New interpretive novel encourages subconscious “play”
We have a new author among us! Nicole Schumacher, who provides direct care support at one of our east metro homes, has created an interpretive novel, “Mind the Blackhole.” Now, you may ask, what is an interpretive novel? “It’s a wordless novel made with abstract drawings,” Nicole says. “They are sort of a dream-like, surreal nature that encourages subconscious ‘play’ with the reader.”
What kind of “black hole” is the title of the book referring to? “A black hole is invisible in space, you can only see it because of the way it warps gravity,” Nicole explains. “It distorts reality.” The book asks the reader to think about the black holes that warp reality in their own life. “I want them to pay attention and learn how to move away from those things.” Each reader will have a slightly different interpretation of the story because it will pull out emotions and thoughts that are unique to them. This affects, or shapes, their experience with the book. “They create their own stories for what the illustrations mean to them,” Nicole says. “They make it their own story.” The book is meant to give the reader space to think and a place to process emotions.
Nicole has worked at NER a little over a year and does overnights. She also has her own company selling her books and her art. She is currently at work on a children’s book and is working on getting other books she’s done into local independent bookstores. “Mind the Blackhole” is her fourth book. She’s also interested in going back to school for psychology. “I need to find time in my life to make that happen,” she says. In the meantime, she’s hoping to become certified as a mental health peer support specialist through the Department of Human Services.
How did the idea for the book come about? “I like to create things that are accessible,” Nicole says. “You don’t need to know how to read to use it. It can be used to express things that are more emotional and less grounded in words. I’ve learned how to express myself in alternative ways. I noticed my own sketchbooks told a story, unintentionally. I scribbled my thoughts and filled it in later. I harnessed that.” Nicole hopes the book will be a helpful tool for others, too.
“One person told me they couldn’t read it but could color it,” Nicole says. “I intentionally leave a blank page across from every drawing so people can write or draw their own thoughts; they can use it as a sketchbook. That’s what makes it an interpretive novel. Kids have enjoyed it and have interesting viewpoints on it. It’s been interesting to hear what they have to say.”
Nicole says working with people in direct support has taught her the importance of giving people space for their own reality and autonomy. “I try to encapsulate that in my art, giving people space for internal thought. There are parallels.”
Nicole self-published “Mind the Blackhole.” Her pen name is Luna Sees. The book is available on Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.