Wonderful People on my Writing Journey Part 1

I’ve made the decision to start a series of posts about people I’ve been lucky enough to meet on this long and winding journey into creativity and health.

Through emails, research, recommendations, and websites, I’ve found people that I’d never have met outside of ‘Steph Writes and Illustrates’. They are exciting, charitable, talented, creative, in pain, clever, progressive, supportive, and interesting. I’ve been left wondering many times why I didn’t search for people like this sooner because honestly, they leave you with that warm feeling in the pit of your stomach. The same feeling you have when you smell your takeaway arriving. The same feeling you have getting ready for a night out with your favourite people. The same feeling you get when your child appears on your bed on a Sunday morning and hugs you until your heart wants to burst. It’s a comfortable, warm, smile-inducing warmth and we all need more of it in life.

For me, I’ve needed more PEOPLE, more ANYONE, in my life for some time. Being agoraphobic, living such an insular life, means I rarely talk to anyone other than my long-suffering partner. Meeting these new people has therefore been life-altering for me. A few messages between myself and a new virtual friend can mean EVERYTHING on a difficult day. It’s one of those moments when someone does something really normal and mundane to them, but to you, it brings a long-awaited smile or a new connection / listening ear that you haven’t had for years. It’s wonderful.

So I’m going to write about them because they had a positive effect on me. For that reason, they fit perfectly on my blog, proving that good things can happen too, sometimes in an unexpected way. Writing about mental health is hugely important to me, but from time to time it can get heavy or difficult to let out. Writing about other kind souls is a bit of positive, light relief for me and I’m happy to be sharing it!

Today I’m writing about a glorious, original, and talented lady called Rachel…and I found her in one of those weirdly round-about ways.

The mental health blogging community is vast and it reaches far and wide. I’ve been lucky and made several connections with other bloggers along my journey (so far). It was while making these connections that I found Anneli at Pigletish. She has a beautiful site with a blog where she talks about mental health, recovery, and self-care. Hopefully, I will be posting about her and her journey soon as well.

When I find a site like Annelis, I often find myself falling into a black hole because I become engrossed in someone elses content. Ideas start to flow for my own site and I end up continually reading, scrolling, and marveling at the lovely work from someone else in the same field. Anneli posted a lovely shopping entry, talking about pretty, dreamy, celestial items to help distract you with their beauty. She had furnishings, blankets, mugs, clocks…all sorts of items and all very alluring. Then I saw a picture of some prints and in that perfectly unexpected way, a piece of art carried me away and held my hand into a dream world, where I wanted to close my eyes and stay for a while. I was in love.

Art is 100% subjective, I realised that a while ago when the comments about my own drawings started to appear. They weren’t always kind. But Rachel has created a selection of prints that seem simple, but have the power to put me in a pillowy soft daydream, sat in a house in the middle of nowhere, the fire is roaring and I’m laying in an armchair with my feet on a stool and a blanket over my legs. As I doze lightly in and out of sleep, the only thing I notice besides the odd crackle of the fire is the light of the huge bright moon coming in through the windows and the sound of an owl, safely nestled in one of my neighbouring trees.

When a picture has the power to do that, to create a strong and pleasurable vision, or provoke a long-forgotten memory back in your minds-eye, to distract you from your media-res, then in my opinion it’s done its job. And that’s how I felt about Rachels work.

She’s managed to find her own style (something I envy) and when I looked at her store on Etsy, I loved every one of the pictures. Each set felt like a different mood, a different time, a different season…and consequently (for me) a different memory.

It’s honestly very rare for me to do anything like this, but I had to show her work, try and recreate a crop of one of her pictures myself, and show you guys how beautiful I thought it was.

Rachel herself is a lovely lady, we’ve had multiple conversations, and it’s wonderful to find an artist who is open to conversation and ideas. I asked her permission to write this post, to do my own rendition of her artwork, and give all of you a link to her Etsy page so you can see it for yourself. Not only did she give me that permission to do ALL these things, but she also offered me and ALL OF YOU a discount code for 25% off the cost of her prints in her Etsy store. The code is FRIEND25 and you can find her store here.

As I say, it’s rare that I post promotions like this, but I loved Rachel, I loved her art and I loved the immersive feeling and memories it provoked for me. I really hope you love her work too.

Of course, as always, a comment on my own artwork at the top of this post. It’s obvious when you look at the original, which is a painted piece by Rachel herself, that my snapshot in Procreate doesn’t really do it justice. But I wanted to have a go and Rachel was kind enough (and unlike many artists, open enough) to let me try. I thank her for that, although I think she has a rare thing that I may never find…an MO.

I also thank her for my prints that arrived today. They are A5 sized and ready to be framed in my agoraphobic shrine of positivity and they are just as dreamy as I expected.

Hopefully, a long and happy friendship will blossom from this random meeting of the minds!

Thank you Rachel, and welcome to Steph’s World!

Published by stephc2021

Hi! I'm Steph, an amateur writer and illustrator specialising in Mental Health and being a self-confessed Spoonie. My website is home to any successful fiction I create, with stories that have won so far covering difficult subjects such as baby loss and mental health in grief as well as some funny and heart-warming tales when I get the inspiration. Every drawing and picture on my website was created by me. I spend a lot of time coming up with illustrations to accompany all of my posts and pages. I try to create original content across all of my channels, whether I'm writing about my own fiction or just generally musing on mental health or my own issues. I want to be part of the change because I believe the understanding of MH in the UK is getting better, but has a very long way to go. By being honest about my own struggles and symptoms I think others will relate and hopefully it will encourage them to talk to someone and get the help and support they need. Long term my goal is to help children too, help them understand their own mental health and how to help with the mental health of those around them. I live in the UK with my partner, daughter and dog, I swear frequently and I adore a well made, traditional, gooey, chocolatey, delicious brownie.

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