It can be easy to be honest on the Internet, but to be earnest and sincere is somehow tougher, and yet: SARK–aka Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy–has turned her creative companion workbooks, self-discovery journeys, and emotional openness into a rainbow-emblazoned digital empire. But don’t let the bright colors fool you; she explores heavy topics and real issues.
By Jaya Saxena at The Daily Dot:
All of it looks a little woo-woo on the surface. When I first received Succulent Wild Woman, I figured it was just another New Age-y self-help book that might be good for a laugh. According to Kennedy, that’s the impression a lot of people get.
“I think SARK gets mistaken for being mindlessly positive, and that was never the case,” she told the Daily Dot. “Usually, if someone is saying that, I ask if they’ve read a SARK book, and they confess they haven’t.”
When I finally did crack open the book, what I found were beautiful descriptions of how to find love and acceptance juxtaposed with some extremely serious subjects. SARK writes about the many hardships she’s gone through—eating disorders, depression, and being sexually abused by her brother at a young age.
In one section called “How to Forgive Your Father,” she spoke to their disappointments with each other. “I wanted a daughter who would wear an apron and make soup from a ham bone,” he said of her. Through the page, she reveals sadness and love and acceptance. “She feels the love and forgives the pain.” It’s stuff that, I thought, shouldn’t be handwritten next to drawings of hearts and stars.
But for Kennedy, that’s exactly the point. “I insisted on bright colors because, initially, someone could think it’s one thing, but it gets them to go deep without realizing what they’re doing. I like that. I never wanted to approach it like, ‘Here is a tough book about incest and depression and suicide and sadness, and you will learn how to live with these things.’”
This story was originally published on June 17th, 2016.