My Mother the Artist, in Memoriam —
Influences the Mission of The Woven Tale Press
By Editor-in-Chief Sandra Tyler
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]y mother, Elizabeth Sloan Tyler, was an artist, and for all of my growing up, she painted in our cellar. It was never even referred to as a basement, too low-ceilinged and with scant natural light, the three small windows overgrown with ivy. Everything about the room I remember as being dark: the black linoleum floor spattered with dried paint; the empty fireplace; my mother in the shadows, sitting on her couch contemplating a canvas on her easel. The only truly bright light was a reflective one, off of that canvas, fresh paint glistening in the dull glow of a single overhead lamp. That is how I remember her paintings, quite literally luminous in an otherwise dark space.
My mother’s years of painting in that cellar can serve as an apt metaphor for what we are striving for at the Press: To bring to light works by writers and artists who otherwise may be toiling away in their own “cellars.” On the Web, for every artist’s or writer’s website, there is that creative soul persevering in isolation, to hone his or her own unique statement, be it on a canvas, the page, or in any other medium. And it is a perseverance about which we can periodically question: Am I any good? Am I just wasting my time?
These are age-old questions we put to ourselves with every new rejection, be it from a gallery, agent or publisher. And for many of us, these questions may go unanswered—I witnessed how my mother’s self doubts could plague her creative process, as have my own doubts as a writer.
But validation in our creative endeavors is as much about being seen or heard as it is about being recognized for our talents–we all long for that audience. By featuring the noteworthy poem, painting or sculpture in The Woven Tale Press, we seek to do just that, aggregate an audience for these talents that our editorial staff culls from the World Wide Web.
April 16th is the first-year anniversary of my mother’s death. In memoriam, I am reissuing an excerpt from last April’s Press, which was dedicated to her. A year later, I am seeing how much of my aesthetics as an editor have been shaped by her own as an artist; I am forever indebted to her for teaching me how to “see,” and then how to translate that seeing into the transcendence of my own unique statement.