Thursday, December 1, 2016

How to Make a Human Sculpture: A Reaction to On Display with Heidi Latsky

I have to be honest, folks. I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of woman. Learning in the moment and trying not to have too many expectations usually works to my advantage, particularly as a dancer. I approached On Display with the same mentality. Before rehearsal, I watched one video so I knew it wasn’t exactly a dance. I also knew this piece originated out of an audience member’s reaction to another work of Heidi’s called The GIMP Project. Lastly I knew On Display explored the age old question, at least in my mind anyway, to stare or not to stare?

At left: Venus de Milo statue by Alexandros of Antioch; at right: Body Shift dancer, Alison Kafer in “Crippin’ the Streets” (Photo by Camille Wheeler)

Fast forward to the first rehearsal, can you say awkward? Because that’s exactly how I felt, like a bull in a china shop. I remember heads turning at the sound of my purse as it thudded across the floor into the corner of the studio. I could feel my face turning the slightest shade of red as my sticks aka crutches tingled and clanked to the floor. My butt was happily surprised by the cushiony folding chair as I sat joining the circle of bodies. Heidi’s description of the project moved quietly past my ears and up and around my brain, “We’ve always been taught not to stare; not to look at someone deeply because it might offend them; that if someone 'different' catches our eye we have objectified them. This is the life of the viewer. Alternatively, should we possess a birthmark, a glorious height, or unknown disability we risk being too noticeable and often ostracized or worse. This is the life of the viewed. On Display is a deconstructed art exhibit/fashion show and commentary on the body as spectacle and society's obsession with body image. It turns a cast of diverse and extreme bodies into a sculpture court where the performers are the sculptures. And so, I’m going to teach you some meditation techniques.” My comprehension came to a screeching halt! “Did she say meditation? Oh crap! Meditation might as well be a four letter word,” I silently groaned trying to control the horror as it floated across my face. Then I heard, “This piece is not about performing; this piece is for you.” Those words instantly took my fingernails off the chalkboard of my mind. I decided there was something to learn here and I was in it for the long haul. Maybe this meditation technique will stick and I can finally be part of the Zen crowd like I’ve always wanted.
At left: white marble statue of muscular man, title and artist unknown; at right: Body Shift dancers (from right to left) Susie Angel, Dany Casey, Errin Delperdang, and Tanya Winters strike a pose with heads turned to the sky in “Your Way of Thinking” (photo by Leon Alessi)

Where was I? Oh yeah, meditation. Take a minute to quiet your thoughts, hold the palms of your hands over your face, close your eyes, and let the weight of your palms slowly press into your face. Breathe slowly and deeply. Now repeat (to yourself) after me, “I am…right here. I am…right here…I am…right here…” When you feel ready open your eyes. You have just completed the quick and dirty version of a portion of the meditation Heidi taught us. My experience, at least for the first bit, was more like, “I am (still wearing my work badge. Why didn’t I take it off) right here…I am (having an enormous spasm. I will never get up off this floor) right here…I am (going to the grocery store after this. I need coffee).” Strive for my experience and you’re missing the point. ☺
At left: The Belvedere Torso statue (early drawings by Amico Aspertini); at right: Body Shift dancers Susie Angel and Errin  Delperdang at rehearsal (photo by Michael Joplin)

Try to keep your mind on your breath and those Zen feelings with you, as I move on to my favorite part of the rehearsal. If you’re like me and you grapple with spasticity on a daily basis, you know we move about as fast as a herd of turtles. Add aging to the equation and you’ve got a herd of turtles slugging through molasses. So you can imagine the pure joy that beamed out of every part of my body when I heard Heidi say that our goal was to stay as still as we could for as long as we could. When we did move we had to move as slow as we could-keeping our focus inside. Our intention was to explore every glorious nook and cranny of our insides as we changed position. Halleluiah! I was on it. As soon as I closed my eyes, I felt like I was the only person on the planet-floating in a bubble that gently hovered above the ground. I was tuned in to every tiny flutter of every muscle. Priceless, gratitude, beautiful, and precious are the only words that begin to describe how I felt. Validated, genuine, worthy, and valuable were my only thoughts. Finally I get to be me; for me, and nobody else but me. This, this is what dance should be about. How can we dance with others if we can’t dance with ourselves?
At left: The Winged Victory of Samothrace statue, artist unknown; at right: Body Shift dancer, Silva Laukkanen from On Display Austin Pfluger Bridge Installment (photo by Kelly O’hare)

Listen friends, I hate to say it, but it’s time for me to wrap this up. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this blog post is a tiny sliver of my experience. There is so much more to tell both as the viewer and the viewed. To get the full effect of On Display Austin: A Movement Installation you must see it/feel it live and in person for yourself. I am over the moon grateful to have had the chance to be a part of it! I hope you’ll join me and many other Body Shifters on Saturday, December 3rd as we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with two showings at The Blanton Museum of Art located at 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Austin, TX 78712 from 12-1:30 PM and 2-3:30 PM!
 Body Shift dancer Susie Angel from On Display Austin Pfluger Bridge Installation (photo by Kelly O’hare)

 Body Shift dancer Michael Joplin from On Display Austin Pfluger Bridge Installation (photo by Kelly O’hare)

Body Shift dancer Jae Hoon Lim from On Display Austin Pfluger Bridge Installation (photo by Kelly O’hare)

Only you move like you. Feel it; celebrate it!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What Are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving friends and supporters of VSA Texas! As this is the official day for giving thanks, we would like to share with you what we are thankful for:

I am thankful for the amount of creativity I have in my life. As every artist knows, it is really hard to make your living just by your artwork alone. So I must have a job. But I don’t mind at all, because I love my job. I get a chance to interact with artists and writers and dancers and singers on a daily basis and that makes my life more enriched and fuels my creativity when I do get a chance to create my own art. So thank you to all of the artists out there. Keep it up!
April Sullivan creating a yarn painting during the East Austin Studio Tour. Wearing a t-shirt designed by artist Steve Connor. (Photo taken by Jennifer M. Ramos

I struggle every year at this time to name what it is I am thankful for. I was raised in a home where we didn’t talk about our feelings, and what is Thanksgiving about if it isn’t about your feelings? But, because I have been given the assignment to cast out into the air my thankfulness, I will. I am thankful I have two brothers who love me warts and all, and who didn’t kill me those many years ago, although they tried their best. I am thankful for good friends who listen to my rantings and know that I just really, really care about all things vulnerable and powerless and want the world to be a better place. I am thankful that I have a challenging but rewarding job, working with people whom I admire and respect. I am thankful, although Austin is changing and growing in ways that I don’t like, that it still is one of the best places to live when you dislike the cold and snow and ice. And, finally, I am thankful that I still have all my five senses in good working order, that my intellect and cognition continue to keep me upright and forging ahead, and that the absence of TV and other media from my home has kept my sanity somewhat intact. Although some would question that last one.
Celia and her trusty steed in Iceland earlier this year

5 Things I’m Thankful for:

  • Dogs! Because of their ears. I love to pet a dog’s ears! Dog ear therapy!
  • The Instacart app. Delivering groceries to my house? Way worth it!
  • People who get right to the point
  • My support system (aka Mom)
  • My boss for her accommodating nature (she lets me sleep at work!!)

A German Shepherd puppy with ears forming a triangle over its head peers over a fence.
A gray and white basset hound with huge outstretched ears like an elephant stares straight at the camera.

First and foremost I am thankful for parents who taught me the golden rule, to embrace diversity, and to value giving to those who are hurting and especially those who are spiritually depleted. I am also thankful for being accepted at VSA Texas by such fun loving and conscientious individuals that raise me up to be a better person and help raise my awareness of folks with different needs. A special shout out to an amazing brother that challenges me to cook better, read more, take better photographs, and be good to myself. And even though he thinks he's right about everything, he usually has pretty good reasoning to substantiate his rightness. Darn he is so witty. Of course there are other family and friends that always provide me with wonderful sources of entertainment and wittiness as well, including play time with my great nephew. I am thankful for my theatre family and my film family who amazingly I still know throughout the years and we still pick up where we left off. Lastly I cannot thank enough the brave and courageous women that went before me to pave the way towards equality for women, those suffragettes, those in the background that fought the way for me to vote. I am grateful for the freedoms I have and hope to continue to have. I hope I can still fight the good fight for freedoms for everybody and am grateful again to my parents, that through their wisdom I learned to think for myself, make my mistakes, and make my choices knowing I would one day understand the wisdom in them.
VSA Texas staff members pose atop the snow-covered Great Wall of China with the help of a
choose-your-own-background phone app.
VSA Texas staff with the addition of new Development Director Janelle line up before a dozen flip charts posted on a white wall at the 2016 staff retreat.

I am thankful for my new home and even more for surviving another move with the added stress of remodeling that home for accessibility. Now that we're all moved in, I am happy to say it was well worth the wait and I finally live in a home designed with my needs in mind! I am also thankful for my creativity and for the people and organizations (VSA included) that consistently provide opportunities for me to express that creativity. Last, as with every other year, I am thankful for my family, friends, co-workers, personal care attendants, and I hope to add a dog and a new wheelchair to the list sometime during the next year!
Eric and friend Ryan perform a song at the VSA TX/CTD-sponsored Lion and Pirate open mic
(Photo courtesy of Malvern Books)

And last but certainly not least, on behalf of everyone here at VSA Texas, we would like to thank all of our generous friends and supporters – be they donors, teaching artists, contractors, volunteers, program participants and their families, or members of our statewide community of artists with disabilities and veterans. Your support in whatever form you express it means the world to us!

Okay, enough blogging for us! We want to know what you are thankful for! So if you can spare a moment on your turkey day, please leave us a comment below and tell us what you cherish most.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

OMOD San Antonio

Hey everyone! This is your friendly OMOD project coordinator here with the latest in OMOD news. Over the past six weeks, we took the OMOD program on the road yet again – this time to San Antonio. We partnered with the Center for Higher Independence (CHI) at Providence Place to provide an OMOD class to participants of the CHI program and members of the San Antonio community at large. We ultimately served eight participants in our program mostly from Providence Place. As for classroom assistants, we assembled an all-star team in Austin OMOD graduates Jennifer McKinney and Nissi Salazar, OMOD project facilitator Nicole Cortichiato, and veteran OMOD videographer and long-distance driver Nic Hester. Providence Place provided us with a rotating cast of staff members to make up the difference, and we even reached out to our original instructor extraordinaire Chris Strickling in Izamal, Mexico for her suggestions and revisions, and she truly was the secret weapon, ingredient, magician, story whisperer – I think you get the idea – of the class.

The San Antonio program was much like any other OMOD class, only with the addition of hellish traffic and Schlotzsky's on the way home. Whereas in our El Paso and Houston classes we contracted with local writing instructors to facilitate the classes, this time, with San Antonio much closer than the previous two long-distance programs, we decided to commute back and forth to San Antonio for six consecutive Tuesdays. Although we were present and on the ground for every class and thus eliminated the extra, often unreliable layer of Skype to reckon with, the San Antonio class did present its own set of challenges – as does most any class anywhere – but through creative problem solving and advice from OMOD staff members near and far, we were able to surmount each challenge with relative ease.
The San Antonio group sits in front of the packed cafeteria waiting for the showcase to begin. 
In typical OMOD style, the final class showcase evoked honesty, warmth, and humor through the telling of real personal stories capable of upending the dominant narratives told about people with disabilities. We heard stories about transformation, likes/dislikes, vacation adventures, pets, acting, bullying, friendship, aspirations, and independence. As OMOD instructors and staff members, we can never anticipate exactly how the audience will receive the showcase stories and we rarely expect which specific presentation tips or strategies will resonate with which participants – for some it's using hand gestures or eye contact; for others it may be losing their scripts in favor of remembering key points, or incorporating photos or other visual media to supplement a presentation by someone with difficulty reading or slow speech – but as long as we all show up, remain patient, and keep our faith in the process, we almost always succeed. Our showcase might have been on the shorter side, but it packed a punch I'm sure the audience will not soon forget!
Hannah smiles while presenting her story at the San Antonio class showcase.
Thanks again to Providence Place for hosting our OMOD class and to our myriad assistants, staff, and volunteers who made it possible!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Circle of Gifting

Hi everyone! It is April here and guess what! It is time for our annual Holiday Art and Gift Show at VSA Texas. This is our 8th annual exhibition of great art and gift items made by Texas artists with disabilities. If you haven’t been before, or even if you have, I highly suggest you attend. This is an event we started back in 2009 when we had our gallery. Who remembers Access Gallery? I miss that quiet little spot on Guadalupe. But even when we closed the gallery, we continued this show, because it is a way for us to showcase the talent of our artists from all over the state. We turn our classroom 101 into a shopping extravaganza. And I must say, the room really looks great this year (thanks to the fresh vision of our new staff member Janelle, who also took the photos for this blog, so you will see what I mean by vision)!

Here is why you should come shop at our Holiday Art and Gift Show. We are calling it the Circle of Gifting:
  • You buy something you like at our Holiday Show.
  • You give VSA Texas the money.
  • We give 70% of that money to the artist who created the art.
  • We take the remaining 30% and use it to keep our outstanding programs going.
  • Then you give that gift to your friend.
  • Your friend now knows about VSA Texas and may know someone who can benefit from our programs.
  • They send their friend to VSA Texas.
  • Maybe that friend is an artist and enters next year’s Holiday Art and Gift Show.
And it just keeps going! Don’t you want to be a part of that? I know I do. So come visit our Holiday Show. Here are the details:

Our shop will be open Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm each day in Room 101 of the AGE Building. Come to 3707 Home Lane, Austin, TX 78705 and follow the signs for the closest entrance.
Poster for the Holiday Show

Here is a sneak peak of the show:

An overview of the exhibit
Lightcatchers by Sue Ducett-Lloyd of Austin, TX
Mugs by David Lamb-Vines of Lubbock, TX
Jewelry by Denise Knebel of San Antonio, TX
This is just a small sample of what you have to look forward to when you come to the VSA Texas Holiday Art and Gift Sale. We open up next Monday and run through Christmas Eve. Have you ever seen a Thanksgiving card? In Braille? Well, we have them! And you can be the unique person who sends one to a friend and starts the circle of gifting.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Halloween Edition

Greetings blog readers! On behalf of all of us here at VSA Texas, we would like to wish you a happy (and spooky) Halloween! Here are some of our fondest Halloween memories:

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! First of all because CANDY!! I love candy and I rate all of my holidays based on the opportunity for candy intake. So that puts Halloween at the top of the list. I also love dressing up for Halloween! I am a big procrastinator on getting a costume together. Last year I was making a mask out of a recycled cereal box an hour before the party started. This year, I am sure I will pull something together before the big day.

My best Halloween memories are of dressing up and going out to Halloween parties with Milton. As a big lover of anything silly, he really enjoyed coming up with a wacky idea and then I would get creative on putting it together on a budget. This was not always easy since Milton was over 6 feet tall and the outfits at the local thrift store never fit that well. But that one time he was Frankenstein, the suit being too short at the ankles and wrists really worked out to be an advantage. Here are some photos of our Halloween fun:
Milton and April dressed up as Aliens (but mistaken for bees)
Milton dressed up as Joey Ramone and April dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood
April dressed up as a Zebra and Milton dressed up as Buckethead

One year I dressed up as a care bear and this amazing photo (below) was born. As my aunt tells me I was crying "probably because your mom cut your bangs crooked. Seriously. You were little, tired, jonesing for candy and a tad bit overwhelmed. You wanted to get the show on the road already."
Janelle as pouty care bear beside Godzilla, the devil, and a bat, all carrying plastic pumpkins for candy

I hate to kill the mood of this blog, but Halloween is hands-down my least favorite holiday. Really, my issue lies with the costumes, be it picking a costume that everyone else has already picked out, lacking the resources or craftiness to piece together my own, choosing a costume I should have known would offend everybody (dressing up as a disabled Vietnam vet = terrible idea), or not being able to realize a costume that is actually comfortable to wear. That said, there have been a few Halloweens where I was proud of my costume and one where I even won a costume contest, when I dressed up as a box of Chinese take-out and gave out fortunes I made in my first ever wheelchair costume (comfortable? not so much). Below is a picture of another fond costume memory: myself and my friends Rachel, Kat, and Bry posing for a photo at a haunted mansion themed dance in high school. I believe the ladies are dressed up as a hippie, a fairy, and a vampire; I am dressed up as a bum sporting a classic fedora and an upside-down sign reading, "To Scotland."
Eric and three friends posing in their costumes before a haunted mansion backdrop at the high school dance

Recalling memories of Halloweens and trick-or-treating is rather sketchy. I remember I liked the candy but not having to work for it. When we lived at Ft. Hamilton in Brooklyn, I remember going to the apartments of people my parents knew, and there were always homemade candy apples, popcorn balls, brownies, sometimes fruit or chocolate covered raisins, but not much in the way of candy bars. My brother and I usually wore makeshift costumes from my mother’s closet since there weren’t any costume stores and carried brown paper bags for the treats. Still I didn’t like trick-or-treating because I felt like I was begging for food from strangers. So I quit going out and made my brother share his loot.

My fondest memories are of my dad when we moved to Austin. He loved greeting the kids and commenting on their costumes. He set a big planter shaped like a cauldron in the bay window at the front of the house, put dry ice in it, and placed a corpse hanging from a noose above the cauldron. Of course all the lights were turned off, and it made for quite a show. Today I enjoy going around the neighborhood where my niece lives with my great nephew in his homemade costume and watching the outdoor parties where kids and parents alike have really decorated their yards.

Here’s a picture of the costume I might wear this year, if I decide to roam the neighborhood:
Count Orlok, the vampire from Nosferatu

Halloween has never been a big deal for me. My mother was Canadian, so she thought the idea of dressing up in a costume and going door to door to beg for candy was just a ridiculous idea. So I only went trick-or-treating once in my life – that I can remember. My brothers and I did go to the Halloween party at our school one year. I wore my mother’s dark blue wool army nurse's cape, which dragged behind me on the floor because I was around 7 years old. I won a silver dollar. I don’t think any candy was involved.

So, fast forward a few years. I am living in New York City and I have met my wonderfully crazy friend Janet, who is all over holidays of any kind, and Halloween ranks right up there. We are going to our company’s Halloween party and she insists that we dress up. So, I give her the lead and just go along for the ride. She took my father’s formal dress tailcoat from the 1930s and covered it with glittered fruit cut from oranges, bananas, limes, and lemons. She created antennae from orange Styrofoam balls to affix to the top hat, and glittered red satin sashes with our names. So this is the picture: top hats with antennae, black tail coat covered with colorful fruit, a red sequin scarf for a very short skirt, and a glittered sash.. Voila! FiFi and FruFru, the Manhattan Fruit Flies! And yes, we won the costume contest.

Now, onward to Austin. My friend Beverly asks me to help her greet the trick-or-treaters every year. She always does it up nice. I dress in black, with spider webs in my hair, and wear the frog feet I got from my friend Ann. I put the candy in a big cast iron pot with dry ice, so smoke rises up. I reach into this pot to get the candy. A nice effect! Bev is cooking stew, so the kids are afraid we are going to eat them, thanks to a little acting on my part. On the porch sit several mannequins, dressed realistically, with dark shadows and eerie music. Four middle school boys come to the door and physically jump back when I slowly open the door. After getting their candy they slowly back away from the door and then turn and run down her driveway. I heard one say, “ I wasn’t scary at all.” HA!

Finally, the frog feet played another prominent role a few years later. I went with a friend and her 4-year-old boy to Boo at the Zoo at the Austin Zoo, wearing my frog feet because becoming an amphibian at Halloween just seems right somehow. So we arrive at the store/cashier and are waiting for the train ride to begin. I sit on the couch and lean by head back. Something is not right. I turn my head to the right and am eye-to-eye with a large iguana, who was perched on the back of the couch. Yep, eye-to-eye we communed, and I could tell that he approved of my feet. Just saying.

Happy Halloween everyone. Be safe out there, have fun, don’t get sick on candy, and above all, celebrate your inner amphibian!

What are your fondest Halloween memories? Tell us in the comments!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mama's Got a Brand New Bed (For Now)

Yes, it’s true. I bought a bed for work. My name is Nicole Cortichiato, and I have narcolepsy. It’s a sleep disorder where my sleep schedule is different than yours. Way different, trust me.

Napping is medicine to me. I need a nap every 2-3 hours to function. It doesn’t alleviate all the symptoms, but it helps tremendously and my boss Celia provides me with that accommodation.

I need to sleep like you need to use the bathroom. Unfortunately, finding a bed to sleep on at a moment's notice isn’t easy. Often I’ve had to sleep in a coworker's car while at work, or if I'm out in public, find a coffee shop with a couch. Sometimes, if I’m alert enough, I’ll even walk into a business with a comfortable chair and tell the employee I need to sit down for 30 minutes, say I have narcolepsy or just that I have a medical condition, and hope they will be kind enough to let me rest there.

Fun fact! There are also horses, goats, and dogs that have narcolepsy. See below:

I know... when it’s a dog or other animal, we feel way more empathetic. That poor, poor puppy. Look at what he has to go through. :(

Anyway, I’m not writing to get your sympathy. I’m writing to tell you about my brand new bed. Why did I get a new bed? Well, the old one was this pathetic lawn chair with no lower back support and a screw missing. Not to mention it was three rounds in the boxing ring to find a comfortable sleeping position!

So, I found two different businesses that make a portable blow-up bed (Outdoor Junkie and Akface). A portable bed I can carry around with me and fold up into a purse? Awesome! Naturally I bought one from each company (one to keep with me and one to stay at work). Now if they could just sell it in a vending machine... Then I would really be in heaven.
Me in the midst of a work nap on a new bright blue bed.
Remember: no nap is complete without a blanket and Teddy. Yes, this is a medical condition.
The beds arrived AND I slept like a baby for two weeks! But then... one day I fell back trying to sit on one, and I hit my head pretty hard on a bookshelf. Ever try getting on an inner tube in the water? These beds are just like that, only there is no water. So, after my little accident, I decided to sleep on the couch in Room 101, which is sometimes available but definitely not a permanent solution for space reasons. For now, I guess I will keep the beds for when the couch isn’t an option, and maybe I need to look for a helmet to go with the blow-up beds:
Me in a motorcycle helmet. Somehow the lawn chair doesn’t seem so bad now.
So if you think a nap would do you some good at work – you know, to increase productivity – then I fully support your decision to get a bed and take naps at work. My suggestion though would be to get a giant bean bag chair or some other safer option. And if you have any suggestions for my plight, please send them my way, because mama could always use a brand new bed.

If you want to learn more about narcolepsy, you can find more information here:

Happy Napping!


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why We Need to See Characters with Autism on TV

One of the most frustrating things about parenting a child on the Autism spectrum is explaining to people how a spectrum works. Autism is one of those things where people have one experience with it and apply that to each and every kid that they come across. I suppose it is human nature to lump things into categories; I just never thought it would apply to my kid.

Most movies and television shows that portray a character on the spectrum give them some sort of “talent.” This has led to more people than you want to know about asking me point blank “So, what’s your son’s THING? I heard all kids with autism have that, right?” How I longed for years to see something that took away the ‘magic’ from kids on the spectrum and showed the day-to-day life.

Then, Parenthood got really popular on television and I had an entirely new thing to bitch about.
Max Braverman, a character on the popular television show Parenthood played by Max Burkholder, struggles with transitioning when a trip he was supposed to go on did not go as he had planned and begins to throw things around the room. His mother Kristina, played by the actress Monica Potter, stands by and attempts to help Max calm down.

I used to find myself incredibly annoyed at people coming up to me and saying “That kid on that show reminds me so much of your son! They are like the same person!” Then I would watch the show and want to punch a wall because what I was seeing was different from what I knew my child to be. It felt like such a disconnect and all I could think was “They have the same haircut and they are both on the spectrum. That’s it. Now stop talking to me and trying to make me watch that show.”

After years of staying angry at anyone who tried to compare my kid to one on television, it dawned on me that I was looking at things all wrong. I started to see the similarities – the trouble adjusting when things did not go exactly as planned, getting up in the morning, switching from one task to another. I started seeing what other people saw. I realized that my kid and the kid on that show didn’t have to be exactly the same for it to translate.

From Parenthood: Max sits on his bed cleaning the lens on his camera while his father Adam,
played by actor Peter Krause, stands beside him talking.

People NEED to see things on television or in movies in order to understand them better. It doesn’t matter if my kid and the kid on that show are the same, to the person watching, it’s about a connection to another perspective. If even one single similarity exists between the two, then it is a success. That’s one of the greatest things about visual storytelling; people feel connected to it. They feel like it’s part of their own life and maybe they understand my life a little more. And that is a wonderful thing.