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A Mother's Abandonment and a Life in Art, Nature

James Prosek is a master at bringing the outdoors into people's lives through art. He is a celebrated fly-fisherman, a critically acclaimed author and a wildlife artist often described as a modern-day John James Audubon.

How he developed his artistic gift and his love of nature is chronicled in his latest project, a young-adult book called The Day My Mother Left.

Although billed as fiction, Prosek's book is largely autobiographical. It follows the life of 9-year-old Jeremy as his parents go through a bitter divorce. His mother, Phoebe, drowns her depression with alcohol and eventually leaves the family without saying goodbye.

Jeremy copes with the loss by losing himself in the surrounding fields and streams. He finds solace fishing and sketching the wildlife he encounters.

Prosek says he wrote the book as fiction rather than as a memoir because memories from that difficult period of his life were fuzzy. He discusses the book, and how the experience of being abandoned by his mother helped him discover his gifts for art and nature.

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Michele Norris