I have no idea how I found her but I am very glad I did. Summer Pierre is an author and artist living in Brooklyn, NY and she is one of the people I enjoy my morning of coffee with. Granted, we're not sitting across from one another as we begin our day with a warm cuppa' joe. In fact, she doesn't even know she's having coffee with me. But she is one of the first blogs I go to in the morning as I begin to ease my way into the day (I'm not a jump-out-of-bed kind of person...I prefer to take my time waking up before entering the real world). Like I said, I don't know how I stumbled upon her but I've been following her artistic journey and life adventures for probably five years now.
Every once-in-a-while, Summer will post what she calls a one-page story on her blog. I have fallen head over heals for these gems (one of my favorites is here). One-page stories are exactly as they sound; she hand writes a little tale from her life around a hand-drawn illustration--all on one page. Sounds sort of basic and simple, doesn't it? Well, it is and it isn't. And that's what I love about them. Some stories have layers and layers to them where by the time you get to the end you find yourself going, "Wait, what just happened to me?" Other stories are more like a single, tasty lick from a lollypop and before you know it, it's over.
Summer created the 'zine, Forgive Me, as a home for her one-page stories. Each issue is 30+ pages (photocopied and pamphlet stitched in true 'zine fashion) and is filled from front to back with snapshots of life--bringing Oreos to class on snack day, having a crush on Sean Astin instead of Corey Feldman, naming (or not getting to name) your first pet, reading a map at Denny's while your parents are yelling at you, being part of a sad trio at the beach. It wasn't until Issue #2 that Summer noted on the inside cover that each story came from a single noun written on an index card. I had always wondered what prompted the origins of her stories. And, considering that the titles are all one word--Mistake, Skirt, Lunch, Weekend, Freckles--I should have caught on a little earlier.
I originally bought all four issues to give as little gifts to my writing group on our last meeting of the session. But then the wind storm hit and the power was out for five days and I found myself taking in an issue of Forgive Me each night. With no lamps to read by, I consumed them by candlelight. And now I can't imagine reading them any other way. It felt like Summer was telling stories at one of my dinner parties, candles scattered across the table amongst plates of food and bottles of wine, a story conjured up for a life lesson we need to purge ourselves of when in the company of those who GET US. Because that's ultimately what is so wonderful about Forgive Me--they are my stories too. Different characters, different settings, but with a common denominator: growing up, finding meaning in life experiences, and having the courage to stand in one's truth.
Despite having made my way through all current issues of Forgive Me, I'm not sure I'll be giving them away as gifts anytime soon. They are wonderful to hold, to flip through, to randomly read a story from, for enjoying the artwork, and for just having as an artist's labor of love. I guess you could say Forgive Me is my gift to me.
Thank you, Me.