I was chugging along in life minding my own business. As I struggled with Lyme Disease I dabbled in photography and somewhat in keeping a blog. Across the country, my friend and fellow Smith alumna was chugging along writing, teaching, and struggling with chronic back pain. Turns out this friend, Kathleen Schwab, was secretly a Pirate Queen. I think she may even have some trained falcons… but that may be just a rumor.
Kathleen is a wily one. A few years back, we reconnected via Facebook and started following each other's daily lives, you know, what we ate for breakfast and super important other things like the antics of her birds and my fat cat (who sadly recently passed away). I found out she wrote Hub Pages under the pen name Grace O’Malley and she found out I did photography. This is when she started to get wily. Given that her ancestress is really Grace O’Malley, Ireland’s famed pirate queen, this should have come as no surprise. Anyways….
It all started with a little flattery. We all know the power of flattery, right? She told me how much she loved my photography and wondered if she could use some (with credit) on her Hub Pages. I readily agreed, and then went to read a few of her hubs to make sure I hadn’t made a dire mistake… I hadn’t! (By the way, I know she would argue that it was not flattery, but genuine admiration of my work.)
Then, she told me about this project she really wanted to do. She wanted to create a devotional in the style of illuminated manuscripts using excerpts of her prayer journal. “What a lovely project,” I thought. Then she sprung the trap… “I want to use your photography,” she said. “I really like it and think it will go well with the writing.” (I’m using quotes, but really I’m paraphrasing here as this was a few years ago!)
I blushed and thought, “Are you sure you are talking about my photography?” A bit of time passed by, perhaps a year?
Kathleen thought it might be nice to try her hand at doing her own artwork instead and enrolled in art classes. Another year went by and she laid out her trap again. After a year or so of art classes she circled back to me and said that she really wanted to use my photography but then used her newly acquired art lingo to tell me why. I’m pretty certain that I blushed again and thought the same thing as before, “Are you sure you are talking about my photography?” I told her again, “Sure, let me see what you have and I’ll let you know if I think I can help.” (Hint: This is when I walked smack dab into the middle of the trap she laid.)
She sent me her draft manuscript and I immediately fell in love. In other words, trap was sprung, and she successfully kidnapped me! I felt compelled to see this amazing project through to its end. Approximately 16 months later we are almost there! Our soft launch for pre-orders is imminent as of this writing (September 2017).
Now this chronically ill woman who wanted to write children’s books (and still does, by the way!) has somehow produced a lovely visual devotional reminiscent of illuminated manuscripts. In the process, my relationship with the Lord deepened tremendously. I pray that yours will deepen as well when you engage with the amazing text and imagery. And, be careful! You never know when God will send along a Pirate Queen to lead you in directions you never thought you would go! Here’s my advice - say yes!