IF YOU COULD TELL THE WORLD YOUR STORY,
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
BELIEVE is a sketchbook-format, autobiographical account of life with chronic illness, by Deanna R. Meyer (that’s me!)
A terrible diagnosis, or two, doesn’t have to mean perpetual doom and gloom, or the end of the world, though it may well feel like it. The sketches in BELIEVE, and their accompanying text, give a brief, yet intimate look into life as a young person with chronic illness. Memories-turned-illustrations fill the pages alongside coming-of-age stories. The ghostly apartment, young love, & being diagnosed at age twenty-one with Multiple Sclerosis, take you through to parenthood, weaving together an artist’s perspective of life.
This sketchbook is a part of The Brooklyn Art Library’s “The Sketchbook Project.”
Though it’s a very personal narrative, the book is ultimately out there now for the people who fight every single day to find a reason to believe. It is a reflection of my own life’s interesting challenges, and how I navigated through them.
• WHAT IS THE SKETCHBOOK PROJECT?
The Brooklyn Art Library is home to the world’s largest collection of artist sketchbooks. Anyone from anywhere in the word can join the project. They offer a hands-on experience with a library that houses all the sketchbooks sent to them, and also by taking sketchbooks on a mobile tour.
You can learn more about this wonderful project here https://brooklynartlibrary.org/library/
• WHERE IS THE LIBRARY LOCATED?
The library is at 28 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
• WHERE CAN I READ BELIEVE?
The library is closed currently, due to COVID-19, for now you can read the book online!
When the library reopens, BELIEVE will be available to be read in the library. Or if you can’t make it to Brooklyn, it will be recorded in the B.A.L’s digital library located on their website.
When it’s safe to hit the road again, BELIEVE and the other amazing submissions for volume 15 of the project will go on a mobile tour. It’s looking like we can look forward to that in 2021.
COVID-19 NOTICE From the Brooklyn Art Library:
Due to present circumstances all touring is on hold for the remainder of 2020. We will resume touring as soon as it is safe to do so and will continue sending out updates letting you know where and when your book will be out in the world. Touring is a huge part of our mission as we want to make the books accessible to as many people as possible, and we love getting to take the project on the road!
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Each of us has a life struggle. Mine has been illnesses: Multiple Sclerosis and Endometriosis.
MS is an autoimmune disease, and is the kind of illness where even doctors don’t necessarily know what the outcome will be.
Multiple Sclerosis is unique in how it behaves. What it affects in the nervous system is different in each MS patient. In some ways I’ve found that to be a positive thing, because I never allowed my diagnoses to give me a vision of how I was “supposed” to end up.
I feel fortunate that the avenues I’ve utilized to get well have worked so far. Although I realize that life can change in a moment’s notice– at this point in time I find myself in a good place.
These two illnesses are wildly unpredictable, and there is no known cure for either. They are both lifelong conditions. It is a definite that my health has influenced my art.
You can see more about me as an artist here.
As an artist with disabilities, I decided to use this book as an opportunity to tell my life story.
At thirty-eight years old, my lengthy list of medical experiences have given me a lot of stories to tell.
My sketchbook is formatted like a ‘book dummy.’ Also called a “mock-up,” a picture book dummy is usually the thing an artist sends off to see if a publisher thinks the book is publishable.
It is generally made up of the story’s complete text, and pencil sketches for the majority of the images.
The difference is that this book will live in the Brooklyn Art Library’s physical and digital archives, and is not for profit.
I attended vocational school for desktop publishing (formatting text and laying out pages for publications) and art school, graduating with a degree in commercial art/illustration in 2004. A diagnoses was made in early 2004 of Multiple Sclerosis. Around 2012 I was diagnosed with Endometriosis.
The process of telling my life’s story in fifteen illustrations and seventeen written pages was difficult, technically and emotionally. It’s been a cathartic experience, and one I shall never forget.
My hope is that by telling my story, others who experience chronic pain or disabilities of any kind will find hope and a virtual friend in their time of need.