Friday, March 7, 2014

The Summer of Letting Go Karma or Coincidence? Countdown (Lori Landau)

If you've read this intro four times already, for Pete's sake, please skip right down to the guest post!

As some of you may know, THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, my second novel for young adults comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Skybut also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really be coincidences, “but something bigger and magical at work.”

Do you think our lives are random, or do you think there’s “something bigger and magical at work”? Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question, “Karma or coincidence? Random or something magical at work?” 

- gae

Lori Landau

Today, for a twist, I have my dear friend, Lori Landau, here answering the question "random or magical?" through her ART.

Lori is not only a friend I've known since our teens, but a talented interdisciplinary artist, writer and meditation teacher.
You can read and follow her blog, Conscious Creativity HERE.

Inevitably, when I see one of Lori's drawings, I immediately marvel at how she seems able to capture the essence (or soul) of a person with so few lines. . . Here she is:

artwork, Lori Landau

I never fool myself that I'm adept enough to draw a true likeness of someone. But I'm fascinated with exploring the unseen, the essence of being. 

For me, drawing a portrait is an act of conjuring. I don't draw to reproduce features as they are, but to commune with consciousness and transcribe soul.

I'm often surprised by my own results, in spite of my intention to convey the unknown. What appears on the page, versus what was in my mind when I began drawing becomes a mysterious reverberation of magic. 

There are countless times that I have picked up a pen to draw my husband, or a stranger I see in an airport or restaurant, and what surfaces instead is the face of one of my ancestors, often my grandfather or a great uncle. 

Drawn on a poloroid, this is an actual
magical manifestation of my grandfather. Lori Landau

Here, my uncle arises...
People who are concealed in my memory are revealed when I least expect it, in an act of reverse divination. 

A sense of sorcery shows itself in the eyes and mouths that defy my hand and take on a life of their own in the faces I draw. What rises from the depths of initial inspiration is evidence that there's a larger, secret force at work in the world.

All artwork: Lori Landau
In art and life, I believe there are two dynamics that exist in connection with one another, separate from an objective. It's clear to me that the images that manifest within my portraits are inexplicably bound to a mystical source. They are apparitional bits of visual phenomena, spirit scripts that are beyond my control. 

Each face I draw is in a sense, 
borrowed magic 
masquerading as an image, or a likeness. 

So when I sit down with the aim of drawing someone in particular, someone else entirely might speak to me in an invisible language. 

For me, drawing is an act of summoning. Lines and shading and color become vehicles for coincidence, a collection of two or more conditions, closely related by form which appears unlikely to me when I pick up my pen. 

- Lori

Please check out The Summer of Letting Go and all of Lori's really magnificent ART (portraits, paintings and photography) as well as her meditation information and blog. And if you enjoyed this post, check out the rest of this week's posts here:

Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

Hart Johnson writing as Alyse Carlson

James King

Barbara O'Connor.

Thanks to all the wonderful friends participating. Stay tuned for next week's posts!


  1. So many similarities between the drawing and writing processes. I was fascinated by your description of how the "character" takes over, the pen/pencil moving in ways you hadn't intended, conjuring up the mysteries of the past. Beautiful writing here... and beautiful artwork.

    1. thanks, Jim.....I am endlessly interested in the interplay between not only art and writing, but between mystery and the ensuing magic of what is created. I KNOW that you know what I mean ;)

  2. What beautiful words to describe art.

    1. thanks, Heidi! I hope the words are an image onto themselves. ;)
      part of what I LOVE about The Summer of Letting Go is the magic that dances between each line. I am so excited for this book......