"She would lay in the darkness afraid to close her eyes. She would, like many nights before, stare at the slit of light of the nearly closed door waiting for her nightmare to burst in until finally exhausted, she could watch no more. On kinder nights, she would make up stories of fair maidens being rescued by handsome knights on horseback until
sleep came." Maureen Kavaney Tillman
Welcome to my blog!
Growing up in the house of a monster is an incessantly stressful, anxiety producing, never-a-safe-feeling existence. Not exactly the atmosphere one would choose to grow up in. Yet the daily tension and fear, the lack of a feeling of safety, the utter whole unpredictability of it based on whether the monster was in residence or not - whether the troll was under the bridge that day - necessitated the creation of a safe place to retreat to at least for a few hours.
That place was in the wondrous world of imagination and creativity with art and words - the beginning of my artist self and writing voice. Such flights of fancy always included very real mystical beings consisting of fairies, leprechauns, elves, pixies, unicorns and the dreaded troll who would sometimes invade the sanctuary casting his shadow over all.
Sometimes there was no portal to be found to that enigmatic place so in summers the only recourse was to run off into the secluded, inviting, sheltering forest that bound the house. It seemed to lie outside of the troll's domain for he never ventured there. In the woods you could build forts and castles filling them with wild flowers in abundance. There were: the beautiful pristine white trilliums, stately blue phlox, curious jack-in-the-pulpit, sweet violets in white, blue and yellow, the ethereal Queen Anne's lace, sunny yellow marsh marigolds, lilies and festive indian paintbrush - always intriguing to a fledgling artist, dainty wild asters, mayapples with their umbrella like leaves and the bewildering bloodroot, a delicate white flower that bled red from the stem when you picked it. Sometimes you would gather up a bouquet to bring home to your mother anticipating her loving embrace.
But always, sooner or later, through the dream-like ether of that peaceful place would come the cutting hot-tempered interruption of the monster's screaming whistle - like calling his hunting dogs home. You would race to get back before he whistled again - maybe you were deep into the woods, or had you missed his first call? - his whistle that made your heart race and your little feet run hopping over branch littered paths to get to the back door and feel the air to know if you were going to be ok - or not, that day.
In that world is where I met my muse. We grew up together. Or maybe she's my Guardian Angel or my Spirit Guide - whoever she is, she saved me from becoming lost to the more lethal forms of escapism that affect so many others. I thank her for that.
Janeen Veronica Kavaney 1954-2009
My sister, the one who never escaped.
I dedicate this first blog edition to her.