When I was a little girl, I would examine the people that occupied my church’s pews, trying to discern their stories from afar. I assumed their lives were much different than mine. Many lived in the Parish community, sharing assorted familial and cultural ties. I, on the other hand, was an outsider of sorts, hailing from another town, the offspring of a Catholic mother and Southern Baptist father. I always felt a sense of isolation in that faith community. But truthfully, I preferred my solitary position, because while I was terribly inquisitive, I was horribly shy.
My interest in “the other” remains today, but now, the strangers that capture my interest are often those I place amidst paper and text. This piece is a case in point. It features yet another nameless girl. I found her image and the torn book page among some family possessions. Her story is unknown to me, but I strain to hear it as I peer into her face.
Pins & Needles is currently in The Stars of Texas Juried Art Exhibit. Prior to the judging process, I saw a young woman stop and examine it. Then she motioned to a friend, indicating they should look at it as well. I wonder what she thought . . . what she saw. Were her impressions of the girl the same as mine or entirely different? I suspect the latter, because so often we imaginatively shape the stories we hear and intricately weave the stories we tell.