Artist Annie Green’s website quotes Pablo Picasso’s view that “creating is just another way of keeping a diary.”
But for Annie, it’s much more than that. Creating is how she remembers, how she copes with a fragile memory from a horrific car accident as a freshman. As she tells visitors to her website, “I can only express my thoughts, my hopes, and my dreams through art.’
Annie was driving home to Beaumont, TX, at the end of her freshman year in 1985, when her Suburban rolled and the psychology major who had pledged a sorority was thrown from the vehicle. An emergency room doctor called her parents and told them to hurry because he couldn’t promise she’d still be alive when they arrived.
“It was miraculous,” says her mother, Margaret Green. “The vehicle landed on her head and they thought she was dead. And then a passerby stopped and happened to have the equipment to pull the van off. Now she has a self-taught career. She has taught school and helped innumerable children.”
Annie started to keep a journal and prayer journal — “as a need to organize my thoughts, to work as a memory board, and to give me peace,” she says. “I started to sketch in my journals and people started asking for copies. And then I opened a shop on Etsy and people started buying my art.
To this day, Annie has problems remembering the year she graduated and the names of people who helped her recover, but she has no problem remembering what the Baylor Family did for her.
“It’s more than just a good school,” she says. “It’s a family that reaches out to help you. If not for Baylor helping me after my injury, I’m not sure where I’d be today.”
“It was miraculous,” says her father Edward Green. “First, that she survived — it’s a tribute to some fine physicians. She came back from the dead and we had no idea what to expect, whether she’d ever be able to live independently. When we took her back to Baylor, they greeted us with open arms, made accommodations, and integrated her back into the Christian community with a lot of help and a lot of prayers.”
“I didn’t even know I was hurt,” she says, adding that she gradually increased her hours and took classes during the summer so that she could walk across the stage at graduation in 1989, a walk that she says “felt surreal..it felt like a miracle. I was so proud.”
Annie sold some her artwork last year to ABC and Disney, which is using the pieces to decorate their TV sets (though she’s not allowed to say which shows).
As she looks back, Annie knows that God has played a huge role in her recovery.
“I went to college with a strong faith, but my Baylor education amplified my faith in God and turned it into an everyday part of my life,” she says. “I have a poor memory to this day, but I’ve made my faith a habit and turned prayer into a habit. My faith in God and Jesus gets me through each day. Practice makes perfect, and Baylor built the basis for that practice.
“What I’ve learned is that when you fall down, what lies ahead is a brighter path. The sun will rise. It’s very important to know that God works through each of us to help each other.”