~ Izumi Shikibu
When Brian and I met at a dinner in 2015, it never occurred to either one of us that we would begin a life together. I had no inclination to step away from the world of academia I’d dedicated myself to for 20 years, and he was the artist of StoryPeople, already three years in to a contentious divorce that lasted until just yesterday...
Yet here we are. Beginning again. From scratch… here at Flying Edna. Creating a new company together.
This morning I think of a dear friend from South Africa… She and I met in a stairwell in 1999 at a conference in NYC, and have been like sisters ever since. Two years ago her car was burgled in a grocery store parking lot while she was inside buying milk. She lost irreplaceable intellectual property she’d spent years creating and didn’t have the money to replace the lost digital equipment. When she calmly told me the details, I asked her if she was ok, and she said something like, “I’m fine. This is South Africa. What happens to one of us happens to all of us. Why would I expect to be spared of the violence of spirit that is happening in my country to so many people…” This was her response. No anger, no blame, only compassion and understanding for the larger whole.
That Brian would lose the company he built and fed, is one thing. But to lose 19 years of copyrights to someone who had nothing to do with their creation is quite another. To separate the work from the living artist... to lose control of how your name goes out into the world... As a fellow artist, this seems improbable.
But, blatant lies are passed off as truth not only in our legal system, but all over the country right now.
He is fighting this, but currently this is the way things stand, and this is why we are taking the time to clearly state that Brian no longer has any personal or financial relationship with StoryPeople, with his sons who are currently copying his style, or with his own art as they mix and match his stories and illustrations as they please.
As I think of my friend, I summon her grace and expanded heart.
This is my country. What happens to one of us happens to all of us.
Each of us gets to choose the stories we believe about any given moment in time. And while we may be surprised by something in life, the shock can be an opportunity to reframe something in an entirely new way, one that leads towards a life you love...
always in motion,
p.s. Always attribute – never claim another’s words as your own. Even if you change just a few, the thought and heart, philosophy and insight is not yours. It is the original artist that was so accurate in a moment to inspire something so familiar, you thought it came from you. It didn’t. Attribute. Demand it of others… it will help people speak more freely if they know their words will not be taken.