The events of my life during the last few years have resulted in greater pain and fear than I have ever known.

Tree trunk, reaching heavenwardBeauty has played a powerful role in keeping my hope alive. A colossal oak tree, a sky full of stars. A musician piercing the mystery of my burdens. The Psalmist’s cries for God. The words of dead authors who feel as estranged from existence as I do, but who somehow remain enchanted by the subtle but profound miracles of daily life.

George MacDonald has been one of the primary vessels of this kind of beauty, one who taught me to notice and gather strength from beauty in other places too. As a devourer of books with a PhD in philosophy, I don’t know how I managed to live this long without encountering him. But it’s providential that I met him when I did – when I was utterly alone, and all I could say with certainty was that I trusted God to somehow, one day, turn this graveyard of my life into a garden.

Over the last nine months, I’ve read MacDonald every day. He knew suffering, anxiety, depression, the ongoing temptation to despair. He was ostracized from his religious community. He struggled with poverty. He was also a devoted father of eleven children; he wrote a multitude of novels and ballads for them. When two of his children died unexpectedly, his pain was unspeakable.

The way he survived the next year was to write a poetic stanza each day, addressed to God. He titled this chronicle, “Diary of an Old Soul.”

He could not have known how much hope this work (and others) would bring to a young, practically jobless, single mother over 100 years later.

My project began on Kickstarter, based on George MacDonald’s project and inspired by his words.

My original goal: 60 drawings, each based on a poem or scene from George MacDonald, completed by August 10th, 2012, then made into a coffee table book of all 60 prints, each with the corresponding passage printed on the opposite page.

Unlike MacDonald, I’m not a poet. But I am a visual artist, and the only thing that alleviates my pain now is drawing the pictures that float through my soul.

Like MacDonald’s diary, these drawings have become a chronicle of my struggle with God, sorrow and fear, glimpses of hope and joy. Often, the pictures arise directly from MacDonald’s writings. In fact, the connection is so strong, most of my recent work can be connected to a specific passage of his. So I decided to dedicate the summer of 2012 to creating a body of work around MacDonald’s writings: specifically, the struggle to fear and hope aright in the midst of turmoil.

My Kickstarter goal was $1,000. As you probably know, if you don’t reach your goal on Kickstarter, you don’t get anything; it’s all or nothing. Thanks be to God, to the support of my community and to the growing interest of perfect strangers who began to gather around my art: by the time the deadline came, my project had almost tripled that amount. Which meant I could afford to devote the time and labor it took to do the work, as well as the supplies, prints and book-making, not to mention rent and groceries.

It worked. It has to keep working.

Photo of Christi Williams

I’m a single mother with two young daughters who are the world to me. I’m a philosophy professor, especially fond of Kierkegaard and Augustine. Presently, I teach as an adjunct at a plethora of colleges in the Houston area, trying to make ends meet.

Creating art brings me immense joy, but only recently have I begun to venture into the arena of making my creations a consumer commodity. I’d rather my work be created as a good in itself, and given to those I love. But necessity breeds invention, they say, and human beings have to eat.

Thank you so much for your support, for taking the time to find out about my project, and finding value in it.

To look through my work, click My Galleries and browse around.