A Process Note
“Earthquake in Indiana” began with a minor earthquake and an unhappy marriage. It began with words, a short story. I arranged those words into a tiny 16-page book, the size of a business card, and sold the wee books for a dollar each at an art fair. I was recently going through some of my files when I found some of the original 8.5 x 11 printed pages that never got cut and stapled into books. So I started cutting the passages and gluing them to pages in my art journal. In some cases, I created new art to go with the words. Other times I let the words find their own premade images.
Before I applied to graduate school, I debated: art or writing? Which did I want to pursue? I had an English degree behind me, and I didn’t have any sort of art portfolio, so that sort of made the decision in favor of writing for me. But in recent years I’ve begun to combine written text with visual images. As I worked on my recent book, The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová, I kept a visual art journal full of paintings and collages that reflected the writing I was doing, and I was delighted when Rose Metal Press was willing to publish the art work as part of the hybrid text. I’m working on a series of image+text narratives including “Earthquake in Indiana,” so now, all these years since I applied to grad school, I’m happy to be pursuing both: art AND writing.
Kelcey Parker Ervick is the author of The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová (Rose Metal Press), a hybrid work of biography, memoir, and visual art. Her previous books include Liliane’s Balcony: A Novella of Fallingwater (Rose Metal Press), winner of silver awards from the Independent Publishers, Foreword, and Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Her story collection, For Sale By Owner (Kore Press), won the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Award in Short Fiction and was a finalist for the 2012 Best Books of Indiana in Fiction. Her stories, essays, and mixed-media narratives have appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, Passages North, Quarterly West, Notre Dame Review, and other journals. A recipient of grants from the Indiana Arts Commission and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, she teaches at Indiana University South Bend.