I'm sitting at my kitchen table reading my friends zine breathing in smoke from Mullen leaves burning on an incense coal. I've been removing the charred remains of the leaves with the pen I'm writing this first draft with, wondering how long it will last (as a writing utensil) if I keep using it in this manner (as a poker). We met up earlier to briefly exchange zines in the cold to write reviews for the Muzineum. But, as is her character, Christina gifted me with more: two tea bags (Nighty Night and White Tea with Rose), six capsules of Tulsi, and a beautiful hand printed pomegranate in carmine on a lilac cotton patch. We exchange herbs and discourse and energy often so I thought I had a good idea of who she was, but as I read her zine Cosmic Departures and Earthly Arrivals, I am re-awakened.
The first couple pages of the zine is prose devoted to a recounting of Christina's history and lineage. Coming from a long line of storytellers she has a clear understanding of who and what has shaped her and how she has BECOME through ancestry and experience. She reminisces on how her Grannie Sue would tell her a fantastic tale of how another ancestor, James Willie, crossed the Atlantic. Cosmic is Christina's turn to retell this story, but by channeling psychic and intuitive knowledge she embroideries Grannie Sue's original story by introducing a fictional character, Manny Salene.
The rest of Cosmic is a graphic love story in the wake (literally and figuratively) of grief. Christina takes us on a multi-celled, cosmic journey that gives us visions of both physics and metaphysics and her graphic style morphs as we travel from the tangible to the intangible. Christina's style is utterly distinct and there is something unearthly about it. In prose and in art, storytelling is Christina's birthright born from a long lineage. In her work you can hear the echos of Grannie Sue telling Christina what James Willie told Grannie Sue, "I arrived between two ships that were bombed and sunk".
I know, through this work and all her other works, that Christina's devotion to her ancestors is seen and received by them. They are proud of Christina and live again through her. I highly recommend bearing witness.