Nov ’23 to Feb ’24: Renewal and Propagation

It’s been a challenging three months. Winter is always hard on my system and I’ve been getting all my vaccines up to date which has required a fair bit of recovery time. I also found out my cyborg part (an iliac vein stent) needs an adjustment so I’m waiting for a date for day surgery. But, because creative work is what makes me flourish, I’ve done a surpri­sing amount of work in that time.

In December I realized that my routines weren’t working well and were causing me a lot of unnecessary internal urgency so I totally scrapped them and rebuilt them from scratch. It took about a month of trial and error but I now have routines that work so much better for where I’m at cognitively, physically, and with my current projects. My music work is a bit more spaced out now, as is my journaling, but the internal striving and pressure I felt with my old routines is gone.

I do think the impetus for such a large shift is due to my continuing research on the vagus nerve and polyvagal theory. Urgency activates the sympathetic (stress, fight, flight) system, and reducing that means I can come back to ventral vagal (calm and engaged) much more readily which is very good for my entire system.

Embroidery WIPs

An image of an old engraving of a vagus nerve is embroidered on green cotton. The head and chest are in a large bamboo embroidery hoop. The embroidery of the main nerve lines is done in blue chain stitch in perlé cotton. The brain and some of the face is stitched in the same thread in backstitch. Details in the face are stitched in single strand floss. A bright red anatomical heart is stitched in two and one strand red whipped back stitch. Around it a bright golden yellow halo in a vesica piscis shape is stitched in single strand thread. Three sets of ribs have been sketched in chalk and the lowest and second lowest ribs are being stitched in bright green/yellow stem stitch. A needle minder in the shape of an hourglass that reads, "This is taking forever," sits near the stitches holding a needle.

I finished stitching the main vagus nerve as well as the heart in this very large piece. Many people thought that was the completed piece, but I’m also adding the visualizations and sensations I feel when I do my polyvagal theory practices. There’s now a golden yellow glow around the heart and I’m working on the lines of energy I feel along some of my ribs when moving from a sympathetic to a ventral vagal state. There are more details to come.

alt text: Two cells dividing embroidered on off white linen in an embroidery hoop. Acircle of brown stem stitch is the cell membrane, the corona radiata is in bright orangey yellow zig zag chain stitch. The edges of the dividing cells are in bright orange split stitch. The nucleolus of each cell is in bright yellow bullion stitch. The cytoplasm is just starting to be stitched. A knifecat needle minder holds the needle. The same pattern on white cloth with blue/purple threads sits beside it.

I am very close to completing the autumnal mitosis sampler. A bit more time spent with French knots and seed stitch and it will be complete! Because it is so close to done I set up a winter’s night version so that if I happen to finish the autum­nal one while at an appointment I can start stitching the next one right away.

I’ve also done enough stitching on this project that I’ve begun creating the pattern to sell digitally on Ko-fi.


The Hum is now complete! My husband is designing an album cover and I need to figure out a distri­bution plan, so watch for that appearing in my Ko-fi shop soon. This is a piece of music based on my hyperacusis and tinnitus symp­toms, but much more relaxing than the symptoms themselves.

With my new routines I’m doing piano im­provisations much more rarely so I only did a couple on Instagram Live since November:

November 17 • Improv in F Aeolian

December 27 • Improv in F Locrian

For the next few months I’ll be recording these impro­visations in a slightly different way for an event in May. They will be out in the world eventually so keep an eye out for those in the future.


Two paperback journals on a wooden desk with a silver pen between them. Both have paintings of white cats on the bottom half of the cover and Japanese text on the top half. The left journal has a cat lounging under hydrangeas and the right has a cat curled up under a goji berry bush.

I’m continuing to write poems about the vagus nerve. I probably have an entire book’s worth already. I filled one poetry journal and started another.

I also filled my Practice/Process/Project journal and started another.

I did two poetry submissions, got an acceptance from one magazine I submitted to in the summer and will post when that is published. I also had two poems accepted by and published in Epistemic Lit Issue 2: Happy Place. You can read and hear them here:

The River Speaks

rain . forest

I’ve been invited to write for a publication over on Substack, and will share more about that once that work has begun.

Other Publications

I have three symptomatology embroideries in the anthology Reformatting the Pain Scale edited by Alyssa Goldberg and published by Olney Magazine. I read my contributor copy and it is fantastic! You can pre-order a copy here.

I participated in the Art Advent Calendar in December. If you’re interested in seeing those posts it’s easiest to scroll down on my Instagram page. Art Advent Calendar was started by my friend Jay Bigam to share more art during the holiday season. It keeps growing every year.

I was quoted in this article on magnesium gel by my Twitter friend Angie Glaser in Migraine Again.

The ME/CFS art card project now has a gallery page where you can see all the cards including the embroidered courage lion I made and the lovely heart in a sea jar I received from Rhea Weiss as part of the project.

The Sharp Notions anthology with my art on the cover and an essay and more art by me continues to be mentioned in various publications which is very nice to see.

Globe and Mail 2023 gift guide

All Lit Up: Refresh Your Shelf

Vancouver Sun: Author Spins a Good Yarn

As always, if you’d like to support the work I do, you can tip me on Ko-fi. I’m cross-posting these updates across Ko-fi, here on my blog, and Medium so you can subscribe to any of those places to be notified of my next creative work update.