A Silent Story - a heartfelt & art-filled graphic novel by Katie m. Berggren
EU & UK: order your copy through my Etsy shop
Books are Shipping Daily!
Claim YOUR autographed copy while they last!
The idea for A Silent Story stemmed from the writing and art therapy that I poured myself into after a friendship loss. A heartbreak. A deafening silence between two souls. A ghosting.
A Silent Story is a wordless journey of heartbreak & hope. From joy through pain, and back to joy again. Here is an example of the transformation this book provides for the character, The Seeker. From heartbreak to hope.
The Silent Story project is ALWAYS on my mind, I see my Seeker everywhere and in everyone. She is the core heart and spirit of us, the emotional and vulnerable being that is not hidden by our hairstyles, body flub, clothing choices, make-up and accessories.
Enraptured by this project for almost 3 years, I certainly felt Resistance try to kick my butt many times. The emotions have run the spectrum. Imposter Syndrome has been at-the-ready. The fear that I will fail, the fear that this will all succeed... equally terrifying.
But we succeeded. And I say WE because 100s of people have stepped up in a variety of ways:
Friends whose kindness turned my chin up at the beginning.
Loved ones who listened and shared and made my story feel worthy.
Collectors who shared their excitement over this idea, shared their stories and their heartache.
Backers who generously supported the Kickstarter.
Dana, herself, my best friend and mastermind partner who has been a champion, a light, a beautiful sounding board.
The Silent Story book encapsulates the people who have been here for this. The Silent Story book is a sandbox for your heart to witness relatable feelings. A place for you to empathize and feel seen. A safe journey through art, to validate YOUR real life journey.
I'm over here wallowing in gratitude. All of this has been next-level and proves to me that we should keep moving forward. We can make at least a little progress every day on our projects, no matter how scary they seem. If the goal lives gently inside you, how can it be bad?
Over the last almost 3 years of work, I have been nervous, scared and (shortly) overcome with Resistance. Early on, I put the project aside for SIX MONTHS because I had many other projects.
Looking back, I COULD have squeezed in time to work on Silent Story, but Resistance is good at using what is already inside us ("I have so much on my plate!!") as a tool to stop us from doing what we are meant to do. And it succeeded... for a little while.
But this project NEVER left me. I saw my Seeker everyday on my walls and in my heart. I FEEL like her, and I hear others feeling like her.
Two women, both of them grandmother-age, told me in the span of a week how The Seeker has touched them and one said "The Seeker IS ME!"
At the same time, teenage girls that I love were misty-eyed when I shared the early mock-up with them. This process has been crazy and frustrating and has made me bubble over with glee, anxiety, awe and inspiration ♥
♥ I'm infinitely grateful for the opportunity to have had my heart broken ~ otherwise Silent Story... Would. Not. Exist ♥
In May of 2021, I had an epiphany spurred by a visualization:
After my Silent Story had been on the warming burner for a few months, as I worked on other projects and generally let Resistance* keep me from the project, I was lying in bed on a Saturday morning, and I had a self-perpetuated vision:
Me, 65ish years old, sitting in the living room on the floor with my 10-year-old granddaughter. I have something to show her and I pull out a large envelope. I unwrap it and pull out my Silent Story paintings. Unfinished.
She looks through them, “these are neat!!”
“I made these for a book idea I had over 20 years ago”, I say, “but I never finished the project. That’s one of my big regrets, I guess…”
She says “You STILL CAN make the book!”
I respond with: “Now the feelings are too far in the past, not fresh enough. It wouldn’t make sense because my passion behind the project is gone.”
Lost potential. Lost connection.
What a shame it would be to have this whole thing die in an envelope under a table. After that visualization, I switched to a new one, a future moment created intentionally in my mind:
… being 45 years old and holding my book – and smiling. Thinking about how the process went and how proud I was of myself for moving forward even when I felt like there was NO WAY I could pull this off. Trusting the process, trusting that this book was meant to be a part of the world, and thankful for the learning and growth that came with the ideas/sketching/planning/painting/sharing/preparing...
Me, feeling so GRATEFUL for the people who nudged me along and believed in me. THANK YOU!!
After that second vision it was so clear to me – I simply asked: what do I need to do to move forward? I wrote down the answer and I’m doing it.
(for you the answers will be different, but my answers were along the lines of: finish the storyboard while making sure the happy-sad-hopeful ratio was correct, sketch out the main pieces, gather the paper for each painting, start putting together samples to share with publishers, create samples to share with my people, itemize and register paintings for copyright, make a list of publishers, go to the bookstore for research, and paint, paint, paint...)
Over the process of sharing The Seeker with you, I've been blown-away by the number of people who have felt her, saw her and wrote to tell me about how The Seeker made them feel:
"I am so drawn towards The Seeker. I feel her emotions so deeply, she is very real and very honest - in her true feelings and vulnerability. Sometimes it's difficult to describe what pain really feels like - the mental type, especially for those of us who feel it very deeply. When I look at her, I know that I am not alone, I know that there are other people that feel life, love, pain and happiness as deeply as I do." ~ M.O.
“This is a beautiful gift you have created for women, that subtle nod/appreciation of the journey we go on... It is an empathetic, compassionate, creative all-knowing interpretation of motherhood. My interpretation of what you were conveying might not be 100% accurate. But it caused me to literally ball my eyes out crying at work, because it touched my heart and gave me goosebumps.” ~ A.O.
“I experienced a whole wide range of emotions looking at each of them and being reminded how many similar experiences we all share throughout life, where the details may differ, but the bigger picture is so similar for so many of us. And it helps to not feel so alone.” ~ M.P.
“When I look at these, I feel like I’m not alone in the way that I sometimes feel…” ~ From the husband of a collector, visiting the studio
The Seeker is angular, but also soft. With long arms that will wrap around you if you need them, but will also wrap around herself when she’s feeling vulnerable. She has long legs to stand tall, but also to fold in on themselves. She has a long body that can arch in triumph, stretch with joy, or double-over from grief.
I think many of us, deep down, can relate to this true being. You can reserve your copy of the finished book.
The Kickstarter Campaign funded in February 2022, and extra funds received went toward printing the book in a larger size. Still the perfect size to hold against the heart, but large enough to gain full experience of the artwork.
Some Original Paintings from A Silent Story of Heartbreak & Hope (book 1) are still available. Here is an image of the available pieces at one point, let me know if you are interested in seeing the currently available originals.
message me to see them larger or if there is a piece not shown
here that you would like to own
►All original painting purchases include the full 2-book-page spread of original artwork (the 2 pages of art that you can see at one time when looking through the book). Some spreads are made from (2) 12x18 inch original paintings on paper. Some are made from (1) 12x18 inch original painting on paper. Some spreads are made from (1) 15x11 inch original painting on paper.
In February 2022, to raise money for the printing of A Silent Story, my dear friend Dana of The Midnight Orange created these precious Seeker Art Dolls for auction:
Thank you for helping make this passion project a reality. My goal is for you to see yourself in these pages, in The Seeker’s journey. May you use this book to validate your own worthy story.
A Silent Story is a wordless journey of loss and hope, in an art-filled, high-quality book...with over 90 full-color heartfelt pages.
Silent Story is a zoomed-back view of how the unexpected ending of a friendship can cause confusion, shame and hurt. Through vulnerable and relatable character artwork, Silent Story takes its character from a state of joy, through loss and pain resulting from a break-up.
This book is a hold-able journey through loneliness and confusion, heartbreak and silence... ending with renewed hope, happiness, companionship and contentment. You are not alone.
The Seeker started appearing in my artwork in October of 2006 (see more below) and I was blown-away by the number of women who felt her, saw her and wrote to tell me about how she made them feel when I shared her journey into being.
I wonder if she looks oddly familiar because (I think) the shape of you and I beneath our hair and bodies, clothes and extra chub, and all that we put on and say and pretend… is a strong and real spirit, earnest, authentic, a bit awkward, and open-eyed.
But WHERE Did The Seeker Come From?
As one alarmed viewer noted in the VERY EARLY stages: “IT looks like IT is from outer space!!!!”. (hard eye roll, that felt rude)
No, not outer space, she comes from WITHIN. When I was first thinking about turning my pain into purpose, I saw a painting on my wall that I’ve kept in sight for 10 years. She was created in April 2007 and her name is SEEKING. I knew when glancing at her that she was my character for this project. She would help me tell my story.
I realized after creating her in paint multiple times for this project, that she has been with me since the beginning...
With the surprise and JOY of discovering a hidden treasure again and again, I went back through my painting inventory to discover that my SEEKER has been a common thread through my work. She came from necessity 14 years ago, and has been waiting for me to need her again.
It seems she first appeared as the painting DESPAIR, in October of 2006. DESPAIR was me finally processing the loss of my father, in a visual way, 8 years after losing him.
In the painting DOWN, created in November 2006, my girl represented ME – and the incredible distress I was feeling while raising a baby with colic and GERD and his need to cry so, so, painfully much.
She was hinted at in CHOOSE YOUR PATH in January 2007. We have the task of choosing how we respond to the people and situations around us… my baby was doing MUCH better by then (and TODAY he turns 14!!).
She appeared as BEAUTY WITHIN in April 2007
She was just a child in DETACHED, created January 2007. Someday I’ll tell you the story behind this piece – or you can ask me.
She was again the form for a painting titled HEAVY HEART, in January of 2007. No longer a child, but a young woman experiencing the loss of her grandfather.
She was the form of my pain in EMPTY – a piece created in May of 2007. She first found her motherly tendencies in June of the same year, with ROOTS & WINGS.
She represented both happy and sad in July 2007 with SPRINKLING SUNSHINE and BLUE IN THE SHADOWS. And continued to pursue motherhood in LADY MADONNA, at that same time.
She lent her form to BLURRING THE LINES in July 2007, and this is the only original painting of my 1360 paintings created so far, that has been LOST. She’s out there somewhere.
In September of 2007 my girl character began to truly embrace motherhood with KISS and ROCKING PAIR.
In the final quarter of 2007, she made her transition into her next form, the rounder and softer motherly form that has slowly become the women I paint today.
As far back as I can remember, I found myself saying to people, “I speak in pictures”... and I’ve known since I was young that I can see things in my mind but have trouble putting them into words. So I drew. And I’ve always drawn, and this all makes sense to me now.
So, it’s no surprise to me that I am creating Silent Story books that share a journey of emotions through IMAGES versus words. The thought of creating these books with full text kinda freaks me out.
A Silent Story feels like such a gift to me... a gift for my soul, and I came to realize while creating that it is a gift for you, too. With all my heart I create this book for us all.
Stay-tuned to this page for more information on this project.
Join me in my private FB group to follow along
more closely with the Seeker and Silent Story.
I've written many blog posts about my Silent Story:
See the 2nd Silent Story post
See the 3rd Silent Story post
See the 4th Silent Story post
See the 5th Silent Story post
See the 6th Silent Story post
See the 7th Silent Story post
See the 8th Silent Story post
See the 9th Silent Story post