Strange Seeds isn’t my usual reading, but in a why-not moment I saw the photos and bought the book. I’m glad I did. It’s a self-published book written by S. H. Vogl and illustrated by Kaela Lichstein. Vogl mixes poetry and prose as she pieces together her personal stories of heartbreak and abuse, leading to her recovery and growth.
Vogl’s instagram page has more than 100 short poems, and the book is written in the same straightforward voice. The imagery she invokes is easy to relate to the material, and doesn’t require any particular historical or literary context to understand. The illustrations are done in the same style as the writing, imparting a calm sense of strength to the simple lines and colors.
This isn’t to call the message of Strange Seeds shallow. Vogl describes her painful and even traumatic moments in a way that puts the reader in her head and shoes. She rendingly describes past breakups and her gratitude for the opportunity to grow past it. She begins a powerful theme in the last third of the book with the powerful line “they taught you how to heal yourself”.
In the final segment of her book she relates her experience back to female family members who came before her, and the inheritance of strength and will for life she plans to give her own daughter. Vogl’s writing style and subject material is substantially different from mine, but Strange Seeds is nevertheless imbued with her emotion and shadowed by her soul. An excerpt from the book is below. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.