Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gifts: Prophesy to these dry bones

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

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Gifts: Keep the faith

Hi, folks,

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 so 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 you 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

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Uplift: The Conversation of Freedom

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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Uplift: The Infinite Possibilities of Imagination

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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Uplift: Respect Trying

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 readersI 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