In all good stories, the main character will receive guidance kindly given by friendly helpers. Think Fairy Godmothers or shoe-making elves. Throughout this project a number of people reached out to me with suggestions and support. Two in particular I would like to mention.
The first was a young man who contacted me through Linked In. He had seen one of my early posts and found the idea interesting. Over the following months we fell into the habit of messaging each other every so often offering creative encouragement. When my illustration style began to encompass the buildings in Peg's Dublin, he became enthusiastic about the idea of a walking tour. I too had been thinking along these lines so we agreed to meet to test the idea. We met in Neary's on Chatham Street, the street where teenage pregnant Peg first lived. For the next three hours, road-tested charming pubs that corresponded to the stages in Peg's life. His was a pint of plain while I stuck to gin and tonic. A tough day's work. We explored the quiet and the quaint, along with the fancy and the fabulous. We ended in a dark, loud, leather-filled, biker joint at which stage I thought I should bow out.
The Lord Edward Pub, Christchurch Place
The Westbury Hotel
My other helper was a man I knew in my 20s - the Creative Director and founder of an advertising agency who offered me my first job. It was a wonderful job. I wasn't great at the advertising side of things, but the company itself and all the others who worked there became a second family where I stayed for ten incredibly happy years. This year, myself and my boss stumbled upon each other again through Facebook and began corresponding. I had been nervous of the sexual aspect of Peg's life, wondering if it was kind of grubby and unsavoury. I thought that it might need to be packaged or camouflaged in a certain way to make it marketable. But my old boss pointed out that that a lot of people would have no idea about the libertine life of Peg's city and that many of us would have a mildly prurient interest in how our Dublin antecedents indulged their passions. I saw he was right. My shilly-shally, pussy footing attitude was silly. Peg's story is interesting because of the sex.
I have nine illustrations telling a story of an eighteenth century celebrity sex worker. What shall I do with them?
My two helpers had suggestions, ranging from quirky animations to high tech, virtual reality apps and even dedicated museums. My instinct is to stick with print. I like books. I think they're beautiful. I like the feel and smell of paper and ink. I like accessing information through words and pictures.
But before I dash off doing what I think best, I would love to get some feedback from those of you who have been following my project. I have set up a little questionnaire which lays out four options. It should take less than a minute and I would really appreciate your thoughts.
thank you xxx