Welcome! Come get acquainted and learn about what I do here.
Who am I?
That, my friend, is an excellent question, one for which we will have to find the answer together. Unfortunately, there isn’t a tidy dictionary definition for us, but if there were, it would look something like this:
Abigail Marie n. 1. a naturally occurring, peculiar individual of the human species, characterized in its raw form by wild hair, pen test markings on the left hand, and typewriter noises. 2. The author, editor, and artist derived from this raw material. Synonyms: A. M .S., Abigail, Abby
If brevity is your taste, skip down to the bottom and introduce yourself! But if you’d like to learn more, I’ve compiled some information for further reference.
I am a Christian, I like to tell stories, Christ is my favorite story (you can imagine that Venn diagram for yourself)*. Consequently, stories with a redemptive arc are close to my heart, maybe because every single one of us could share in that story if we would only grab hold of it. Or maybe because it always feels so refreshing when Eustace Clarence Scrubb sheds his dragon skin.
*(You will see that I enjoy graphs, diagrams, word play, mind maps, etc.)
When I was young, stories fueled my desire to become a writer someday. Most of the time “Someday” still feels out of reach, but every day is closer. I write mostly literary fantasy and historical fiction, but I have other novel genres brewing for the future, and I experiment with other genres still in short fiction. I also write poetry, some of which has been published, most of which doesn’t deserve a second draft.
My novel has been maturing for about four years. I’m writing the first draft, making a total mess of things as I splatter story paint (or mud) onto the page. It isn’t always as fun as it sounds. I will tell you more about the novel and my writing process sometime.
A huge part of living my passion for good stories and skilled writing is helping other people with their writing. I have been freelance editing since autumn 2018. My professional work includes novels, nonfiction, and poetry. Working with other authors helps me understand excellence in storytelling and the craft of writing, and it’s (usually) an uplifting experience. Read more about my professional editing work here.
But what does writing really mean to me? As a writer, I am always seeking words, moments, and details that capture the complexity of my subject. Likewise, as an artist, I am trying to create things not for what I see but for what they are, or what they could be. I am enamored by authenticity and the idea of becoming one’s true self (the image of who we are meant to be in God, a concept explored in some measure by C. S. Lewis). Writing is a quest in search of these principles and so many more. I would love for you to join me on my travels– though I think you’ll find we don’t have to go very far.
For although I do catch the occasional wanderlust, I am mostly a close-to-home girl. I understand that desire to be in another longitude and latitude, to occupy different soil, to wake up to different skies, to be constantly in motion experiencing the new and different. But I am interested, too, in the idea of creating roots, of discovering how we become defined by the places we dwell in. I explore this in fiction and in creative nonfiction that I will share here sometimes. I love hearing stories about where people grew up, and about what returning to a place means to them, as much as I love hearing about exotic places. Through writing, I want to show the wonder in things so ordinary we forget their significance, and the familiarity of truth in things that are outside our everyday realm. This is why I write both fantasy and realistic/literary fiction.
(It is also because I am notoriously indecisive and will second guess myself to the end of earth.)
History is another way I explore the world. I like old-fashioned things: old-fashioned tools, old-fashioned books, and especially, old-fashioned ideas. If you like that sort of thing, you will enjoy it here. I occasionally share research for some projects I am working on as well as any relevant discussion topics.
Studying history led me to also enjoy learning languages. French, Koine Greek, and Irish are my main studies, as well as Swedish and touches of Russian.
Violin is another language I understand. My left fingertips are calloused from speaking it so much. However, I don’t typically like any music while I’m writing. It’s fine, and even desired, when I am drawing though.
As an artist, I work with traditional media, digital tools, and fabric. A distant goal of mine is to blend all forms of my art, including Story, into one project, but that is far in the future and barely worth an “I’ll tell you about it someday.”
There are many other things I would like to tell you about someday. For now, the important thing is: I am glad you are here.
What is Damselflier Studio?
Damselflier Studio (or Damselflier) is the official name for my artistic endeavors. It includes everything from drawing to sewing, and has been around since 2017, though it took a hiatus for 2 years. Early patrons will remember the journal covers, which I am happy to announce will be making a comeback in the future, along with new colors and size.
The story behind the name: my mom helped me brainstorm dozens of names for this project when it started two years ago (she is good with ideas like that). A damselfly is a lesser known relative of the dragonfly, and is slimmer and more delicate in appearance. At rest, its wings are folded up, not laying flat, unlike a dragonfly’s (an analogy for you: “damselfy : butterfly :: dragonfly : moth”). There is a metaphor somewhere in the fact that it holds its wings up, but I have not determined what it is yet. In any case, the name suggests something just beyond the ordinary, something imaginative yet down-to-earth; the kind of thing you don’t see every day. You look for it in the garden without realizing it.
what is the garden?
(Or, what is this website?)
This is where you and I sit under the garden tree, or drift on the swing. It is where the jasmine scent is strong and the curiosity is stronger: where, I hope, there is a sense of ease and welcome that is tempered by a sharpness of mind and willingness to learn, cultivate ideas, and grow in wisdom. We will talk about our new favorite books and what we think of when we look up at the night sky. We will discover new questions to ask, and unbury old ones that need to be asked again.
More practically speaking, this website is where I share my art, writing, historical research, personal musings, and areas where any of these intersect. It is where I find out how I can bring all or some of these more holistically together (suffice it to say, art tells a story and words paint pictures). You will find these topics tucked into corners throughout this place. I talk about books, art, and a plethora of other things on the journal portion of the website.
Some days the garden will be wildflowers and tangles of ivy brimming in every corner, full of surprises. Some days the sprouts will be straight rows, bright green check marks two inches apart, like neatly spaced penmanship. Always, there is abundance and never barrenness, especially if you are here. Bring some tea (or lemonade, or coffee), your favorite notebook, and your trustiest pen.
Now, I’d like to meet you (and yes, feel free to reference your dictionary of choice). While a person, like a well-plotted book or garden, is always greater than the sum of the parts, list any details of note. If we’re already friends, come say hello!
This place is as much about you as it is about me, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, requests, ravings over your new favorite book, or just thoughts that you want to share, in the comments. I look forward to deepening our acquaintance!
Grace and peace,