A very talented artist friend asked me if I'd intended for my fire goddess painting to be named 'Devine' rather than 'Divine.' I actually checked back and her name is definitely 'Devine.' She's mentioned in my memoir, now in the polishing stages.
I don't want to drastically alter the manuscript, so I've been writing some blog posts with additional linked information, for those interested in my creative process.
The memoir I'm currently finalising, is probably way more accurate than a typical memoir, as I've spent a lot of time cross-checking my journals, vlog etc. I decided to cross-check about the origins of why I chose 'Devine.'
Below is a tiny snippet of the argument, I'd had with 'Maxwell', the autistic guy I'm writing about in my memoir, Bipolar Courage: Are you sure you're not autistic? (By the way, the subtitle is something he'd said to me).
‘Women are of the devil, I swear.’
‘I am too honest, Maxwell. Women have abused me more than men. Do you think I am of the devil too?’
‘No, I think you’re decent underneath it all.'
You'll need to read the book for full context of why he'd said this (he was angry), why we'd argued (hint: loads of drama) and what happened next. I painted Devine Fire Goddess, directly inspired by what he'd said. As, I'd been triggered and one way I deal with this is to improvise some art. Then, I ended up processing a whole lot of linked triggers.
Maxwell liked the painting. I later cut her up. The book will explain why and how etc. The book is basically the bigger picture, that not even he knows.
So why devine and not divine
I actually thought that was the spelling. 'Divine' looks odd to me, and clearly, I've been spelling it wrong for a while. I'm a visual speller. Usually a good speller based on how a word looks, not sounds. When I've made 'typos', it's usually because I've substituted a linked word that might look similar. Yes, it's usually a brain-glitch, rather than autocorrect, for me.
I checked back to my journals and checked my vlog. I put 'Devine,' since before she appeared on the canvas, when she was still in my imagination. Of course, how any of my art is always a surprise, as I improvise.
'Devine' is apparently a name and I now recall Ned Devine from a film called 'Waking Ned' (1998) but that wasn't noted anywhere as one of my links.
It was mainly the 'women are of the devil' comment. I'd been called 'demon-possessed' before, before I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, then later bipolar disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. Even, as a child. One triggering event, shown below, which I wrote into my semiautobiographical novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice, is memoir:
From devil to devine
My records show I was thinking of a name for her, before she materialised. I was imagining goddess names with fire themes.
I'd thought of 'Davina Devine,' then wondered if that sounded too porn-starish, so looked that name up (is apparently the name of a drag queen). So I ditched that idea. I also wasn't keen on 'Davina' as it's also linked to a trauma name with similarities.
I think, with my links and associations, I derived 'Devine' from the word 'devil', transforming it. That's basically what my art does. Maxwell understood this.
Both Devine and devil start with 'devi-' (so now my mind thinks of the word 'deviant').
I was intending the definition of' 'divine': godlike, pleasing, delightful. Maxwell had called me a 'goddess' and 'delightful'. The painting is a metaphorical self-portrait, combining some of my features, like my full lips and the little dimple in my chin, with Wonder Woman (mainly the Lynda Carter version from the '70s) and the character from my novel. Plus a bit of creative imagination and symbolism.
She represents how I feel in a bipolar mania episode. Like a goddess of fire, combined with Wonder Woman (inspired by both Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot versions, preferring the warrior style outfit).
Below is an extract from my art journal, which records which colours I used and any other useful information. I sketched out a 'mask' face, with approximate proportions to bring to life. I used this as my reference, not a photo, so she was really a figment of my imagination.
Below is a page from my journal, where I'd scribbled themes and anything that stuck out from the songs I'd listened to, as I processed, while I'd painted. Too much to detail here and I haven't even gone into detail in the memoir, although some of the themes, like 'hell' were mentioned in conversations with Maxwell.
The painting in part, represents my name change, but I haven't gone into that in the memoir, as it's departing too much from the core storyline. I might explore this painting again, in my novel, Soar Purpose (with fictional characters), so go deeper with some themes that I've omitted from Bipolar Courage.
The truth is though, Maxwell inspired the painting. I don't get angry easily but I was upset with him and how I dealt with things was to go off and create. I've only mentioned a few of the most symbolic paintings in the memoir, to try keep the storyline focussed.
I'd written in my journal that I'd added the words 'believe me' while listening to the song by Seal called 'Love's Divine' (which I wrote as 'Love Devine' in my journal). I can also see the word 'evil' (rearranged) in 'believe'. I also can see 'be', 'lie' and 'eve' which have all been themes in my writing.
I don't like to lie, so my novel was 'lying to tell the truth' by having composite characters and places, with real dialogue. My first memoir is pretty much unfiltered, just changing names and being vague about places (as no one was famous).
My current memoir is filtering with vagueness for the privacy of people in it - not easily recognisable to random strangers. Also omitting some content and paraphrasing anything distinctive. This memoir is my most emotionally vulnerable to date.
I will be making the book cover from cut-up paintings, mentioned in the story. Today, I rearranged some pieces, and called it Divine Divided. 'Divine' looks like 'divide' to me, which is a theme in the memoir.
The story is about an intense connection with Maxwell, with mutual attraction and clashes. The bigger picture plus the detail, of the story I want to tell. It's a bit like preparing several linked artworks for an exhibition. They all tell stories but there's an overall story. Everything is linked.
I won't be updating my manuscript, other than perhaps to tweak with a few sentences. So anyway, that's a little of my creative process. I put together the 'broken' pieces, still vibrant.
My vision is four books total, two novels, two memoirs, all linked but with separate stories. I anticipate self-publishing my third book by September 2023. I have one third of the book to read through, to tweak anything. Then the final formatting into book margins etc.
A friend is waiting to read it, to hopefully pick up anything obvious that has been missed. I don't mind if I break the rules of grammar, as long as I have said what I intended.
I still have the cover to design, although I've already experiemented. It's definitely a hard work stage. I've been working on it for around an hour each day, lately. Rather than an intense hyperfocus of several hours, then not touching it for weeks.
My creative projects give me a sense of purpose.
Just a little extra I remembered, when I came back to this later. I see links and symbolism in everything. 'Believe me' was in the Seal song, I'd felt emotional at the time, so painted it.
When it's mirrored, it looks to me like 'will, 'veiled' and 'evil.' My mind reads into things too much when I'm anxious.
Seeing links and associations goes with creative minds. It ramps up with some disorders.