as always, Martina. But thank you so much! ;-)

  2. The pendant is amazing! I have a love for bees - I used to live in an old farmhouse that had a hive in the walls. In the early spring if I pressed an ear to the upstairs wall, I could hear them buzzing. And often, I could smell the sweet fragrance of the honey. Because of that, I have a story simmering about a girl who listens to bees.

    I'm looking forward to reading SOUTHERN FRIED WICCAN.

    1. Thanks so much, Jeri. That is so interesting about the hive in the world. I think smelling honey all the time would make me hungry. ;-)

      I love the story idea of a girl who listens to a lot! Good luck with it!

  3. Wonderful post. I LOVE the cover of Southern Fried Wiccan. The story sounds very interesting.

    1. Thanks so much, Rosi! Anita Carroll, the cover artist for BookFish Books, did a fabulous job. ;-)

  4. Beautifully lyrical post. It made me take a deep breath and look at the sky - and the crow taking a bath in a sprinkler puddle next door. Can't wait to read your book. XO

    1. Aww, thank you, Leslie. That's very sweet of you. And loved the image of the crows. Two are squawking outside my window right now.

  5. I love the look of the story! I'll have to check this one out :D

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it. And love your "write brain" handle!


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