The Prequel of Beefy Parisian Pig #0
As I child, I had animal friends but no imaginary friends I remember. But during a particularly hard time in the late 1990's (in my 30's), the name "Wanda Petunia" dropped into my head. Shortly after, her first story also arrived. My imaginary friend was born!
It was several years before my life circumstances changed, and I was in the place to spend time getting to know Wanda. Eventually, I shared her first story through a 4-part zine series and distributed them each week at a local bookstore, coffee shop, bakery and ice cream store.
In her first story, Wanda Petunia had been betrayed. This led to a transformational journey where she would eventually meet Beefy Parisian Pig.
Originally, I wondered if Beefy might end up being a romantic interest for Wanda?? - as she had just been betrayed. But as I got to know Wanda and Beefy more, I realized they would be soul friends, dear kindred spirits.
Eventually, I'd be blessed to successfully crowdfund the money to trademark Wanda's name, self-publish her first story in book form and start a sewing collective.
More years passed, and in 2016 I was in my first in-person Artist's Way class. One week that Spring, the homework included listing our "big, hairy audacious goals." One goal stood out for me: writing Beefy Parisian Pig's story in France in French. Realizing if this really were an important goal, then I should apply for a French artist residency. So, I did.
As good fortune would have it, I was accepted at the residency La Porte Peinte. In November of 2016, I traveled to the south of France, to the truffle growing region and during truffle hunting season... a series of fortunate blessings!
Arriving in Noyers, Beefy Parisian Pig, Wanda and I were thrilled to be at his homeplace - a few hours south of Paris.
It was a miracle. Thanks to many of my Artist's Way and dear friends, I felt safe and supported (even though I had a lot of anxiety during that period of my life). My travels from Charleston, West Virginia to Noyers, France was a magical trip. Finally, I could learn Beefy's history!
In France, I soon realized we were definitely in the land of sausage, ham and croissants, croque-monsieur sandwiches (aka hot ham and cheese).
This part of France was definitely the land of wild boars. There were also truffle hunters with much secrecy about the location of truffles and even the process of how to find them.
Once I had arrived in Noyers, I settled into my delightful room on the third floor - overlooking a grocery story across the stone street.
I picked a room where I could work on my creative project - on the second floor, off the kitchen.
The studio/work area had a large window and a table to create. It was October and already chilly in the stone building, but my spirit was on fire. I was over the top, immensely grateful to be there.
Soon I would discover two new friends who owned a pottery studio. I eventually got to play there - where I made a collection of clay pig's snouts.
I was able to go to yoga. I was able to read about truffle pigs and learn the legends.
On mornings, I would join local artists who gathered for a tiny cup of coffee - which was always accompanied by one small piece of chocolate.
Eventually, I would go to a truffle market - with regalia and ringing bells opening like the stock market, but on old stone French streets instead. More on that later!
And, I would deeply breathe in the air. This was the beginning of my journey to discover the history of Beefy Parisian Pig.
The next blog begins the story about Beefy I discovered while in France - in his voice.
"What does one do when your destiny is this - to be a croque monsieur? This is how my story begins… even before my birth. Because just as you have your own destiny - plotted for you to some degree long before your birth, so did I. And, I bet if you are reading this your destiny was not to be the ham of a ham and cheese sandwich. You probably weren’t destined to be the cheese or the bread either - and lucky you!"