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Receiving Beefy's Story

I highly recommend Elizabeth Gilbert's book, "Big Magic." In it, she writes about creative ideas. I love one visual example she shares of how ideas fly through as if on the wind. Whoever connects with an idea, poem, story, invention >> is who benefits from them. That is truly how I feel about both Wanda Petunia's and Beefy Parisian Pig's stories.

In an earlier writing, I shared how I let myself immerse in French culture and in the world of truffles without forcing myself to write a story. This was definitely a trust practice, but I had already learned there was no other way for me. I had to practice patience and trust because trying to force a story brought forth no fruit, except frustration!

I know writers who labor over their stories. I have finally learned to labor and immerse myself in the scene, the character, the details... then the story arrives. I know it can be hard to write like this - especially for an impatient soul like me! But it does turn out so much easier in the end and makes sense when the story finally does arrive! Blessedly, near the very end of my residency and after much research, walking, resting, experiencing, and watching > Beefy's story finally arrived into my imagination.

When Beefy's story appeared, it was a flow of words and images. My original dream had been to write the story in French in France. I didn't get the written in French part done while there. But at least, the English version arrived ~ and barely! Talk about patience! As it turned out, his story was a bit sad. But that made perfect sense too.

Beefy was feeling the ache of loneliness and grief. He had lost his family, been stolen, had to watch markets and restaurants selling his friends for lunch.

He ended up working alone in a French truffle shop late one evening, right before sunset, when Wanda Petunia blew in through the door.

The same felt true for me in this way - when I was in France, learning about all things French and truffles, doing my thing > the story blew into and through the door of my mind. Just as Wanda appearing into Beefy's world brought him hope, so did Beefy's story bring hope to me.

Then I left France, and it felt like the door closed to Beefy's world. It wasn't a slamming hard closure, but just a screen door bang and I was back doing therapy, life.

Four years would pass without too much thought or effort put into Beefy or his story. Then, in early 2020 the Covid pandemic would arrive and shut down much of life, including my life. I was still working, but totally from home. I wasn't traveling or going anywhere.

It was in this forced quieter space that Beefy resurfaced, re-appeared. As I had more quiet time, the inspiration came to finally re-read, re-immerse and finally illustrate his story.

I began to sketch in my journal first.

It felt good. I kept journaling and painting about Beefy. I had already pondered re-illustrating Wanda's first two stories in watercolor and collage. This medium switch inspired me to consider creating Beefy's story illustrations in the same way. It would be a trilogy!

So over the past few years, this is what I have been doing. Sketching, reading his story, painting and collaging the images.

It goes slow, because honestly I get distracted.

But the compelling desire and fire still burns inside me, so I don't give up! I've often thought that Beefy has an important story. It is about what I deeply care about >>> animal rights and humane treatment of all beings, and loss.

One heartfelt part of the Wanda adventure stories is my own origin story of caring about pigs and being fired for it as a young girl. I very deeply care about all beings, and pigs are some of the worse treated beings on earth. They are kept in small cramped pens for extended times and maybe their whole life.

They are treated roughly, as if they don't matter. Many animals are treated this way. I think if more people could see how their meat is treated, they would either not eat it or demand change.

I choose to believe that many, if not all, people care about humane treatment of animals.

Maybe this is not something you have thought much about. If you want to eat meat, it can be self-preservation to not think about it.

But that is why I have chosen to focus on both illustrating Beefy's story in 2022 AND also sharing information to help others understand how pigs are treated.

If you are in the World of Wanda, you likely care about these things too. I realize that many friends of Wanda eat pigs and eat meat. That's why I have thought a lot about this topic. I definitely do not want to cause more trauma in an already traumatic world. But turning away from acts of inhumanity is not the answer either.

What do you care about? What on our planet concerns you? I would love to know. If we each make even small steps toward positive change, then that is change!

There is hope! Humane treatment for all beings, including self > this is what Wanda and Beefy are all about :)

XO, Amy

Photo above: It's a blurry pic, but so special. After returning from France, I got to attend a play retreat offered by my friend Barbie. Right before I arrived, I saw this pig on the side of the road. I stopped to say hi, and the owner informed me the pig had been rescued from a barbecue. It's another story I've written, that will hopefully be ready for your reading someday too!! So many stories :)

Other photos:

Top photo: Near a field of trees planted to try growing truffles in a more controlled setting, Noyers, France.

Second from top: Beefy at a street market where his friends are being sold as food, Noyers, France.

Third from top: Journal page of Amy brainstorming Beefy's story.

Fourth and fifth photos: a building with boar/pig's feet in Noyers, France countryside.

Sixth photo: a collage of Beefy Parisian Pig in the French truffle shop.


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