I have spoken at length about my love of using art and writing to open portals to other worlds, times, and experiences. The following is a story about how I decided they would be doorways, above all else.
As a child, I preferred to spend most of my time alone, reading, drawing, and daydreaming. My father died when I was 7, and I struggled to keep my head in the real world following that. I received a notepad from someone a few years after his untimely death, though I don’t remember who gave it to me or why. It was a very odd shape, like an arched door. I immediately saw the possibility of this book through the unusual form of the paper. A myriad galaxy of doorways, each leading to somewhere unique and beautiful, burst into my thoughts.
I began to draw those doors, opening to castles, jungles, faraway planets. My imagination was already full of hundreds of fantasy novels, and though they were beloved, I never drew Middle Earth, Westeros, Faerûn, or Earthsea. These places I created were a tiny escape hatch for me alone. When I felt scared, alone, or sad, I opened the sketchbook and picked a place to visit. I would close my eyes and imagine I was there. Knowing that my worlds were always there waiting for me was comforting and calming. I could always draw a new one if I got tired of the ones I had.
I lost the book as I got older, but I still imagined the doors. Sometimes, they weren’t even fantastical imaginings but simply better futures that I used to motivate myself to change my life. I saved my own life leaping through those thresholds, each a portal to possibility. I still visualize them constantly. I imagined the door that took me to art school, the door away from my abuser, the door to my art career. I stepped through all of them and never looked back to see if the entrance I came from was closed. I knew more would open, and there are more opening all the time.
After a time, I decided to light the path for others to come in and experience what I see. When I still had the sketchbook, my favorite door to visit was a field full of wildflowers and greenery—a snow-capped mountain in the distance. The flora was so lush it had creeped out of the frame in my drawing. I tried to recreate that feeling in this photograph, allowing you passage to this world, too.