A medical procedure (minor, thankfully) has eaten up a lot of my time this week -- most of it from worrying, I have to admit. Hours of bed rest was prescribed, and because I really have a hard time doing nothing at all, I was thankful to have a fascinating true story occupy me.
One of my favorite jewelry designers on Etsy told me the story of her mother, from the time she was a child in Indonesia to when she moved to the Netherlands after World War II and how she coped with being a widow and single mother in a foreign country thereafter. Because I myself am an Asian woman who displaced herself and moved to a European country, I felt an immediate affinity for the tale. I couldn't resist, and proposed that we take the story and make an Imagined History book out of it.
It took me several weeks to get it done -- this happens when I'm biting my nails about something; I just can't seem to write very well when I'm stressed -- but now the story is finally finished! It's made up of three parts, and ends with an epilogue. You can see details of the finished embroidered book in the mosaic above. Here's an excerpt of the text, from when the mother had just moved to the Netherlands:
Because life as eldest girl was hard
Arjatun spent all the time she could spare
in the nation of dreams, where she
married a handsome knight,
was taken away to live in a kingdom with roads paved emerald,
lived in a castle carved from rare ebony,
met new people who welcomed her with a shower of lotus petals,
every spring sent a caravan of the season’s sweet harvests
back home to her family,
bore children with golden hearts and with wings on their shoulders,
watched the little ones grow up by her side into magical men and women,
lived happily ever after embraced in the arms of her knight.
But then she woke up:
They had been forced to leave home,
for a kingdom now impoverished,
where the people called them names
and made them live in dark rooms
and where there was hardly any food.
Worst: The knight was dead.
They were taking her children away.
And so the nightmare began for
the princess of dreams.