Psychopomp Magazine Winter 2015 - Page 27

Harmony Neal | 25

Later, this is an additional source of contention among critics because Umwelt immediately adds to her figures, changing the project into a mural similar to the image on the card. She creates her own version with the intricate hybrid fruit tree in the background and the clouds and birds and snowy mountains. She is seized by fire and water, by strength, directed by the full moon. Later, some will ask if she’s not ultimately a plagiarist, though most will believe her work is her own. The sun is rising as she finishes, and she signs the piece, the first she ever signs—she signs it Umwelt and goes home and sleeps for twenty hours, studying her dream world, plucking images and putting them in her pockets for her waking self to use.

Act IV: Falling Action


People talk about Umwelt like she can’t tell dreams from reality or imagination from reality or they claim she probably can tell the difference but wants her viewers to question reality and the nature of dreams and imagination. But to Umwelt, all of that seems beside the point and has very little to do with her wish, which came true, not because she stood in the chalk eye and wished it, but because she chose to make it come true, because action becomes thought becomes action. Because as Octavia Butler said, “belief initiates and guides action, or else it does nothing.” The artist decided to make her Umwelt manifest, and thus it was manifest. She doesn’t know why that is so hard for people to understand.

The Leopard Woman is the last humanoid subject she does. Her next move after finishing that first mural is returning to the other hybrids she had done and turning them into murals. She saves The Tarot Reader for last. Umwelt puts The Tarot Reader in a shimmering forest with a low slice of Cheshire Cat-smile moon. Umwelt waits for her candle to appear. It doesn’t. With the sun pink on the horizon, fuzzy soft rays highlighting the hidden foxes and birds of the mural, Umwelt turns to leave, and there it is, right behind her, by the outer door: Possibilities, it says, and the card's image is eerily similar to the mural she has just completed.