Erika, did you know … fans tweet

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 It was back in fall last year when a friend asked me if I would want to do something for EL James upon the occasion of the movie premiere. I was reluctant at first. It wasn’t because I didn’t like the books. I am a fan and I have been a fan for a long time already. Two insecure, imperfect, inexperienced people find somewhere the courage to dare the struggle for love together while shredding their masks they even wore to hide from themselves. What’s not to love? The language you say? It might not flow from your lips like Shakespeare but I am with E. E. Cummings who wrote:

Since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you…

It was me. I didn’t know what I could offer that would be interesting and unique enough to bother. I am not your average fan art artist. Beautiful faces don’t have the capability to hold my attention for long (except one but that’s not the story here). I bow my head at the altar of amazing creativity and extraordinary ideas, and I expect the same in my offerings I leave behind. There wasn’t anything –

or maybe there was. There was this idea that had been lingering in my head for quite some time:

Watching fandoms like the 50 Shades of Grey one, being part of them in celebration of incredible creative work and the great minds behind them, sharing precious moments with like-minded people who might even turn into friends because a shared love can bridge the gaps our ever present, usually first noticed differences create, I came to the conclusion that fandoms and religions show many parallels, and not just in their devotional aspects. Especially tweets often read like prayers expressing gratitude, love or asking for something while marking the hours, days, and special occasions life provides.

That again would make the creators, people like EL James, something like Henry VIII – sans the ulcerous leg that turned him into a grumpy, eccentric old man too fond of young women and beheadings. They shape a new ‘religion’. They do so not out of nothing, but deeply rooted in the millennia-old tradition of storytelling.

Speaking of Henry VIII, in medieval times the most common type of books, of illuminated manuscripts were Horae or Books of Hours. They were prayer books developed for laymen who wanted to incorporate elements of monasticism into their daily lives like reciting the hours. Thus the name. Personalized copies were a common thing in the great families. Even without personalization would these manuscripts all be unique since they were as their appellation points out hand crafted. Yet they typically contained the church calendar, excerpts of gospels, psalms, and special prayers.

Keeping all that in mind I went ahead, kept the general structure of a Book of Hours and substituted the prayers with tweets by the 50 Shades of Grey fandom to create the personalized Horae of the Grey family. I didn’t just find matching illustrations from original manuscripts and added, where possible, figures from movie scenes; but to highlight 50 Shades’ place in the tradition of storytelling I added fitting quotes from other books throughout history from the Odyssey and the Divine Comedy to contemporary YA.

The result is funny, sometimes provocative or ironic, but always full of love for EL James’ creation and the work of all involved in making the movies. It would have been a great gift.

Would have been because currently the book is MIA. I put it in the mail, as a registered item and everything, in December to give it enough time to make the trip to said friend. It didn’t help. It’s gone missing somewhere between Berlin and Chicago. The worst thing is that despite properly filed search requests with the Deutsche Post AG and many phone calls everywhere no one seems to actually been looking.

In my devastation about it, about over a month of living for just that one thing lost, I did the one thing I could do. I created something that kept me connected with the Grey Horae – a triptych fashioned after the typical altar pieces of old with a touch that reminds of old manuscripts as well. The three panels are connected and can be folded shut thanks to a crocheted embroidery that is very much a pun on the dismissive term “mommy porn”. Whenever I see it I imagine the witches of the Garlickhythe gathering giggling and doing needle work while discussing THAT book, above all Marjorie Cooper of course. The needlework magically sneaked its way through centuries and realities into the art.

After all this talk the point why I said all this – I decided to give at least the scans of the Horae, what is left of it right now, and images of the triptych back to the internet. Not an eye for an eye but a gift for a gift.

(If you find yourself in the artwork why not leave a not?)

 

Book of Hours - If you can't beat them, join them.

Book of Hours – If you can’t beat them, join them.

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List of content: Prayers through the Day Prayers through the Week Prayers for Special Occasions

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Prayers through the Day

I know a place where no one is lost, I know a place where no one cries, crying at all is not allowed, not in my castle in the clouds.

I know a place where no one is lost, I know a place where no one cries, crying at all is not allowed, not in my castle in the clouds.

Fortunately the Milk!

Fortunately the Milk!

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I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pastime...

I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pastime…

And I thought about how many people have loved those songs and how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs...

And I thought about how many people have loved those songs and how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs…

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There is more than one kind of family.

There is more than one kind of family.

 

Daemons are creative, artistic creatures...

Daemons are creative, artistic creatures…

 

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For in dreams we are entering a world that is entirely our own...

For in dreams we are entering a world that is entirely our own…

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Oh happy dagger! This is thu sheath.There rust and let me die.

Oh happy dagger! This is thu sheath.There rust and let me die.

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Prayers through the Week

Prayers through the Week

Look at the Moon.

Look at the Moon.

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Make Tyr pride heroically!

Make Tyr pride heroically!

Why so Mercurial?

Why so Mercurial?

Beware Thor's thunder in the skies.

Beware Thor’s thunder in the skies.

All you need is love.

All you need is love.

Liberate your mind!

Liberate your mind!

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Shine on!

Shine on!

Prayers for Special Occasions

Prayers for Special Occasions

Erika, did you know that your baby boy wil one day walk on screen? Erika, did you know that your baby boy will turn some envy green? Did you know that your baby boy has come to bring millions joy? This brain child of yours is here now to enjoy.

Erika, did you know that your baby boy wil one day walk on screen? Erika, did you know that your baby boy will turn some envy green? Did you know that your baby boy has come to bring millions joy? This brain child of yours is here now to enjoy.

She also called me brave...unless she was talking to the catfish.

She also called me brave…unless she was talking to the catfish.

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A towel, the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have...

A towel, the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have…

You want weapons? We are in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world!

You want weapons? We are in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world!

Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.

Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.

No. It is said that the Nephilim are the children of men and angels. All this angelic heritage has given to us is a longer distance to fall.

No. It is said that the Nephilim are the children of men and angels. All this angelic heritage has given to us is a longer distance to fall.

"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly...

“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly…

If all else perished and he remained...

If all else perished and he remained…

"Who are you?" "No one of consequence." ...

“Who are you?” “No one of consequence.” …

Quand le hibou chante, la nuit est silence.

Quand le hibou chante, la nuit est silence.

So I'll be bold as well as strong, and use my head alongside my heart.

So I’ll be bold as well as strong, and use my head alongside my heart.

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Sometimes the storm winds blow so strong a man has no choice but to furl his sails.

Sometimes the storm winds blow so strong a man has no choice but to furl his sails.

"What's your name?" he asked above the roar of the music...

“What’s your name?” he asked above the roar of the music…

Heroes are important. Heroes tell us who we want to be...

Heroes are important. Heroes tell us who we want to be…

"Test?" Hades lovely mouth twisted bitterly around the word as if he could read Helen's thoughts...

“Test?” Hades lovely mouth twisted bitterly around the word as if he could read Helen’s thoughts…

It's very hard to grow up in a perfect family if you are not perfect.

It’s very hard to grow up in a perfect family if you are not perfect.

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends...

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends…

Remember tonight ... for it is the beginning of forever.

Remember tonight … for it is the beginning of forever.

Since feeling is first...

Since feeling is first…

People say that life is a thing, but I prefer reading.

People say that life is a thing, but I prefer reading.

"It'll be alright, my fine fellow," said the otter...

“It’ll be alright, my fine fellow,” said the otter…

Do you wish me a good morning; or mean that it is a good morning...

Do you wish me a good morning; or mean that it is a good morning…

"Tell me, as a pagan who do you worship?"...

“Tell me, as a pagan who do you worship?”…

What a strange thing! to be alive under cherry blossoms.

What a strange thing! to be alive under cherry blossoms.

And, dying, he declined to die.

And, dying, he declined to die.

In the end, this shall be for me sufficient, ...

In the end, this shall be for me sufficient, …

VII The desire of Man being infinite, the possession is infinite and himself infinite.

VII The desire of Man being infinite, the possession is infinite and himself infinite.

No violence,, gentlemen, no violence. I beg of you!  Consider the furniture.

No violence,, gentlemen, no violence. I beg of you! Consider the furniture.

For she had eyes and chose me.

For she had eyes and chose me.

Modern life is such an unholy mix of voyeurism and exhibitionism...

Modern life is such an unholy mix of voyeurism and exhibitionism…

Death is peaceful, life is harder.

Death is peaceful, life is harder.

Sun is bad for you, Everything  our parents said was good is bad. Sun, milk, red meat ... college.

Sun is bad for you, Everything our parents said was good is bad. Sun, milk, red meat … college.

I said it before and meant it. Alive or undead, the love of my life was badass.

I said it before and meant it. Alive or undead, the love of my life was badass.

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He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals.

He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals.

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She dots on poetry, Sir. She adores it...

She dots on poetry, Sir. She adores it…

"Common, let's see the degree." Kathrine unrolled her scroll...

“Common, let’s see the degree.” Kathrine unrolled her scroll…

The dim, dusty room with the busts staring down from the tall bookcases...

The dim, dusty room with the busts staring down from the tall bookcases…

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It is the wine that leads me on, the wild wine...

It is the wine that leads me on, the wild wine…

As for the piano, the faster her fingers flew over it...

As for the piano, the faster her fingers flew over it…

Our nada, who art in nada, nade be thy name...

Our nada, who art in nada, nade be thy name…

Some days you are the pigeon, some days you are the statue. Live with it.

Some days you are the pigeon, some days you are the statue. Live with it.

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Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather great amount of gratitude.

Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather great amount of gratitude.

"I will only add, God bless you."

“I will only add, God bless you.”

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.

It was a pleasure to burn...

It was a pleasure to burn…

Through me you pass into the city of woe...

Through me you pass into the city of woe…

When you're supported by millions all over the world, you can either go nuts or feed of the goodwill.

When you’re supported by millions all over the world, you can either go nuts or feed of the goodwill.

It's not catastrophes, murders, deaths, diseases that age and kill us.; it's the way people look and laugh, and run up the steps of omnibuses.

It’s not catastrophes, murders, deaths, diseases that age and kill us.; it’s the way people look and laugh, and run up the steps of omnibuses.

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning...

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning…

A mother is the truest friend we have...

A mother is the truest friend we have…

A lot of what inspires many musicians is celebrating the differences, and people relate to that - more people feel like the unpopular, freaky one than the one in the incrowd.

A lot of what inspires many musicians is celebrating the differences, and people relate to that – more people feel like the unpopular, freaky one than the one in the incrowd.

"Who's been sleeping in my bed?"...

“Who’s been sleeping in my bed?”…

The snow began to fall again, drifting against the windows...

The snow began to fall again, drifting against the windows…

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Donde termina el acro iris, en tu alma or en el horizonte?

Donde termina el acro iris, en tu alma or en el horizonte?

Promise me you'll always remember: You are breaver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

Promise me you’ll always remember: You are breaver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

Heaven knows, we need never be ashamed of our tears...

Heaven knows, we need never be ashamed of our tears…

I don't want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of loosing it again.

I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of loosing it again.

Fare thee well, and if forever, then forever fare thee well.

Fare thee well, and if forever, then forever fare thee well.

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