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Herein, children's writer Molly Blaisdell raves, rants, and rambles about her craft. She also muses about juggling a job, motherhood and writing books, and there is a good dose of rallying, psyching up and inspiring for anyone who needs to seize the day.
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Hi folks, ah, the holidays, and of course, I'm running a little behind. This month I'm offering a little series I called Gifts. This will be short and sweet. There is a story in the Bible in the book of Ezekiel. This my retelling. Here how it starts. The Lord takes Ezekiel to valley of dry bones and asks him if the bones can live.
Ezekiel answers, "Lord only knows."
The Lord tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones.
(We don't prophesy in these days, and I sure do feel left out. The idea of a prophesy is to let someone know what is coming in the future. If you are a writer, you might understand this more than most.)
Back to the story. Ezekiel shouted to those bones."You dead bones, this is the Lord talking and not me -- I'm sending breath in you. And you will come alive. I'll put tendons, and flesh, and skin on you. I'll say it again, I'm putting breath in you, and will be alive. And the whole world will know I am the Lord!"
After that there was a noise. Bones rattled! They snapped together. Then came the tendons, and flesh and the skin. But instead of folks, there was a pile of dead bodies.
The Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy again. "Wind from the four corner of the Earth come into these dead bodies and make them live." And the wind came and a mighty army sprung up, rearing for a fight.
Then the Lord told Ezekiel what it all meant. "Those bones are my people.They have lost hope. They think they are dead. I'm going to make them alive and I'm going to give them the little corner they are hankering for. Let them know I'm doing this because that's the way I am."
To wrap this up, if you feel like an old pile of dead bones, and you are wondering if you will ever get a chance to snap together and march out there and take your corner. Remember this story. Wait for the wind.
I will be back next week with another of the Gifts series.
Here is a doodle. "The sun, Moon, and the stars"
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less
. Marie Curie
Hi folks, I'm ending the year with Gifts. This has been one of my most challenging years as a writer. I've struggled more professionally than at any other time in my life. My book PLUMB CRAZY is soon to go out of eprint. The paperback is cancelled. The book after it is cancelled. The small publisher has decided to go in a different direction. I put a lot of myself in that book and this wasn't the news I wanted. I turned 50 this year. I have the most mundane part-time job on the planet. I've slipped into depression, the real kind that takes some support. This week, to add insult injury, I came down with a skin infection that has left me soo tired. A bumpy part of this road of life, but I'm determined to find the silver lining.
So what gift do I have for you? Here goes. The Grace of Kindness.
I'm a person people tell secrets to. Some are small. Some are mighty. Some people I know, some I don't know. Sometimes in the grocery store or when I'm buying gas. Sometimes over coffee or on a walk. I try to do little things every day that will help somebody. I build some margins into my life so that I can have time to listen and help whoever gets in my path .I'm nothing spectacular. I'm a small time kindness operator, but small kindnesses are as natural to me as breathing.
Kindness has been a part of me since I was very young child. Just like my flaws of a hot temper and my whining tendency (Hope I didn't whine too much above! Working on it.), I've had the grace of kindness. It's hardwired. I'm not perfect. My faults have spectacularly let some down when then really needed my grace. Still, in spite of me, the grace of kindness has generally reached out to others. And like all good grace has lifted me up in process and given me a sense of meaning when almost everything else has failed me.
I believe every person has some grace. Some sing like angels. Some are the most long suffering folks that have ever lived. Some have the gift of gab and can say a perfect word at a perfect time. To me, grace means unmerited favor. Something in you that is just in you. It's hardwired like breathing. Sometimes in our life the things we've worked for get stripped from us. We lose our job. A relationship doesn't work out. Our dignity is taken away. We suffer great injustice. What should we do?
For me, I lean into grace in my life during these times. I'm a storyteller. I forge on. I'm an organizer. I find something to organize. I'm kind. I find a place to pour that kindness.
Be aware of the grace in your life. For me all grace is a bit of the light of the divine, tucked away in the most flawed earthen vessel, I continue my journey to let it shine.
I will be back next week with more gifts.
Here is the doodle: The sun, moon, and the stars.
And a quote for your pocket.You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.Ralph Waldo Emerson
I try to be honest on my blog and also keep things upbeat. Here at the year end, I know this to be one of my most challenging years as a writer. I've tried things and found many that don't work. I haven't found many that do. I yearn with the depths of myself to say something that useful that will be of great help to many. I haven't found success. I wonder if this is what is like to wander in the desert? I hope that I find an oasis soon. I'm keeping the faith.
I have been grateful for my routine during this season of wandering. I cling to it. Write every day. Read every day. Take a walk every day. Do your chores. Do the shopping. Answer the emails. Cuddle the cats. Look for the moon. Watch the weather. There is something so beautiful and comforting to me about routine of my days. The sum of these moments are my life.
I think that routine is what I love about writing. Writing is walking an ancient path. I'm searching for the touchstones of story. There is magic in this journey. I rejoice when I find a touchstone. The first touchstone is the moment everything changes. My hands shake and my stomach does flip flops when I find this moment. It doesn't matter if I wrote the story or if someone else did.
Finding the touchstones of story is like skipping across a creek from stone to stone. I looking for the call to adventure, the turning point, the darkest moment and the climax and all the wonderful touchstone in between. These are the defining stones of who we are and what we want. It is my desire to find a pathway that connects with readers. So much I cry when I think about it. I don't know how to describe this ache within me. Many believe that I will find my way. I have no words for my gratefulness for the support.
As I journey on, I keep in mind that each sucky moment is what leads to lovely ones. Wherever you are on your creative journey, keep going. This unseen place that feel is ahead, you will find it. This story that is brewing within, it will appear. Just don't stop.
I will be back next week with more Gifts.
Here is the doodle. Tossing out my Star Wars: "Patience, you must have."
Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep. Carl Sandburg
This is my last week of my series Uplift. This week I'm going to do a response blog. I was really moved by this talk by Ursula K. Le Guin. This statement in that speech just made me want to stand up and shout: "There is a difference between a market commodity and the practice of an art" and this statement: "the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art." I felt like someone hit the reset button within me. So here goes my meandering.
It's really hard to live a life that thumbs its nose at the idea of making money. Somehow money making is connected to popularity in my head. I call it the Frisbee effect. People will buy a thing because everyone else is buying a thing. There are very few people who will actually use the thing. The market is looking for the next BIG book that will sell like a Frisbee. Art is not necessarily that. There is a force called capitalism in our society. The idea is supposed to be that financial success is a result of hard work. In a perfect world this would be awesome. That said, I am no fan of forced wealth redistribution either, but I do wonder if freedom in the market place -- the gain as much as you can philosophy -- actually works to withhold freedom from many people. There must be some central balance between the extremes that will give us the best of both ideologies. This of course is my hope.
That said, I came into this world with nothing. I will leave with nothing. I am a dreamy sort of person. I am always hungry for viable thoughts, things not so much. Black Friday was yesterday and I didn't go to one store and buy anything. I didn't order anything online. The acquisition of goods means little to me. I like to buy things when I need them. On top of that, I find the greed driven, those addicted to experiences: travel, clothing, games, entertainment, housing, idleness, etc. to be an epic tragedy. A select few on our planet living a premium life seems off kilter to me. I admire those who have spent their life pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. I admire those who are content in whatever circumstances they find themselves in. These folks always seem the most wealthy to me.
There is a cost if you want to be an artist/writer. A popular bit of advice has come my way again and again. It goes like this: You are going to have a hard time reaching an audience because you write to a not so chic and not so urban teen. And then you expect teens to face serious issues like pregnancy, poverty, and prejudice without acting like their lives suck because you believe "your life is your life and you get to define if it sucks or not." There is my deal. I do believe that. The one power you have as a human being is to define yourself and not let your circumstances define you. I like to write about that. You are greater than all the stuff life throws at you. You just are. I get it. This is not a money making scheme.
So what am I all about? I'm interested in the practice of art and not in market commodity. Hence, many will admire my work but few will get behind it. I am not a sure thing. What kind of nutcase refuses to bet on a sure thing and places all their money on the long shot? I totally understand that. I am the long shot. I may be irrelevant. I may waste my days. I may never achieve what I am seeking. Can I live with that? I have, can and will. I have been blessed in life. I have food. I have shelter. I have a life dedicated to art. I hope to add something to the conversation of freedom. I hope that you will consider adding to the conversation too.
I will be back next week with a new series. Thanks for dropping by.
Here is the doodle for the week: "Ark"
Here is the quote.There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? Robert Kennedy
Hi, folks! This month I'm calling the series Uplift. The idea of uplift is to improve socially, culturally, morally, spiritually, etc. We are all hungry, our hearts beating, struggling for contentment and a sweet spot to thrive. This part of my journey for uplift.
Short and sweet, this week, folks. I have to say that my imagination is my biggest gift. It bubbles around inside me. It is the best part of myself. I had a fun conversation with an imaginary friend this week, and bonus it was not my imaginary friend but Sam Garton's imaginary friend. Sam is the otter keeper of Otter. You might want to check out this blog: I am Otter.
I followed Otter this week. You can too:
Here is our conversation.
I have to say, my conversation with otter was one of my favorite things this week.
Here's the deal. My capacity for play has never diminished. I still have my favorite doll from childhood. I still color and draw almost every day. I never stop making up stories. I love to imagine the possibilities. Even in my darkest days, the angel of my imagination stirs within me.
There are journeys ahead, friends. Trust the infinite possibilities of your imagination.
I hope that your are jazzed this week! Please consider letting your imagination run wild. Let it take you beyond the possibilities to the impossible. Open a new door. Turn a new corner.
I will be back next week with the last in the series.
A doodle from me: Twos.
When you have exhausted all the possibilities: remember this. You haven't. Thomas Edison
Hi, folks! This month I'm calling the series Uplift. The idea of uplift is to improve socially, culturally, morally, spiritually, etc. We are all hungry, our hearts beating, struggling for contentment and a sweet spot to thrive. This is part of journey for uplift.
This week I'm going to wander some, but I hope that you capture the uplift from my words and find ways to thrive.
Here is a little story from my life. Recently, someone expressed disappointment in my lack of faith in in my writing and art. She seemed very assured that my work is total genius and the fact that I'm not doing more with it is a crying shame. She derided for my lack of respect for my own abilities. Part of me wanted to scream: You think I don't have faith in myself? You think I don't believe that my work is profound? You don't think I've tried to find a place for my voice? I had to squelch the wave of anger inside me and recognize that someone believed in my work passionately. I felt gratefulness for the connection.
Writing is a passion of mine. Almost every writer has a different reason why he or she writes. For me it is to connect with an audience. I want to say something that will kindle light within multitudes of readers. I literally ache with this need to connect. I am seeking an army of friends. This is a soul hunger within me. Some people want shiny stickers, truth on the page, I long for scores of letters and emails from people who have been moved by my art. I want to write back and rejoice in our connection.
My major writing goal is to travel close to the bone, and hence I put a lot of myself on the page. Here is some full disclosure honesty: my book, out this year, PLUMB CRAZY, was an intimate journey for me. My veins were opened and blood poured onto the page. My craziness. My laughter. My sadness. I know a few of you fell in love with my book, but that number is basically limited to my dearest friends and few new dearest friends. Of course, I TREASURE those who were moved by my literary journey, but I had great expectations that more people would love this book.
I've considered a new vocation of howling at the moon, but the better angels of my nature have appeared. My better angels whisper: all journeys bring gifts into your life. This is so true. I've learned a few things this year. My readers don't want prizes or swag. They don't want curse words. They really appreciate uber careful editing. I also see that my wheelhouse is sweetness, kindness, friendship and family, hence my sexy cover isn't exactly connecting for many. These are all good things to know.
I am not done. As I move forward on my creative journey, I plan to avoid the pop culture glue of brittle success and positive thinking, and guide my heart toward completeness and authentic thinking. I find denying failure and negative thoughts as a worthless endeavor. I embrace failure and negativity. These are a part of me, but I am so much more. I am joy and light, too. I am sinner and saint. I am angel and devil. I am art and craft. I am ridiculous and profound. I am mouse and lion. For me, true life is about being open to all this contradiction and embracing all of it with a tender heart. I will continue to put my garbled real on the page.
I will keep trying. I can respect this even if I ultimately fail. Giving up. This is the thing I can't respect. So stay the course or plot a new one. You may chose to abandon a dream but never abandon dreaming.
Come back next week for more Uplift.
Here is a doodle for you: "Cone Flower."
Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Hi folks, This month I'm calling the series Uplift. The idea of uplift is to improve socially, culturally, morally, spiritually, etc. We are all hungry, our hearts beating, struggling for contentment and a sweet spot to thrive. This is part of journey for uplift.
Today was a big creative day for me. I went to a workshop with Jodell Sadler pacing workshop with SCBWI Brazos Valley. I had a big uplift at this workshop. The idea that I found so provocative is to stop keeping an arm's length from your story. Of course this true, but immersion in the fictive dream is an absolutely terrifying place to be. You have to open yourself up.
I find that I want hide behind a mask in my writing. It's like in the early days of theater when actors put masks in front of their faces. The mask was supposed to help the actor vanish in to the role. It was used to transform the actor, to help the audience pretend to be someone else. Finally someone figured it out, if you drop the mask, it's much easier to project the pretend life -- that the audience would connect with the actor's emotional story in a more realistic way if the wooden mask were removed and the audience has access to flesh and bone.
I struggle to put down the mask. If I put it down, my flaws show. People see my double chin, the age spots on cheeks, the asymmetry of my eyes, the end of my bulbous nose. How will they every connect with my heart behind those eyes? There is this nakedness that must happen to write a true and viable story. It's a thing that resonates in me. It takes bravery to allow others to know you. We are all messed up. That's just the truth. Allowing others to see the blemishes also allows them to see the heart. Peel off the mask and let the sinew and bone show. Your soul will never escape if mask it.
I hope that this bit of uplift helps you on your path. I will be back next week with more uplift.
Here is a doodle for the week: "Star in her pocket"
And a quote for your pocket too!
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing
Hi folks, I love November. The air is getting a little crisp, and I might have to put away my sandals soon. This month I'm calling the series Uplift. The idea of uplift is to improve socially, culturally, morally, spiritually, etc. We are all hungry, our hearts beating, struggling for contentment and a sweet spot to thrive. This week I'm going to respond to a quote by Stephen King article in Rolling Stone because it got me thinking.
This statement was the one that caught me though the whole article is good. I've thought about it a lot this week: "maybe all intelligent races hit this level of violence and technological advances that they can't get past. And then they just puff out. You hit the wall and that's it." Something deep with in me just goes all "Gene Roddenberry" at this statement, you know, that whole positive view of the future of the ending of wars, moving on from money, and focusing on exploring the galaxy. Maybe we rise up. Maybe be we do better. Maybe the whole universe is alive, and we just haven't found that way to perceive it. We started out with smoke signals back in the day and now we have interwebs. Who knows what is next?
I don't watch the news much because they are not in the business of sharing what is good and right about our lives. The bright light of gratitude and goodness doesn't seem to draw in the throngs like doom and despair. It's a little weird to me too, because everyone knows focusing on the positive is a sure way to success. You have to deliberately cultivate a life that sees good. I know I'm a broken pot like so many of us, but I have seen glory in a rock on the side of the road. I've seen it in my cat rolling on the sidewalk. I've seen it in the tree growing next to my driveway. Why can't the Voice in Suburbia says something useful and uplifting?
I find it helpful to put away the troubling thoughts in life, and do the Scarlet O'Hara thing, "I'll think about that tomorrow" and turn my thoughts toward lofty ideas. This desire has helped me respond positively to the suffering and degradation of life and find new directions. I think of this response like flinging open my arms and embracing the moment. I leap in faith. My deep-seated belief is good triumphs, death is not the end, and love never fails. I leap with these thoughts.
So what is the end game of this little rambling? There's an updraft, dear, perhaps you should jump in it and see where it takes you. Sounds good.
I will be back next week with more on Uplift.
One more chicken doodle: "Chicken Angels."
And a quote for your pocket.
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. Abraham Lincoln
I'm continuing the series of Chicken by Chicken. This week I'm writing about being shaken to the core. Have you ever had a period a time when you are working, and you are just not feeling IT? What is IT? IT is a sense of assurance that you will find your way, a deep internal knowledge that your work will reach others, and some kind of genetic thing that you are meant to do what you are doing. This feeling of IT has been with me for decades. I think that Socrates called this his divine something that guided him along his path. This divine something never told him what to do, but nudged him this way and that to find the sweet spots that would rocket him forward along the river of destiny.
So this IT feeling has left me.
I don't know exactly when. A few months back, I think. You can see it in my recent blogs. I'm digging into the bedrock to hold on. I want the feeling back, but I don't know how to make it return. I'm living my own little Ecclesiastes, Chapter 1. Meaningless. Meaningless. But I'm fighting back with there is a time and season for everything under heaven. There is a season to dig up the ground. And here I am digging. What have I found so far? Long walks lift me up. I think. I sing. I watch butterflies. It's good for the soul. Kind thoughts also help. I try to think of what I would tell someone that is the same place I am. Then I say those things to myself. I listen to Burl Ives songs. Here is a link.
I say my prayers. I keep on working, even though it is slow going. I do little artist things. Go to lectures. Hang out with other artists. Find ways to be helpful.
I'm shaken to the core, but I am confident that what can't be shaken will remain. I'm holding to that right now. I have a deep desire to do more as an artist, to jump up to something more profound, but I didn't see this piece of the journey ahead. I have no idea where to jump. I'm whispering hourly, "Heart find your way."
Every little soul will shine. We all go through deep waters. Rise up! Don't give up. I will be back next week.
For doodles this month I'm featuring doodles from my ebook Halloween project: Chicken Take Over Halloween.
This one is "Robot Chickens."
A quote for your pocket.
Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.
― Franz Kafka
Hi, folks, this week is another response blog. I heard a song called Constellations by Brendan James and it resonated with me. This is a long ramble, a thought journey, inspired by that song, and I hope that you find something to take with you.
I feel like don't really understand the world, and it makes me cry. I feel so out of step with the seasons and times. I can't stand reading the news, or even checking out my Facebook half the time. There are too many wars. Nation against nation. Neighbor against neighbor. Here inside me, I hunger to see people come together, to take a deep breath and just figure out where to go from here. I hope bridges are built, coalitions are made, and every voice is heard. I dream that we would all listen and find better ways. I don't want to join the madding crowd that wants to heckle the stupid, drop bombs, and dehumanize others, all in the name of a better world.
I see the Universe at night and how it is able to spin out wondrous things and at the same time wreak great destruction. I feel the transience of life and yet eternity hums in my heart. Everyone I know is trying to get through the day without dwelling on the darkness. Some take the "be positive about everything" route. Some take the "find a cause" route. I swing between the route of despair and the route of hope, that I might be the voice that breaks through the noise and says something helpful.
I have had unshakable confidence throughout my life that if I got a chance on a stage that I would move the hearts of those shivering on the edges. I have believed that I would grow like a wild weed, but now see so clearly that my life is just a breath and is gone. A Monarch butterfly was caught in between the window and the screen in my house. Some hapless caterpillar crawled between the window and screen and formed a chrysalis. The butterfly emerged and now would die if I did not figure out a gentle way to remove the screen and let it go on it's way to the graveyards of Mexico for the day of dead. When I figured out a way to set the butterfly free, it occurred to me that all of my life might be just for that. Perhaps those beautiful wings have more purpose than I will ever have.
This brings me to the heart of this thought journey. I have hungered for purpose. I have believed all my life that a day was coming that the gifts within me would become visible, like the span over us -- Orion, the Pleiades, the evening star, the moon, and the swath of the Milky Way. I have believed my gifts would come clear like those lights in the heavens. But here I am making less than minimum wage and imploding under the stress of another miss in terms of my intended goal.
In the end we are not in control of our story, and hence I must embrace the days given us. I find embracing the smallness of who I am is difficult. Megalomania is expected in rock stars, but not here in Suburbia. I have to laugh at myself a little and laugh at my little dramas.There is certainly a ridiculousness to me.
Ah, you are just a onion flower in the yard. Most folks will pass by the onion flower but, hey, go ahead and bloom. Touch ten hearts, fifty hearts, A copper star for you. Not the silver, not the gold. That's all, dear. Work it out.
Thank you for dropping by and remember every little thing shines. See you next week.
This week is a page from my Halloween project: CHICKENS TAKE OVER HALLOWEEN.
Here is a quote for your pocket.
The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.John Locke.
Hi, folks, as promised my amazing chicken doodle project will be featured at the end of this post! I am over the top busy right now, but that is a good thing. This week I continue my "Chicken by Chicken" series. This week's topic I'm talking about this Mess: "book products," Kindle, and why I feel there is big time mucking up going on with something I love. I'm in a ranting/ramble mood. I hope something in here resonates with you.
I'm totally not against writers making money. In fact, I am totally for it, but the technology books has sort of ruined books for now. I have this thing called the Kindle. I buy books on said Kindle. I sell books on the Kindle. I use it daily. But I am as not as happy as I could be! I have formed an opinion. I love this Kindle technology, but I hate the business side of the Kindle, that has turned book selling into a big box store enterprise with a store interface that is over the top annoying. The wonky Kindle interface makes finding good books VERY difficult. You can't trust the reviews because businesses exist to make reviews. You can't trust the ratings--people pay for stacks of ratings.You can't trust the search or rank features because Amazon is a publisher too and, yeah, they want to sell their books most-est....
So I'm stuck in a bookstore that has an agenda, and that agenda is to deliver me the content they love (cough,they've negotiated the best deals with the publishers), and curtail my access to any other content. Let me say this here: superior technology is not ruining the pleasure of buying books, it's the inferior book business of the book technological innovators. These technology gurus have invented an awesome way to deliver books to us all. I totally cheer that, but dang it, they are not content delivery innovators. If I could buy a Kindle and rip out their "buyer" interface I would do it in instant. I want Kindle to change.
I want to buy books from whoever I want on the Kindle, from Mom and Pop Bookstore on the Kindle. Period. I should be able to put what ever book buyer interface I want on my Kindle! You remember when every had to use Explorer? That is so over. Currently, I use Google to find books. I use bloggers to find books I want to read. I ask my friends what is hot. It's a way better method than the Kindle store. My method is OK but not great. Technology innovators please figure out a way to separate the book interface from the store interface! Can you imagine if the printing press had locked up selling only specific content back in the day? Boo, Kindle. Boo.
Here's the best way to buy books. Every reader in the world knows this. Mom and Pop decide to open a bookstore. They decide to make it a fun place to serve coffee and offer books. They do not sell tons of toys, games, and Doctor Who cookie jars (Okay, I will allow the cookie jars because I am a fan.) Mom and Pop read all the time. All their friends read. They love to chat up books. Their employees read. This crowd does not care who wrote the book, who published the book, how much marketing was spent on the book. They care that they like the book. They care that they offer books they hate too because these folks ought to have a free speech flag flying above their door. I love Mom and Pop.
The downside of Mom and Pop, they sell a book for $20 that can be purchased on the Kindle for $3. Overhead is a problem. Listen to me, we all have fewer dollars to pass around. This is a growing trend. I hear Marie Antoinette telling me to eat cake if I don't have bread, and we all know how it turned out for her. We need an innovative online way to sell content to readers on the Kindle that respects that some of us lack moola. And for me from small city Texas without even an independent bookstore,
I need everyday folk access.I want independent stores on my Kindle. Allow the middle man into your business, kind of like channels on TV. Make it happen.
Okay, rant is over. I feel better. I will be back next week with more of my series.
Here is a doodle for your pocket:
It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. Epitctetus
Hi folks, I am working hard right now: a little fun project that features my chicken doodles (more to come about that) along with the first draft of my next novel (Top Secret Title). On my chicken doodles, I am an amazing chicken doodler. This is, of course, self-aggrandizing praise and has no meaning, except to inform you that I really like my chicken doodles. Prepare to be dazzled.
Anyway, on to this week's topic: chopping your own path in the wilderness of art is akin to breaking new ground in a garden. It's back breaking work. The yields are going to low until the ground gets its mojo going. Weeds will war with your newly turned land. Everyone will admire your work, and at the same everyone will say you aren't doing it right. They may mention your method is too complicated or too different. Or that you are growing a crop that no one wants. Many will say you are too obscure. Dear Lord, apparently there is no room in this world for the unusual.
Pardon me while I howl over the Grand Canyon. I like the echo.
I love art that goes into the wilderness. I had to wake up to this fact a while ago. I'm an outsider. I've dedicated my life to chopping new paths. Like most folks on who travel into the wilderness, I have no idea where I am going. I have a feeling something is out there, somewhere, beyond -- it's difficult to say. I am pioneering. Like Willa Cather said in O Pioneers, “A pioneer should have imagination, should be able to enjoy the idea of things more than the things themselves.” You must embrace the unseen if you want your own patch in the wilderness.
Here I give you encouragement to follow you crazy ideas. Yes! Here are your new words: Why not! If the road isn't working for you. Cut into the field. Look up at the stars as you go. I get plenty of strength from the stars. There are new patterns to be explored, There are new stories to be told. To understand now you might have to look to the future or the past. How can I be so sure. I see this written in the stars. You don't have to know where you are going. I think that there is room for pioneering in art. I believe we need unique voices. Don't let folks shut you down with their fear of the unknown.
Finally, if you got down this far, you're probably a fan of my work. I have a book out there called PLUMB CRAZY. If you can give it some reader love, I would appreciate it.
Here's a newsy item. the Cybils, a bloggers award for children's literature, are open for nominations. You can nominate your favorite books.
I will be back next week with more musing.
Here is a doodle: Gandalf Chicken
If you are going down a road and don't like what's in front of you and look behind you and don't like what you see, get off the road. Create a new path!
Hi folks, I've been pressured this week. I have a deadline looming. It's a few months off, but it mocks me from the distance. A ton of work is between me and that deadline. My creative self is just not happy being forced to perform. The writing is feeling very mechanical, and I've been feeling edgy. I can do the ton of work ahead, but I have to have an infusion of fun or this is going to be a dismal project.
As a professional writer, I don't have the luxury of waiting for a muse or finding the right mood. That said, without the muse or the mood, I struggle to get anything on the page that is infused with awesomeness. Without finding my groove, my work is painful and generally worthless and uninspired. To find my groove, I have to give myself time to play, a lot of time to play, This week I started up a project that is really for the fun of it. It's a silly project that is self-indulgent, silly, and sarcastic. No one wants this project. It's just for me. I delight in it.
Allowing myself to do something that lights me up, whether anyone else cares or not, fuels me with energy. The project has one targeted audience and that is myself. I am always working on projects like this. I doodle. I bake, I crochet, I knit, I sew, I sing, I play my flute, pluck on my dulcimer, weed my flowerbeds, chase with the cats or let them chase me, joke with my kids, write silly bits. I play. There are reasons for this creative play. One, I must be able to finish things because it makes me feel jazzed. Two, I must be free to complete something for my own self, something that sends a sense of accomplishment into my soul. Three, I get to call the flaws in my work character.
Play is like taking a tub of olive oil and tumping it on my head. It a lubricant that cuts down resistance. I jump into my work and slide forward with a rush of speed. I'm ungummed from the commercialization and commodifying of imagination. I find that sweet place of the song bird, croaking frog, or shimmering cicadas. I find what heart tells me to do. The dreaded deadline no longer looms. It's just a date on a calendar that happen to coincide with the marvelous creative journey I'm on. This dear readers, is the GROOVE.
I hope you have some fun and find your groove this week! I will be back with more musing next week.
Here is a doodle.
Here is a quote for your pocket.
Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. ~Mark Twain, Following the Equator
Hi folks, This is a real ramble this week. I was out having breakfast at my favorite little breakfast stop yesterday. It was late morning and I was the only one in the place. I took some pages of my WIP, bought my obligatory cup of iced tea (this is Texas), and picked up the provided newspapers to sift through. I still like to read a newspaper one or two times a week. It brings back warm memories of growing up when my family shared the Sunday paper.
One of the employees was reading from her phone.
"Oh, I love Shel Silverstein," she exclaimed.
Her fellow workers all chimed back similar love. Immediately.
"Which one are you reading?" one called.
The phone reader called out, "You have to hear this. Hug O'War
She read it. Tables stopped being wiped. The kitchen grew silent. The manager put down his tablet.
When she finished, I heard murmured happy comments of how much they all loved Shel Silverstein and how they have treasured him their whole lives (18 to 25 years). They called out his book titles; Light in the Attic, The Giving Tree, and Falling Up! And when this conversation ended they launched into the The Giver by Lois Lowery.
I felt like a very happy fly on the wall.This conversation brought me close to my life's mission -- I'm caught up in the indomitable struggle for meaning. I know, I have a life mission. I'm fighting the sound and fury part of life. I'm kicking against entropy.
This hunger to share something of who we are and what we want feels like rocket fuel inside me. Unfortunately, failure is an option that I have run into again and again. You see, I really want to create a morning in a breakfast shop in the future where someone reads from their phone, shares my words, and heads nod in happy communing over these familiar words. I so want to contribute a verse.
I keep searching for that spark of meaning that will light the fire of human souls. I call this an indomitable struggle because I will not quit. I will not, but I must be honest. I've been feeling like Moses looking over into a promised land this week, wondering if I'm just barred because I hit a rock in frustration to make water flow. I'm feeling like Apollo Thirteen astronauts who got mighty close to the moon but their story became one of just getting home and the wonders of duct tape. The worst of it, I'm feeling like the member of a host of women whose quiet serviceable lives are lost amid the clamoring voices of the flashier members of our species.
I am the most pedestrian creature to have a far flung dream. I'm off the beaten track, dwelling in the yawning wilderness of suburbia, You really don't hear much about the "Voice that Cried from Surburbia!" I live in a "little box" on a street of ticky-tacky houses. I'm a housewife and a mother. I think the government calls me unemployed. My everyday projects are a garage sale and going grocery shopping. I might mow the lawn.
And yet I'm caught up in this indomitable struggle for meaning. Here I am, hoping to rattle the bones. You know, a weed will spring up in any crack in the concrete. I hope that you hold onto your struggle. I hope you find meaning on this journey of life. I hope that you share it. Bloom, even in that impossible place. I have a deep seated belief that "every little thing is going to shine."
Will be back next week with more musing.
Here is a doodle.
In our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.
Hi, folks, this is a meandering post, but maybe I've said something that resonates.
Where do we fit? There is a day we all come to, at least I hope so. On this day we allow ourselves to be ourselves. We embrace the fact that we are whatever we are-- animal, mineral, vegetable, you know whatever. We embrace our contradictions and our harmonies. This is awareness began to grow in me when I wrote my Rembrandt book. Van Rijn's message was so clear. He was after capturing the shadow and light he perceived in the world. His self-portraits speak so much to me. He drew his face over and over, recording the ravages of time, the gifts of wisdom, and the emerging soul, His art stamped the idea of capturing the world as it is into my artistic vision.
I tend to be on the edges of the party of life. I like to find a corner and a good conversation, The rest of time I hang out by myself. In groups, I like to sit up front, in the back or along the edge. I'm only a mild introvert; this edge thing is something else. I march to the beat of my own drum. It's not something I want to do. It something that I do whether I want to or not. I'm out of step with the times. Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes its unfortunate, but at the end of the day it is me. Rembrandt opened my eyes to just being what I am and being comfortable with that.
One decision that I've made over last few years is to read what interests me. There are entire movements in the book world that just go right over my head. You know whatever shadows and lights draw me in, I go after them. I don't have to read the rest of it. It makes me a really eclectic reader. I'm good with that. I've given myself permission to skip books that I don't connect with , even if everyone loves that book. I also get to read whatever cheesy popular read that I want to. I have freedom. It's alright be out of step.If you are out of step with world, embrace it. Stylizing yourself to fit in just doesn't really bring out great art in my opinion. The space to be yourself will help you bloom.
If you are a wallflower in the world or have been picked last more times than you can count, don't worry about it. Watch the world from your corner and do something amazing with the knowledge. Put that "picked last" into perspective. I mean, folks on the edges generally have big imaginations. I find that they have schemes percolating within. That's a good place to be. Stay away from the myth that you must find your place. It may not exist yet, and you may be carving it out.
Will be back next week.
Here is the doodle:
Here is a quote for your pocket: The finest clothing made is a person's own skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this.
A confession. I have literary aspirations but with some serious Sharknado
thrown in. That moment in the movie where the guy slices open a shark with chainsaw, that never gets old for me. I want to write something meaningful and uplifting, but you know with some geekiness in the mix. So I have a I-want-to-write-something-important complex, but I also want to create something so epic-geek-weird-that-it-creates-a-cult-following-lasting-for-generations. I know this is messed up. I'm good with that.
It's time for me to write another book. Part of me want to cling to the myth that I can study the formulas and create a bestseller, but I know the deeper truth -- I'm blowing on some dice and am about to throw them out on a table. I wish that so many decisions weren't a crap shoot. I wish life wasn't that way. But I am living on a molten ball of lava that is covered by a thin skin of rock material near a massive fusion reactor (the Sun). Life is fragile, unpredictable, and I have a mere heartbeat of time to share my thoughts with the universe. I have little control and have learned I must take my chances. These are my only days.
As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves
So I started a new book this week. I have no idea if anyone will ever like it. I have my literary aspirations with my geek slant as usual. This time I'm adapting Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing
into a down-home Texas mold. I'm making my choices. I will live with them. Life offers no guarantees.
I'm taking my chances. I hope that you take yours too, and if that includes some Sharknado, so be it!
I will be back next week with more.
Here is a doodle:
. Mahatmas Ghandi
Inspiration doesn't just show up when you want it to.It's something that must be drummed up from the earth of you. Imagine you are a garden --Butchart Garden, a Japanese tea garden, a rose garden-- you pick. This garden did not just happen. It took planning, work, and weather to create this dazzling place. A cultivated garden bursts with inspiration. The ground of you is the same and to be a place of inspiration, you'll have to work at it.
First up, you have to be rich ground. You will enrich your ground by reading books -- lots of books, all kinds of books. This adds nutrients to the soil of you. You will absorb fantastic ways of approaching stories. You'll find rhythms, turns and surprises that will inform your work. You'll become of aware of things that don't work. Books will take you on life changing journeys. Without this influx of story, you will struggle to find inspiration.
There is more to the enrichment process than simply reading. You will open up to experience. Douse yourself with regular bucketfuls of the arts. Engage your senses. Participate in the art. Draw, sing, dance--. If you like to bake culinary masterpieces, go for it. Don't let anyone sniff down their nose at your lowbrow pursuits. If some bachelor reality show inspires, watch it. If some monster truck rally appeals, go. Allow yourself freedom, and you will be welcoming inspiration into your life.
Another important enrichment step: go on adventures. Don't let anyone define what an adventure is to you. If you find visiting tiny off-the-road museums meaningful, huzzah! If you like a walk on the beach, huzzah! If you want to jump out of an airplane. OK. If your idea of adventure is shopping in the garment district in New York, go for it. If your idea of adventure is visiting a website like Atlas Obscura and heading out, so be it. Allow yourself to follow your heart, and you will be opened up for inspiration.
There is more to the cultivation process. All this enrichment will help you on your inspiration road but you must also work. You must work regularly in your creative area to easily access inspiration. This requires you to open up your definition of what work is. Work for me isn't just writing. It's staring out the window. It's taking a nap perchance to dream. It's moving through the manuscript backwards looking for typos. All this work helps prime me for inspired moments.
You've added nutrients to the soil, you've been working, but you need the right weather to make this garden thrive. You know certain things grow in the desert. Certain things grow in the rain forest. Your climate is important. Are you hanging out with a bunch of folks who have no artistic vision? Is anyone supporting you as an artist? No? You MUST expand your circle of friends. Surround yourself with the best and the brightest. Be sure you are in the right climate for this garden to thrive. This is a necessary element for inspiration.
Work on the garden of you this week and you will find that inspiration springs up. It just does! I will be back next week another series on Writer Myths. :)
Here is a doodle:
Here is a quote for your pocket.The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.
Hi. folks, this week is a response blog to Janet Lee Carey's post "I am not a brand." For more on this topic, check out a manifesto statement from Maureen Johnson.
This is another meandering post. I felt fire and pain while writing this one. I will wander here some. I hope that something strikes a chord.
Branding is a human activity. We are inherently drawn to symbols. We slap them on everything from our faith to our hamburgers. A good brand offers a clear message. It also offers assurance you will receive a similar experience with branded products. A good brand will also stir up a targeted audience emotionally, will motivate a customer to place money on the counter, and will bring back customers again and again.
Here's a question I circle around. Should my work be branded?
On the surface, it seems to make sense. A book is a commodity. It's sold at the store with a publishing brand stamped on the book's spine. Beyond this, authors who offer readers similar fare time and time again usually find the most success. If the author writes one thriller, then writes ten more, that usually attracts a greater readership. The writer will have to tend that stream of content for a lifetime. Hey, this is a business, folks.
Branding helps writers stand out in the marketplace. So, authors, get in line. Learn the formulas. Refine your message and sell it! Be all bossy and pushy about that message. Hog every stage. What you have to say is the most important thing. To Market!
Sigh. Do you ever think you were born into the wrong world? The problem with "comodifiying" the story journey and branding imagination is this for me: We are all quicksilver. You can't really pin us down. We shift and change on you. We are fickle. We are not who we were yesterday. We will not be the same tomorrow. If I go all branding on myself, instead of being who I am, I ditch who I am. Not okay.
For me storytelling is an ancient human art. This art circles around two questions: Who are we? What do we want? These are the two things you own in this life. No degradation can put out the spark of you. Your hunger for what you want will cause you to risk everything. You may have to join a team who dared to have a dream and ended up martyred. But take to heart, they shaped the future.
Storytelling is too precious to mankind to force it into the branding mold. I'm with a little band of others that hop and holler, "Your heart, that's the holy ground! It sure is! Here is a lodestone for you." That said, we have no intention of sparing your feelings. We understand suffering has a purpose.We are immersed in the life-saving art of creating lodestones for the human heart, story maps that will help readers navigate through the rough seas of their lives.
A great book sets you on a journey toward your true north. It will turn you away from stupidity. It will rattle your cage. It will break your bonds. It will help you understand your days. It will help you find your best possible self. No question!
I hope you create something priceless. If you get some money for that, well, people need to eat. If you don't get money for it, well, people don't live on bread alone.
Here is a doodle for you.
and a quote for your pocket from the great poet Bob Dylan:Come writers and critics who prophesy with your pen
And keep your eyes wide the chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon for the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who that it's namin'
For the loser now will be later to win.
We have reached the hot days of summer in Texas. I've been trekking off and on to Shakespeare at Winedale for over 30 years. You might be surprised to find that every time I write a book I think about the Bard's plays long and hard. I lean toward his comedies. I think about the plots. I read passages. I watch and read the plays. It helps me find my novel. It's a thing for me.
Currently I'm thinking about the next book I'm going to write. Long before I write a book, I spend time thinking about it. Often times a Shakespearean play pokes at me, and that is true right now. The play that is in my head is Much Ado About Nothing. I'm turning its plot over and over. This play is serving as the spirit plot guide for my new book.
These are the kinds of thoughts I have as my spirit plot guide leads me: I love the the Benedick/Beatrice relationship. I love the idea of two characters in a "merry war", who become lovers. I love they both have strong opinions about serious relationships. I like that they are both damaged. I love that their friends conspire to bring them together. Nice. I like that Benedick is asked to defend Beatrice's cousin Hero's honor. This act reveals depth to his love. I turn the plot points of the play and I ask myself, can I use any of this. Of course, I can and will.
The spirit plot guide causes me to question the path too. The whole mistaking Hero for a skank whore is good, but the when she falls over pretend dead, it's just, you know, fake. I also don't like that it's Beatrice's best friend and cousin who is called a skank whore. It seems like it would be better if Beatrice would be called a skank whore falsely. That's just my feeling about it. I think that it would be cool if Benedick were Beatrice's most staunch supporter through a direct attack on her honor. I let keep letting the ideas roll around in my head.
Once I have a slew of plot points, ideas, etc. I start the translation process and will eventually write a random lists of ideas. I'll sift through these and pick the best ones. I will build a plot for my new book from there. So here I am all wrapped up in a play from 1623 -- a well-worn path is influencing a new one. I hope that you seek spirit plot guides for your work. I believe your work will thank me.
More lessons from Shakespeare next week.
Here is the doodle for the week: Birds.
A quote for your pocket:
....for man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.William Shakespeare.
Now PLUMB CRAZY news: I have an interview on KBTX Brazos Valley Magazine that you may wish to check out. I chat with host Sharon Colson about digital pubbing and Plumb Crazy. July 5 (6PM) & 6(5PM). http://ow.ly/yfk8c
There is also the ebook giveaway that is still running for a couple of more days: Go here.
The ebook version of PLUMB CRAZY
from Swoon Romance but will be out as paperback soon. I ask you to consider supporting my work -- buy a copy, share the news, request the book at your library, ask me to blog for you. I'm open. Thank you.
To buy a copy: Here for a copy from Amazon US. Here is Amazon UK. Here is Amazon Australia
. Here is Amazon Canada. Try here for a copy for your B&N Nook
Also consider participating in my upcoming book tour. Here is the link.
It's going to a 100 F today. I want to go to the pool. This month I wandering with the Bard. Why? I've been trekking off and on to Shakespeare at Winedale for over 30 years and thought I might do some wandering here, over my back fence.
The Bard taught me one of the big writing lessons: all characters must count. This lesson leaps off the pages of his plays. I'm going to chat about that today.
Shakespeare knew how to cast a play: Foolish suitors, faithful servants, long-lost relatives, evil noblemen, wicked kings, betrayed best friends, quarreling pals, drunk dignitaries, saucy spinsters, war weary soldiers, fresh young things, demanding queens, trying tricksters, etc. He mixed dynamic characters, stereotypes, and foils to create a potent mix. I love to write stories with complex casts and using every member to great effect. I love that Shakespeare will give a great line to any one of his characters.
And now for some play. Shh, the Bard and I are back stage and he's sharing his secrets. Here is a little of that conversation.
The Bard whispers in my ear, "Every character counts. Use that."
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts
I whisper back, "OK."
He whispers in my ear, "Everyone does stupid things. Leverage that."
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
I whisper back, "OK."
He whispers in my ear. "Rattle your characters until they roll."
He would drown the stage with tears,
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty, and appall the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears.
I whisper back, "OK."
You might consider going back stage with the Bard and seeing what he whispers to you. I will be back next week with another lesson from Shakespeare.
Now PLUMB CRAZY news: I have a guest blog at the Dragon Blog about my fan fiction roots
. Check it out.
PLUMB CRAZY will be out as paperback soon. I ask you to support my work -- buy a copy, share the news, request the book at your library, ask me to blog for you. I'm open. Thank you.
To buy the ebook: Here for a copy from Amazon US. Here is Amazon UK. Here is Amazon Australia
. Here is Amazon Canada. Try here for a copy for your B&N Nook
Also consider participating in my upcoming book tour. Here is the link.
Posted by MollyMom103
at 4:38 PM
Hi folks. I'm continuing my series of writing lessons from Shakespeare. He was the master of the put down. I think you would agree his ability to cast the insults is unparalleled. The Bard's work continues to breathe and live because of the richness and density of language. We live in an age where cursing is ubiquitous. Originality in the insult is at an all time low. I think taking a few minutes and really absorbing the Bard's insulting craft will help you with your craft. Do you best when casting out your put downs.
Here's an insult I like from All's Well that Ends Well: "A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality." Coward, liar, promise breaker, and low born. How do these ideas transfer into our society today? Who is the coward of today? The liar? The promise breaker? Who is low born? Also note that you have to pile on the insults for effect and you have to modify the insult with adjectives. Simple but, oh, so powerful.
I think peeking at Shakespeare's insults may help you sharpen your insulting skills. Here is a link to the Shakespearean Insulter for fun. This will toss an insult at you randomly. Here is a Shakespeare insulter kit, basically three lists to build your own insults. Enjoy. I will be back next week!
Here is a doodle. Sunflower.
Here is a quote for your pocket:You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!
PLUMB CRAZY will be out as paperback soon. I ask you to support my work -- buy a copy, share the news, request the book at your library, ask me to blog for you. I'm open. Thank you.
Summer is upon us. We are in the high 90s here! I have been, oh, so busy getting ready for the book tour. Info is below but I want to give you some gem of wisdom to help you on your creative journey.
Here is something I believe. You must try. Do you remember the story of The Little Engine that Could. I find that story to be a bit of baloney. If you are on the right track, giving it your all, yes, you might succeed. But there is no way to tell if your on the right track, or if the track has been knocked out ahead, or if you basically aren't a train. That said, you must try anyway.
An absolute truth: you will never be disappointed in yourself if you give it your all and come in last or don't even complete the task. In fact you will get up, dust yourself off and try something else. Your failure will teach you things you will need for when you are on the right track. You will never regret try with your whole heart.
Please also check out this post. The hardest thing I've ever written. Please check out my Dear Teen Me blog.
I write a letter to younger self. After you read the blog please consider donating to the Alzheimer's Association.
PLUMB CRAZY will be out as paperback soon. I ask you to support my work -- buy a copy, share the news, request the book at your library, ask me to blog for you. Thank you.
Watch here! I will have a giveaway beginning on July 28th. The entry period will be until August 28th. Fun times ahead.
Here is the Plumb Crazy Book Tour Schedule: I interview my characters, share the Plumb Crazy playlist and much more. Follow the tour on Twitter at @MollyBlaisdell! Or on my Facebook page.
I will end with my Star Wars doodle:
And the quote that goes with it.
Yoda was wrong. Try there is. Molly Blaisdell
Howdy, folks! Summertime, and I'm off to watch the Houston Astros take down the Toronto Blue Jays. This is one of those high stakes, nation vs. nation games.
I'm still celebrating the book tour. I'm running a giveaway with my book tour, and I hope that you will consider entering. It's in the sidebar. Win a signed copy of the book and $100 gift certificate to Cavender's.
I offer the professional writer checklist. Lots of people want to be professional writers. I'm going to hand out the game plan. Here are ten steps to professional writer .
1. Write every day. Yes, professional writers must write. (I usually write 2- 4 hours a day, five days a week.)
2. Create an office. Professionals have offices
3. Take all paying gigs. This one comes with a commandment. Thou shalt not sneer at any paying gig like menus, tweets, content farms, technical manuals, wfh, basal readers, etc.." Anyone who looks down on this stuff is not a professional, he or she is a hobbyist.
4. Make specific, achievable long term and short term goals.
5. Network with your peers regularly. (Critique groups, conferences, professional organizations, etc.)
6. Join the social media circus. (website, Facebook, Twitter, bloggers, tumblr, etc...)
7. Keep accurate financial records.
8. Buy some business cards.
9. Invest in a printer that can spit mega pages in a short period of time. (Weird, but needed.)
10. Profess you are a professional writer to anyone who asks. (Never belittle yourself, not in self talk, not to others.)
Ta-da, you are a professional writer. The doodle and quote are at the end.
Here is the tour schedule!
Here is a doodle! "Roses"
And a quote for your pocket:
A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn't feel like it. Alistair Cooke
Hi folks, it is getting crazy hot here. Over a 100. Whew! Welcome to my little corner of the interwebs.
Did you know that PLUMB CRAZY is coming out in paperback? I'm celebrating! Enter to win the Plumb Crazy Book and Boots Giveaway. Book and $100 Gift Card to Cavenders:.tinyurl.com/mv2ku8y.
This week I offer a gem to help you with the creative process. I can't do all my work on the computer, Handwriting plays an important part in my creative process. I have to write the things by hand and don't expect something linear and neat. Expect bubbles with ideas, doodles of flowers and geometric shapes, half finished lists, freewrites, graphs, charts, me grousing about how hard it is to write books, pages of lame ideas, and lists of marketing ideas too.
I can't think any of this stuff on the computer, but I can think it on paper. I believe all this stuff happens in handwriting because I am bringing my style and individuality to the shape of the words. This added dimension opens wellsprings within. If you are struggling with moving forward with a creative project, grab a sheet of paper and a pen you really like and pour out your thoughts! You might be surprised.
I will continue this month with gems of creative wisdom. My doodle and quote are at the end. First a recap of the book tour!
Plumb Crazy Book Tour Recap!
The PLUMB CRAZY playlist - Victoria Simcox's Blog - http://ow.ly/zSdHS
You can listen to it on Youtube - http://ow.ly/zSdHS!
The Plumb Crazy Dream Cast! -The Avid Reader - http://ow.ly/zSgpj
Mitch's Profile! -- Book Club Sisters - http://ow.ly/zSf99
Mitch wins Book Boyfriend of the Week! - Book Boyfriend Reviews - http://ow.ly/zShqN
Wherein I Interview my character Mitch! - The Written Adventure - http://ow.ly/zSfS2
Author Interview! -- Kelly P's Blog - http://ow.ly/zSeo9
Wherein I share a true writer's journey - Writers' Connection - http://ow.ly/zSg7q
My Five Favorite Movies - My Love for Reading Keeps Growing - http://ow.ly/A8VxH
***** Review - Books Are Love -- http://ow.ly/A8YCc and http://ow.ly/A8Z0B
A quote for your pocket:
Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult. Geoffrey Chaucer (The Assembly of Fowles, line 1)
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Howdy, folks: Plumb Crazy is coming out in paperback. I'm celebrating with the Book and Boots giveaway. Enter to win a signed Plumb Crazy and $100 Gift Card to Cavender's Authentic Western Wear. Follow this link of details. http://tinyurl.com/mv2ku8y. I so greatly appreciate the support that has come my way for Plumb Crazy, and thank you all for every tweet, mention and, of course, every ebook you have purchased.
This week, I'm going to offer a rambling chat about vulnerability. I came by the knowledge of vulnerability through a difficult journey that involved a lot of shame and fear. I'm going to sort of wander here. Perhaps one of my twists or turns will be what you need.
My vulnerability story goes like this. Once upon a time, I used to dream, hope, and pine that I would write stories that would capture the entire world. I also desired this feeling that I was connecting work with others and being true to my art. But I was coin with two sides. I also wanted to be wildly successful, to make enough money to help my kids go to college, to see my books on the shelves of stores across the world, to see my name on the list of favorite books, and to see shiny stickers on my books.
I worked hard and made no sales. I was so far from the coin; there are no words for the shame and fear I felt and cause other around me to suffer. It was stupid and awful. One day I realized I could basically write anything and shoved my art to the back of my desk and wielded my craft. The purpose was to make some money. I mean every $30 is a pair of blue jeans, a meal out for my family, or a chance I went about writing books like a business and that did lead to publication, but also to a terrible discomfort and uneasiness that I was somehow missing the boat of myself. I went on like this for a decade, but then began to back away from the blue jean work.
I don't know what to say except that losing my art was like losing myself. Art has to be like the morning bird song for me. It must be the vastness of the universe. It must be the twinkle in a eye. For me, art can't be about making money. This makes me want to curse a little. Money allows for vacations, extras, and freedom. I also live in a society that the measure stick of success is fame and fortune. Art infuses me with worthiness. Losing the extras has been hard, gaining an internal sense of worth has been priceless.
I turned 50 this week and here is a true confession. I've felt like a failure for much of my adult life because I've focused on the negative about myself. I've felt deep shame because I suck at so many things many find success at. I suck greatly at making money, like I was born into a world that put its foot on my neck and laughed at me because I didn't have a chance in hell. My shame has gone deep. I also suck at academia. I've been so ashamed of this. Many of my friends are so freaking bright and pick up degrees like those things grow on the side of the road. I have always struggled in school. I was lucky to get a B.A. I was the bottom of my class. I do learn, but not the "right way." I think the education world is a lot like the business world, not my forte.
Also with 50, I'm embraced the good about me. I'm a good helper, and I dwell in a place where I create for the joy of creating and nothing more. Few writers are privileged in this life with the opportunity to make connection and money. I used to be green with envy about that fact. That has faded away. I am happy for all the art that binds us together. The binding is a group effort. My stitches count. I am as sure of this as gravity. Here is the way I see it. Time to strip naked and stand on the edge of the road. My form may not capture the interest of many. Many, many people might pass me by. I'm holding my head high. Every little thing shines. It does.
So in my vulnerability, I hope you read Plumb Crazy because it is part of me, the depths of me on a page, and that on those pages that you might find part of yourself. I have found myself on the pages of book many times. I hope that you laugh when you read my pages because every giggle, chuckle, and smile is part of why I am here. I didn't follow the rules when I wrote Plumb Crazy. I followed my heart. Writing for me is a joy. There is something so uplifting about finding the voice of a story and then spinning out a tale that it brings to tears and laughter and a feeling of spread wings and flying. Seek it.
I'm working harder to follow my heart now than ever before. I am trying to add to the ancient paths of story, and I hope that my efforts inspire you. I hope that you join me in prayer and thoughts that I will find good places to share my gifts. Be vulnerable.
I will be back next week with more thoughts.
Here is a doodle for your enjoyment.
Here is a quote for your pocket. I hope the write the greatest poem.
This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. Walt Whitman