Sunday, December 25, 2016

Be Happy. Do Good.

Happiness must be woven into your art. Create what makes you happy but know this - only you know what makes you happy. After you embrace happiness, seek goodness. Do good. Wherever. Whenever. 
Your happiness journey must include uncovering negative emotions. This takes effort, but you are captive until you release your anger, sorrow, and pain.  Release empties you, making room for new feelings. You may have to talk to someone. Please do. Releasing your negative emotions is a step to do good in this life. 
All artists want to hear the words, "great job." The desire to connect with others is something deep and truly human.  The happiness of art must be disconnected from the praise that may or may not follow your work.  The art must be enough.  If it isn't, dream a new dream.  Time for new dreams is always available. 
Plunge into what brings you joy. Connect with ideas bigger than yourself. Feed your art with positive words. Stop the negative talk. I don't believe in positive thinking, but I do believe in happiness. It's the best state for us all. Happiness' pursuit is the business of your art. Happiness is about lifting burdens and setting captives free, you first. My faith in Love is unwavering. Love is the warp of the universe. It holds all together. Seek this Love and you will find it. Your work will rise.
 Whisper to yourself, "I am loved. I may not see it or feel it, but it is just as true as the gravity that holds me to this planet."
Allow love to infuse your work.  Anger, bitterness, hate, this stuff will only take your art so far. Cultivate happiness. Stop speaking and speaking, creating and creating, and listen. Listen to critics. Listen to the wind and the rain. Listen to your breath. It whooshes in and out. So wonderful. Don't be afraid to take risks after you've listened. 
Finally, do good. Give your time and your efforts. Don't be too busy to listen to someone's story. This may be what you need for your art to blossom.  Art is a conversation. Suffering abounds in this world. Alleviate it. Remove it. Your art is an arrow to pierce the heart of darkness. Share your skills. Be generous.   
Yes,  dear friends, be happy and do good.  Let your art be dedicated to these pursuits. Enjoy your precious days. 
Here is a doodle. 

From the great poet, Bob Dylan, a quote for your pocket. 
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize 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
For the times they are a-changin’

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Igniting the Bonfire, Again

Have you ever lost heart in a project? You have put in hundreds of hours and for sure you've started something interesting, but then something went wrong. The work stopped. It dies.
Now you panic like an animal caught in a trap. There is no way to escape! After panic comes depression. You go to bed and refuse to talk to anyone. The depression finally lifts and you determine to start something new. 
Yay, you are working again, but you aren't doing what you wanted to do. The bonfire of creative energy has gone out, and you are going through the motions. How do you ignite the work? How do you return to your former state? How do you rise from the dead?
You are broken. But hear this, death is not an end. It is a place of transformation.
There is no going back. Forward is the only choice. The best thing to do is to purposely let go. Don't glance back with regret at all the time you've lost. Nothing artistic is truly ever lost. 
Imagine that your work is a little boat that you shove onto an ocean. You let it go. Ignore any voice that belittles you. Shut the mouth of failure. Wrap up in a blanket of silence. This isn't a time to flood your mind with negative self-talk. This is the time to listen to what messages the universe sends. 
This is enforced time away from your work, not random hiding. It is a time of silence of the stars, of the sea, of the city, of the soul. In this silence, you will begin to hear voices speak. The voices will bring you new ideas, new directions, and new faces. You will collect these thoughts like sticks. Don't act on them. Collect.
Then will come the glorious day.  
The work will begin to burn. A spontaneous combustion of all the tinder you've filled your life with flares up. The bonfire roars to life. The work becomes relevant again, but better.
This is the artist's journey. Embrace it.
A doodle for you. 
A quote for your pocket. 
God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.Vance Havner

Sunday, December 04, 2016

You Are Worthy

Have you ever noticed that you've slid into negative self-talk. It's the bane of my existence. Here's the stupid voice inside my head. "I'm not very successful. I'm not doing a good job. My art isn't making me millions or even enough to by a soda, hence I'm worthless. I don't have an army of adoring fans hence my work is worthless."
Oh, it goes on and on. If my own voice isn't enough, I can add to it hundreds of voices that have had negative things to say about my work. From it's not distinctive enough, to it's mid-list derivative, or too similar to xyz, and more.  What is a poor artist supposed to do to find worth?
Here it is folks: I'm in control of my self-talk. No one else. I have to whisper over and over again. Worthy. Worthy. Worthy. I'm in control of my life. I have to choose to breathe and enjoy my art. Let the expression fill me to my pores.  It's also important that I drive defining myself.  
Here's the real deal self-talk. I'm as worthy as every star that shines. I chose not to repeat the bullies, enemies, and the jealous. Instead I embrace: WORTHY. 
I whisper to myself. I am worthy. My work is worthy. It is precious. I am part of the good guys.  I'm not searching for gifts. I am one of the gifts.  My days are set aside. I will give of my creative energy until my lungs give out and can't give any more. 
That stuff I'm whispering to myself is for you too. You are worthy. WORTHY.  That negative stuff is not the truth. Speak the truth, ye seekers of art and expression. Your imagination rattles the present reality and makes the next one possible.  Imagine, worthy ones
Here is a doodle. 

Here is a quote for your pocket. 
Instead of being concerned that you have no office, be concerned to think how you may fit yourself for office. Instead of being concerned that you are not known, seek to be worthy of being known. Confucius

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fickle Fame and the Reckless Artist

Fame is a fickle thing. I mean, writing your heart out is no guarantee for fortune or even a comfy chair. Fifty percent of all authors make less than $1000.00 per year. Only about 20 percent of authors make more than $20,000 per year, and J.K. Rowling is skewing the statistics with her 300 million per year.

Very few treasure art. We have no power to influence our success. If you were born into a non-artistic family your road is tougher. You are likely to suffer from mental illness. And, by the way, you make way less than a part-time employee at Mickey Ds. Here is another problem. You are a reckless soul and you love ugly. I mean it. Art is about the different. You want to say things that no one is saying, and, listen here, everyone wants to hear the same old stuff. You are just part of the din. The voices that are heard aren't always the best voices. It's a luck driven world.

Art is one Pandora's box of trouble for the creator. So why do it? Because there is hope down at the bottom of the art well. Art soothes the soul. It inspires the imagination. It fuels the future. It dazzles the mind. It makes us more. Cling to that when all the naysayers are wagging fingers at you.

Yes, I know it's a tough world for most artists. We are a rickety lot but wonderful too. Keep creating.

Here is a doodle of hope: 

Here is a quote for your pocket:

You may forget but let me tell you this: someone in some future time will think of us.

Want to support my efforts?  Check out this site.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Life is Necessary for Your Art To Thrive

If you live on this planet, you have suffered or will suffer. We are all fighting battles. It's part of being human. You must not begrudge life when it keeps you from your art. You must live to create art. LIFE is the great cauldron of art.  LIFE brings happiness, love, hope, but on the flipside, pain, distress, hardship--you need all to find your voice.  
There is a movement in this world of ultimate positivity. There are older movements of faith and friendship. I find being positive in the face of tragedy farcical. I go with the older movements when working through life. I turn to faith. I cast my burdens on the Lord and he sustains me. I find myself unmoved and able to travel on in the storms of life. That said, weathering storms takes time.  My pen goes down.  My poems stop.  
It's a frightening time. 
It is your job to feel. I encourage to perceive your deeply. Remember this awareness will inform your work when you are ready. These upheavals may change the direction of your work. You may leave many things undone to start something new. You may return to something you started in your 20s that you complete in your 50s.  You will return to your art. Give it time.  
Embrace the days given you. Live your life. Then create your art.  Every little thing will shine.  
A doodle for you: 

A quote for your pocket: 
I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more. Anne Frank


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Saturday, October 01, 2016

Moving Day!

Hi folks,

Seize the day is moving!  Please, if you want to just receive my blog through email, follow this link and click on my photo, then enter your email. Done. You may also follow my blog by following me on  Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter. 

A quote for your pocket.

Precisely one of the most gratifying results of intellectual evolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects. Nikolai Tesla

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Close to the Bone: KA

Hi, folks, I've been writing a series all about  a time in my twenties when I was part of religious cult. Last week I wrote a heart-breaking story from my past about G and his sad demise. This is my version of the Valley of Dry Bones from the Book of Ezekiel. I'm calling it Close to the Bone. This is the final in the series.

Toward the end of the dark days of the cult, I was failing around for purpose. A teacher from college, Dr. Van Riper, ran into me at the supermarket and demanded to know why I had three children instead of writing books for children. I had no answer. She'd told me what to do, and I'd ignored her.

I was slowly waking up in these days. God's chosen people were now looking like a bunch of uneducated country folk, plus a bunch of kids that had choked on embracing the future after college. That's when I saw the ad in the newspaper about some group called SCBWI.

Fellow-shipping outside the church was forbidden in a manipulative, oblique way, but this was business. I figured God would give me a pass. I remember heading to that first meeting and feeling so welcome. There were 8 or 9 women and they were so gracious and kind.  I remember the first conversation in a long time without having to say praise the Lord or how God was directing me every third word. I also remember KA. She was a real author and the leader of the SCBWI group. Her first picture book had come out but she talked to me like I was a colleague. Bam, I was in the inner circle.

I can not tell you  how much KA's leadership meant to me. I tried to keep secret from the church my fraternizing with the world.  KA was a Unitarian. That was something I was supposed to fear. Of course, by now, I understood that I was supposed to fear everything, and it was sort of ridiculous and tiring. KA believed in me as a creative person. She never let me feel like I was a little off with my long dresses and three kids in three years. She accepted me just as I was. It was the most Christian thing I'd ever experienced.

I remember being invited to another SCBWI member's house called DC. I had friends outside the church for the first time in almost eight years.  I was hanging out with a group of women, totally normal women with varied backgrounds. It was sort of dizzying. I was supposed to have left the world behind, but now I sneaking back into it. Oh, and the big problem? I loved it.

SCBWI became an island of normal in my life. Like Phoenix, I was rising from my ashes. KA tried to convince me to go to Los Angeles for the annual conference. I chickened out, but her encouragement planted a seed in me.  KA convinced me to volunteer for events, write letters to editors, and even submit my drawings to the SCBWI Bulletin.  My first credit was as an illustrator in the Bulletin. I was so proud. I was engaged in the pursuit of liberty. I had expressed myself.  I made $50. It was mind-blowing.

When Tim and I decided to move away the place we had known such tragedy, KA continued to encourage me until I left town. I have no idea if she had any idea of how lost I was, and how much I needed help to become a normal person again. She never said anything when the sorry story of my entire life was reported in the local newspaper. KA encouraged me creatively, commenting on my work and giving me suggestions, and once she sent me a card stating there would be a day when she said she knew me when. She bridged the way for me to absolutely normal. I turned into the funky person I had been before all the religious nonsense. I came to my senses.

Well, this is end of these posts and also time for big news. My blog is moving over to  I hope you consider following me an my content there.  You will receive updates of posts if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or tumbler.

One of those early drawings. I sent to the Bulletin on a notepad paper, a big no-no. SM bought them anyway.

A quote for your pocket:

My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.

Ezekiel 37: 12b-14

Friday, September 16, 2016

Close to the Bone: G

The last two weeks, I've written of heart-breaking stories from my past, of lights-lost Barbara and Jan. I was part of a cult for almost eight years. There was something invincible about this cult's belief. The arrogance of believing that you cannot be wrong is like a kiln of heat for the bones. Dry, dry, bones. It leads to this kind of thinking: anyone in the Ship of Safety was free from Death, regardless of what they had done. Enter stage left, G, a close relative to my husband. G was intelligent, quick-witted, a doctor, he was also a drug addict and molester of children. He attended the cult with us sporadically.

My husband and I believed whole-heartedly that G was redeemable. With much repentance, G would receive forgiveness of sins and live an abundant life. We shared the good news with him again and again. My dear Tim believed that God would heal G's heart and set him right. G did not take the meds he needed for stability of mind. He refused them and instead chose to believe God for his healing. Tim and I supported this because the Brother had intimated many times that medicine was not God's way. On one hand we understood that G was dangerous, but we also believed that God had placed a hedge of safety around us and that God would heal G.

It was a couple of years after Barbara and Jan's death that the day of reckoning came. Tim and I continued to be part of the faithful, but the cult had almost crumbled apart by this time. People were bleeding out of the Ship of Safety except for me and Tim. We were still hoping that perhaps we could enter the INNER CIRCLE. Most people in that circle had left it. Only the Brother remained really. G had dropped off attending the cult and had returned to the narrow-minded faith communities he'd attended all his life. He'd been warped by the fear filled doctrines taught by these communities.

A stranger called Tim one day and asked if G had ever been involved in activities that hurt children. My husband began to investigate and found G was grooming a young boy for his purposes. (I am feeling sick again.) This seemed like the kind of thing you need wise counsel for. We called the Brother and explained the situation. The Brother offered his advice. Children should honor their parents. Tim should do nothing. 

I remember staring at Tim and he at me. Then he called the police. The next thing that happened was G called Tim and told him he was coming to kill him: I drove away with the kids, fearing for our lives, and didn't tell Tim where I was going. When we talked to the Brother about the situation, he poured on the innuendo, implications, and insinuation. I'm not sure the Brother even knew these words. He did not have much education. He did not know that indirectly intimating something actually counts as saying the thing. He did not know that this kind of stuff is the heart and soul of being an accuser.

G was caught on a nearby campus a gun-filled trunk. He had been driving through town shooting at houses. He was arrested but soon after released. Tim confronted G. G squirmed but had to admit what he had done. He was released to his home but lost his job, his house, and faced prison time for his violent actions. We went out to dinner with G one night, days before he was to lose his house. It was a fun night against all odds. G was oddly happy. Tim and I were ever believing, God could redeem anything, even this new wave of sins. We were grateful to see a turn.

A day or so later Tim and I both had a terrible feeling about G. Tim went over to G's house to talk to him. He was sitting in chair where he had committed suicide. He had left neat, organized notes of madness for Tim all over the house. I thought I had been going through the motions before this day. G's death was the end of many things. There was to be no Inner Circle for us, thank God. The cult dissolved. The Brother decided to move away, and Tim and I began the slow work of figuring out how to live, how to treasure our days, and how to love one another.

I'm not posting a doodle but a picture I love of Tim with our first son Jo back from those days.  My hero, best friend, and love.. 

Next week I'm going an upbeat story.  This one will be positive. It's funny, sweet, and miraculous and also one of the great moments of my life.  It happened during these dark days.   

Here is a quote for your pocket. 

Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Ezekiel 37: 11b-12

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Close to the Bone: Jan

Last week I wrote a heart-breaking story from my past, of a light lost, Barbara. I was part of a cult for almost eight years in my twenties. This is my version of the Valley of Dry Bones from the Book of Ezekiel. I'm calling it Close to the Bone

This week I'm going to write about one of my closest friends in the cult. She was one of the Sisters. Sister Jan. Jan and I were roommates for about two years. We shared a room in The Duplex. I had the bottom bunk. Jan had the top one. Jan loved to pray, and often times I fell asleep to her murmured prayers. My favorite Jan moment—I was a having a tough day and had gone into our room and locked the door. I was bawling. (Funny thing, I can't remember about what.) I just know I felt worthless. Jan sat on the other side of the door and spoke quietly to me. She assured me that whatever I was upset about wasn't important and that I was someone of worth who was going to do amazing things. She let me know that she would hold the true me in her heart until I was ready. She could see who I would be, so no worries about right now.

How precious is a friend like that?

So, let's wade into the deep waters. In this terrible, messed up cult, I met the love of my life, Tim, and married. He reluctantly joined the church. Jan was not so lucky in love. Remember, if you got out of the Ship of Safety, terrible things happened to you. We had to marry inside the church. The Brother assured us that we were safe in the flock, but outside, there was utter darkness. Only a very few would be saved, and all the rest of the church was lost. If you left the only true church, you could lose your salvation. Anyway, this basically set up most of us young girls for any kind of predator who was willing to go to the church. Jan married one. Days after her wedding, it was clear that she was in an abusive, hateful relationship. She left the predator and the Church. She would not be spoken of again. The Brother did not address the fact that we could be ripped to shreds inside the church as easily as in that terrible outer darkness. He did release Jan to outer darkness.

So Jan was outside the flock and in the outer darkness! She went home to her parents. (Uh, I totally noticed that inside the flock had been a horrible place for her.)  I could only imagine what Jan felt as she preceded to dissolve her relationship with the predator. I didn't ask her about it because you just didn't talk to someone outside the flock. She may have dragged me into the darkness. Jan came to my house one day to talk to me. She believed she had lost her salvation because she had to leave the church and divorce. (I am feeling sick writing this.) I didn't know what to say; maybe she was right. I said nothing. I hugged her and told her I loved her.

I prayed for her salvation every day after that. I saw her a few more times. Each time she came to see me, she was more haunted than the last.  I remember one day she came to visit me. I did the unthinkable. Finally, I went against all that I knew. I disobeyed. I told Jan God was happy for where she was. That he wanted her with her parents. That it was Okay with God and he wanted her to know he loved her just as much as he ever did.  We both knew my words were blasphemous.
She hugged me, but we both knew outside the flock was outer darkness. I even wondered if I was in outer darkness, too, because I so wanted to see Jan happy again I told her God was happy with her.  When alone, I also shouted at God for being unhappy with Jan when he should be happy.   

After that, I saw Jan a few more times. Each time she'd grown more haunted, more upset.
Months later, after Barbara's death, I was praying for Jan. I had not heard from Jan in a while. My babies were asleep, and I was hanging out clothes on the line. I prayed for Jan. I remember falling to my knees praying for her. It was soon after that I learned that she had gotten out of her car and jumped off a high bridge into the turbid water below. Part of me is always flying off that bridge with her. I can feel her body as it's crushed against the water. I'm with her as water fills her lungs, and she never breathes again. 

I did not go to Jan's funeral. I didn't say goodbye. Dry bones. Dry, dry bones. I think I sort of lost my mind some after this. I did my work, but I didn't think. I went through the motions of living. There was no counselling. No comforting. Everything became an endless grind of church services, diapers, cleaning house, playing with my children, prayer, even sex was part of the grind. I retreated deep inside myself. I felt sadness. I felt pain. I felt grief. I just stopped feeling anything like love, happiness, or joy after Jan's death. It would be a few years before I did again.

I'd like to say this end, but there will be more next week. If you can bear it, come back.  

No doodle. Here is lovely Jan.

Here is a quote for you.

‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” Ezekiel 37: 9b

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Close to the Bone: Barbara

Hi, folks, this week I'm going to write my version of The Valley of Dry Bones in the first of a series called Close to the Bone.

When I was in my twenties, I joined a cult. It was a short-lived thing that was all about religious propaganda to control others. This propaganda was wrapped up in a big quilt called the ABSOLUTE TRUTH. Of course, there was a booming preacher (a modern day apostle) called Brother because we would not want to be too familiar. He had a direct line to God; everyone needed to hear his message to be part of the true church. He answered to no one but God.

Under his guidance, we learned important truths. Church had to be attended at least four times a week. Friends outside the Church weren't a good idea. Birth control wasn't a good idea. Sending your children to public school wasn't a good idea. God had big plans, and you needed to be in the Ship of Safety.  Demonic forces were roaming around out there that would take you down...Trying to live up to this holy propaganda was sort of like having all the flesh ripped from your body and leaving you as a pile of dry bones.

So I stuck to this mess for almost eight years. I never did leave; the cult imploded around me. I wish I had left, but I was shredded instead. There is nothing noble or redeeming about my story. Toward the end, my friend Barbara was losing weight. Too much. She was probably under a hundred pounds. I'd found it all. I had gained three children and seventy pounds in three and a half years. Barbara, like me, would give large chunks of her money to the church. We didn't need anything; God was on our side. I'd saved up some extra money from collecting aluminum cans (five dollars) and took the money over to her house to help her meet her rent.  I also wrote a little poem about how on the other side of life we would find peace. Barbara took the money. I hugged her and said goodbye.

A few hours later, I was at church when I was told Barbara drove her car onto a train track and stopped. Beautiful Barbara was crushed by a screaming train on her way to pay the rent. I cannot express the panic that I felt when I learned how she had died.  We were God's chosen people. Weren't we? I was numb and bleeding inside. I kept saying the same old religious propaganda but my belief in the ABSOLUTE TRUTH died with Barbara. I am crying while writing this. It was 25 years ago, but part of me always lives in that moment. My friend took her life and where was I?

I had my part in it. I'd tied myself in knots trying to support an unsupportable vision of God brought to me by an uneducated self-styled apostle who I should have declared as wrong.  Who knew there was so much power in just standing up and saying something is wrong? Everyone but me. Here is my message. If there is something you need to stand up for, please do. Please. Please. Please. Even if it sets the world on fire. I am standing here, handing you the torch.

Thanks for dropping by. I will continue with Close to the Bone.  I hope that my story will inform yours.

Instead of a doodle I'm posting a picture of Barbara.  A light lost.

Paraphrase from the book of Ezekiel 37: 2a-3:

I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. The Lord asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Teachers Who Helped: Believe in Your Students

Hi, folks, This is the last in my series of Teachers Who Helped.  Of course, I saved the best for last. In 1995, I moved to Kirkland, Washington. A friend of mine, Kathi Appelt, encouraged me that there was a vibrant group of writers in the Seattle area and recommended that I take a class on children's writing at the Bellevue Community College. Kathi said the teacher was considered very helpful.

I signed up for the class and met the teacher, Peggy King Anderson. (Those of my readers in the children's writing community are freaking out right now because I am dropping some names!)  Peggy is a teacher like no other I have ever known. She loves her students and her subject. She taught me that my best story is in my soul, curled up inside, and that it is destined to break out of its chrysalis and take flight. But the most important lessons I learned from Peggy were all about loving the journey of writing books, loving the people who write children's books, and actually letting the writing transform me, before it transforms anyone else.

Her Master Classes around her dining room table were magical. Bowls of popcorn, slices of apples, and generous heaps of conversation, I met Holly Cupala, Jolie Stekly, Meg Lippert, Allyson Schrier, Vijaya Bodach, and so many more in these classes. One thing was clear about Peggy: she nurtured excellence. Most writers entered her classes unpublished. Few stayed that way. Peggy encouraged me as a mom, as a wife, and as a student. She understood that people are complex and all the pieces of who you are inform your stories.  She taught me that in the midst of storms of life that writing is my safe place. She said, "Writing is saving you."

I'm a person of faith in Christ. With Peggy's gentle critique, I learned that there was a divine spark in in my work, something wholly outside me. Each book is lit by God and is part of a great fire of goodness. Faith is something beautiful that I share with Peggy. She taught me about holiness of my work, that it is important, and that children were hungry for my words. It is my sacred duty to make my words wonderful, to draw close to the bone, and reveal the hidden truth of the worth of every individual.

Finally, Peggy's belief in each and every one of her students buoys me. Do you have any idea how powerful the faith of a learned teacher is? Her unending encouragement lit a fire of encouragement in me that I try to pass it on. Peggy is no longer teaching classes to devote time her family. (Always keeping those priorities right.)  She does however continue to mentor. Check out the link to website above if you are interested.

My puny words are never going to reveal the total awesomeness of Peggy. If you read my post, and know Peggy, drop by her Facebook, and let her know what a difference she has made in your life. If not, thank the teachers who believed in you.

I hope you liked this series and will back with next week with a series I call Close to the Bone.

Here is a doodle for you.

Here is a quote for your pocket.

I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well. Alexander the Great, (His teacher, Aristotle, who was taught by Plato, who was taught by Sophocles.)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Teachers Who Helped: Challenge Your Students

Hi, folks, my senior year in college was a fun one for me. I switched my minor to English and took a full load of English courses.  I picked classes that I thought would be a snap.  My favorite was Children's Literature.  My professor was Dorothy Van Riper. This class changed the course of my life.

I took this class specifically because I believed it would be an easy A. I mean, I had read every book required for it more than once, and some I almost had memorized.  I loved the childhood classics. How hard could this be?  I've mentioned before that I was a poor student. In college, I was always the struggling one.  I had a hard time with the pace of the classes.  They were always too fast. I could keep up the pace for a month but then I would stumble fall behind and then choke on the dust.  I was a sub-par chemistry major trying to find my way.

My experience in Dr. Van Riper's class was trans-formative. For once, I was the racehorse. It turned out , the only thing I was really well prepared for was children's literature.  I didn't know this when I took this class. I was surprised when Dr. Van Riper would ask me questions (even when I didn't raise my hand.)  Her class was my first and perhaps only experience in college that wasn't like school. We would argue about the meaning layered in books, we'd marvel at the marriage between text and art, and we'd discuss the future of children's books. It felt like a conversation between professionals. I couldn't wait to go to the next class. I felt like parched land that finally had received a renewing rain.

About halfway through the class Dr. Van Riper invited me to her office hours.  When I got there, she handed me a stack of books on children's writing: Lee Wyndham's book Writing for Children and Teenagers and several others. I had no idea why she was giving these books to me but I read them dutifully. It was like someone raised the curtain on the Wizard, and I was getting a look at the secret workings.

I continued with class. I'd write notes before I got there. Dr. Van Riper would argue with me. I would argue back. We picked apart  Katherine Paterson's OF NIGHTINGALE'S WHO WEEP and THE BRIDGE OVER TERABITHIA. We reveled in A WRINKLE IN TIME.  She introduced me to the wonder of picture books again. I got a big crush on Peter Spier's work.  We reveled in the magical realism of THE SECRET GARDEN. These are stand-outs of  probably over a hundred books.

I'm afraid all the education majors were lost in the dust of our arguments.  Dr. Van Riper would read my papers to the class. I think she read them all.  She gave me stacks of extra books. It was awesome, beyond awesome. I excelled on every test.  You know, excelling does things to you. GOOD THINGS.

When the semester came to a close, I was freaked out when Dr. Van Riper gave me an F in her class.  I stormed the gates of her office and she laughed at me.  She'd given me an F because she wanted to encourage me to become a children's writer. Wow. Her insistence changed the direction of my life.

It took me a few years to get my head around the idea, but I did. And here I am at 30+ books and counting.

So, teachers, you may have to give an F to get your message across.  You are awesome! Teachers can see things that no test can.  I celebrate their magic! I will be back next week with the last in this series.

Here is a doodle for you.

A quote for your pocket.
You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself. Galileo Galilei

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Teachers Who Helped: A Writer's Perspective

Hi, folks! School is about to start in Texas, and that makes me think of all the wonderful teachers who have transformed my life.  I had several standout college professors. Pat Flynn was one of my favorites. He taught me freshman calculus. I was the clueless one when it came to math, but Pat was a teacher within infinite patience.

I remember my first day in class, and Pat wrote something on the board in a foreign math script. He began throwing out words like integral, derivative, differential, infinitesimals, and convergence. My poor brain.  I dutifully wrote down the words and definitions, but inside I knew I was in real trouble. Pat had listed office hours on his syllabus, and I headed over the very first day.

I sat down in front of him with tears in my eyes and told him I didn't understand anything that he said. Pat slid a box of tissue to me and began to explain the problems he discussed in class.  He asked me to work on a problem.  I tried to do it. When I was totally flustered, he asked me if I even knew how to add and subtract.  I remember blushing and answering honestly, "Not really."

His eyes widened and soon he knew the terrible truth. I did not know arithmetic, algebra, geometry, or trig. When I left my rather stunned teacher, I began practicing adding and multiplying. I was in a jazzed mood. All I had to do was learn a bunch of basic math and I would be on my way to understanding calculus.

I showed up for every class. I went to every office hour. Pat found an algebra, geometry and a trig book for me. I work problems sets in each one everyday. After a while, Pat cleared off a desk in his office so I would have a place to work. After a month of grueling work, I still didn't really understand calculus. My first test had been a fat F and so had been my second one.  I didn't give up though.

I kept working. Toward the end of the semester light began to dawn in my noggin.  I had gained the basic tools of math, and I was finally moving forward with calculus.  Pat worked problem after problem for me, again and again, while I watched.  Week after week.  One day toward the end of the semester, I asked him why did he put up with me because there was no way I was going to pass his class.

His eyebrow quirked up and he told me, "Oh, you are going to pass."

I jerked in surprise.

"You have showed up for every class, every office hour. You have worked every problem set. You've never skipped anything.  I have never seen this kind of worth ethic in a student. I know I didn't have it when I was your age."

"But I failed the tests."

"Some things are more important than tests." Pat said.

To this day I love math. I'm fluent in the language of mathematics.  Imagine if Pat had cared about the tests?  I live in a world that has decided the test is the way to know how the student is doing. To me, this an epic fail. A good teacher's F student is successful.  We want educated people not good statistics. We want students who love subjects and show up every day excited about learning. A good teacher makes that possible.

Hug a teacher today. Thank them for what they do. If you are a teacher, you are one of my heroes.  I wish the Internet were full of stories about teachers instead of celebrities.

Here is a doodle. This is the cover art for the upcoming TEENSPublish anthology!  This is a silhouette of each of the participants. Also note my book PLUMB CRAZY is on sale for my birthday month: 99 cents.  Here is the Kindle link.

Here is a quote for your pocket.
Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people. Socrates

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Teachers Who Helped: A Writer's Perspective

Hi folks, school is about to start, and I am thinking about all the wonderful teachers in my life.

As a teen, I was a small town country girl with big dreams. I lived 45 minutes outside of one of the biggest cities in the United States, Houston, TX, but that drive might has been as far away as the moon. When I walked to the bus stop, I stared at a cornfield.

My favorite teacher in high school was Mrs. Baugh.  She taught drama, speech, and English, my all time favorite subjects at Waller High School.

In a school world that expected me to do nothing (I was a less than stellar student), Mrs. Baugh expected everything. She always told me I was a surprise. She said she saw a tenacity in me that she'd never seen in a student before.

One of my favorite moments was when I had returned from a speech tournament with an oration that she had given me a D on. I had won first prize at the tournament, and I was waving my little speech under her nose.

"YOU failed me when I turned this in!" I said.

She looked at me over her glasses. "Whatever is in your hand does not resemble what you turned in to me. That was a first draft, but I knew you'd eventually get it figured out. You always keep at it."

What she said was true. I was a strange student.  If I failed a paper (I failed many), and I was unhappy about that, I would keep working until I was satisfied.  Long after we moved on in class, I would still wrestle failed  papers. I could never work fast enough in school, but given time, I could do good work.

Mrs. Baugh understood this about me and encouraged me at every turn.  She is the first teacher who believed in me.  I am still writing today.  Her belief is still with me.  I also know that my need to make it better will eventually lead to my best work.

Yay, for good teachers.  I hope you all have the best year ever.

I hope you take time to appreciate the teachers in your life and the gifts they have given you.  I will be back with more this month.

Here is a doodle.

Here is a quote.

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. Carl Jung

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Creativity and the Current Temp: 107F and 42C

Hi, folks. Yes, the temp is out of control now. I am hunkered down in the air conditioning. My summer publishing program for teens, TEENSPublish, has come to end. It is tough to say goodbye. We laughed, ate Skittles and wrote reams. Good times.  

So talking about the heat, did you know that high temps lead to more aggression? All that energy is best channeled into your dreams and aspirations. That has been my goal this week. I haven't written many words but I have been doing the hard work of thinking about what I should do next.  This is a secret, no one tells you at first. Much writing is done off the page.

Many ways exist to beat the heat. One is to find water. I went to the beach. I love to jump waves and soak in the rays.  My bones feel better. My muscles feel better. My favorite sight: dolphins jumping in front of the wake of a boat. Embracing the heat is one way to beat heat exhaustion.

Think about this. The heat brings gifts. Summer rains pour down as the temps rise. Every afternoon. It's tropical here, and the rain is torrential. The feeling of pounding rain is better than any massage. My senses tingle with so much input. Creativity is bubbling.

Hence, the writing is swirling to the surface. I know last week, I was pretty down, but all the encouraging words have helped, and I am rising. Cling to hope, friends. It anchors your soul.

I will be back next week with a series I am calling School Days.  These are moments in my educational journey that have changed everything.

Here is a doodle for you:

And a quote for your pocket.

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
Langston Hughes

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Creativity and the Current Temp: 105F and 40C

Hi, folks. We have hit the high temps of the summer. The next four weeks are going to be brutal. It is so hot outside I can feel the wall of heat pushing into the house.

I'm struggling as a creative person right now. When the temp goes up, so does the pressure in a closed system.

I am feeling the pressure, and I think I'm cracking.

I thought I could do this story thing. I thought I could be an author, but it looks like that is not in the cards for me. I got another rejection with glowing praise for my writing followed by sizzling barbs about my inability to tell a story. My plot is just not, in the publishing professional's opinion, you know, worth a hill of beans. Not news to me.

I keep hoping that I might gain wings and take to the sky in a beautiful way, but I am a ridiculous caterpillar who sprouted tiny wings that will never lift anything. Dang.

My big problem? I can't imagine not writing, but I find my publishing career has crashed. I'm sifting through the wreckage. I know I sound depressed, and you're right. I've had major depression for a while. I'm getting help, but it looks like this is the new normal. Here is the question that haunts me. Why did I ever think I could capture an audience? I've never been the star of the show. I'm a little worker bee. Not the type who receives fanfare.

The worker bee is tired. Persistence makes sense to me, but whatever I'm doing is more of an epic delusion. The doors of publishing have been closed to me for several years. I've tried to reinvent myself through self-publishing.  CHICKENS DON'T TAKE OVER HALLOWEEN was a fun experience but it didn't lead me toward my goal.

So what am I seeking?

I'd like to be in a place where I turn out a book a year to a group of happy fans who buy enough books that I don't have to score essays anymore. I'd like to have few (4 or 5) speaking gigs in the spring and the fall. I'd like to be paid to do the work with teens that I do.  Modest goals and yet they might as well be Everest.

To end, I have a request. I rarely ask this, but all my friends who read this blog, send up prayers and thoughts that I could become untangled about my creative life.

I hope that you find creative vision.  I hope you keep working under pressure despite the heat.

I will be back next week with more of my rambling.

Here is a doodle.

"For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not." Cat Stevens

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Creativity and the Current Temp: 103F and 39C

Yes, it is so hot. My creative juice has evaporated. I keep getting heat exhaustion and then snooze. I have heat headaches and then snooze. I have hot flashes during the heat and then, you guessed it, snooze. Thankfully, I have not internally combusted from the heat yet, but I have come close. So close.

Heat makes for short tempers. Heat makes for grumpiness. Heat drains your energy. Heat puts my brain in park.  What do I do?  Read. I find that no mental state ruins reading. Daydream. Nothing like kicking back with some fresh iced limeade and following the white rabbit. Nap. Napping sends invisible chills into the creative soul. Take one ASAP!

Next, heat and moisture leads to violent storms. I had a big set back a few weeks ago. My work in progress manuscript was corrupted during and electrical storm, and now I have to redo the work for a whole month. Ugh. I do not want to do this. I just want the magic to return to me. But that is wishful thinking. I must press on and do the work again. All cheering is welcome.

Last: hiding from the heat. Today I went to see Wicked at the Hobby Center in Houston. What a great show! Nothing like being blown away from an excellent re-imagining of the story of the Wizard of OZ. Expose yourself to art when the creativity is ebbing.  Let art sink into you.  Listen to the music, Stare at the sculptures. Fill yourself with culture. Reread a master classic as a challenge.  Recharge those heat drained cells. Beat back the heat.

I hope my little wrestle with heat is helping you find your creative bones. I will be back next week with more creativity and the current heat.

Here is a doodle for you.

Here is a doodle for your pocket:

You've done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.
Ralph Marston

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Creativity and the Current Temp: 102F or 39C

Hi, folks: Yes, it is hot. You get the vision. Eggs fry on pavement. Brownies bake in cars. Heatstroke is a real problem. So how is my creativity? Except for the heat headaches, good. I have a mild one right now. Boo. 

Regardless of the heat, you can be creative. Here are three little suggestions that might help you beat the heat. 

Call an old friend in the hot part of the day. I had an excellent conversation with the brilliant Chris Eboch (aka Kris Bock) today. She is a treasure for sure. Chris certainly has taught me about the value of working hard, keeping calm, and not giving up. She is facing tough times right now and with typical graciousness. I hope that we all seek to face the storms of life with graciousness. Good stuff for the creative journey.  

Shut off the feeds. Did you know computers give off heat and so do angry statements? I've had to avoid the feeds for the past few days. Many people are angry. I'm the kind of person who feels it for every side. When the sides get crazy polar, I just feel crazy. I have to turn off all the voices and listen to the cool one within. Where is the common ground? On my walk this morning I found that ground once again. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is humble. It isn't prideful. It never fails. Love somebody, folks! Love somebody that is tough for you to love. Try on someone else's shoes, not your own and see how walking goes. 

Avoid the heat. It is not good to boil the brain. Creativity works much better in the AC. Take walks in the early morning. Drink lots of iced tea.  Write in the hottest part of the day in a nice cool place.  Ah, isn't this a lesson for all of life?  Search out those still waters especially with everyone hot and bothered. That English saying: Keep calm and carry on, there is some truth there. Emotional storms are not sustainable and are rarely helpful. 

I hope you take these suggestions to heart. Beat the heat.  

Here is a doodle for you.  From my book CHICKEN'S DON'T TAKE OVER HALLOWEEN. $7.99 on Amazon.  A sequel is in the works Chicken Lovers.  Don't freak out!

Here is a quote for your pocket from the musical Godspell. 

To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly

Robin Lamont

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Creativity and the Current Temp: 102F and 39C.

Hi, folks, I live in Texas and we have moved from reasonably tolerable heat to I wake at 6:30 a.m. every morning to go walking to walk in the coolest part of the day. This morning I almost threw up from the heat at 7:00 a.m.  With the heat index (this a mysterious number that makes hot as hell feel hotter than hell), it felt like a 109F out there. This month I'm going to write about creativity and the current temp.

Heat zaps creative energy out of me. I want to go to some place shady and float in water. I want sno-cones. I want a arctic breeze. Heat makes me grumpy. It must be endured. So here is my plan to work around the weather. I get up early. I stay up late. I take an afternoon nap in the day. I huddle under the air conditioning. I don't linger outside after 10 a.m. unless I'm at the pool. What about my creative bones? What are they doing during this watch the weather or die time?

My creative bones give me permission. It's okay to hibernate in the heat. It's okay to not do as much as usual. It's okay to daydream. So the lesson of the current temp?  Work when you can and take frequent breaks when the weather is challenging. (Heat or hard times.) Hydrate. (Read books.) Rest. (Read books.) This slower pace will help you burst with energy when seasons change. Embrace it.

I hope that you come back next week as the heat is rising, and I offer ways to keep creativity alive.

Here is a doodle for you:

Jupiter, a world far larger than Earth, is so warm that it currently radiates more internal heat than it receives from the Sun. Seth Shostackl

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Heart and Soul of Story: Joy

Hi, folks, I'm continuing my series on the heart and soul of story.  This week I'm going to chat about how joy fuels the heart and soul of story.  To me, joy is much deeper than a feeling of happiness, though it is that. Over the years, a state of mind has developed within me as I write and draw. It's resistant to the storms of life, like I've been surrounded by a giant levee keeps me from ever being flooded with despair for too long. The drainage is good. Flood waters recede quickly and all the buildings are sturdy and stay put in catastrophe. I might weep for a night about another rejection, but then I wake the next morning ready to work again.

Every time I learn a new skill as a writer, or overcome a plot problem, or unlock a new character trait as I am creating, I feel a surge of joy.  After writing for so long, I feel like I've turned toward the true north of my creative heart.  I've settled on my journey, finding confidence and hope.  Where is all the joy coming from? The saver of souls for me. The world seems so unsettled these days. Fear sends folks skittering one way and then another. We are inundated by floods of information in this age of information. And yet we can find shelter in this flood. We can connect with joy and write stories that make a difference.

Here is my little recipe into that joy. Work even when you are hoping against hope. Work even if there are voices real and imagined  telling you writing is a waste of time. Resist the desire to write about the "hot topics" and write about what is bright and beautiful to you.  Write about what is great and strong to you. Be fearless. Open yourself up to learn from all the people in your in life, especially the people who rub you the wrong way.  When you do these things, you will be surprised by joy. Truth: that joy that comes to you, that joy is your strength. Let it permeate everything you do.

I hope you come back next week as a start a new series. I am so glad you have dropped by.

Here is a doodle for you.

I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do. Arabella Katherine Hankey

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Heart and Soul of Story: Grateful

Hi, folks. I'm continuing my Heart and Soul series.  I'm so busy right now that this will be a short post. I find being grateful helps me tap into the depth of stories. It's especially helpful to be grateful when I am not feeling it. Sometime I forget to grateful and my friends help. I'm deeply grateful for those who give me perspective. Recognizing that failure contributes to my success is one of the best things of all to be grateful for.

Is it taking you a long time to complete your novel, art, etc?  Writing a story is not a race.  Be grateful for the time it is taking you. So be grateful for the gift of creating art.  Be grateful for mistakes. Be grateful for the long and winding road to a complete work. Be grateful that you can share your story even if your work will touch one heart and that heart is yours. One heart can be a very big deal.

Gratefulness in you will infuse your story with strength and power.  You will take the risks your need to. You will dig into things that you must. Gratefulness will give you the fortitude to complete your journey.  I hope that you are grateful this week and let those good thoughts guide you on your way.
I will be back next week with more of this story.

Here is a doodle.

A quote for your pocket.

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years...Emerson

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Heart and Soul of Story: Survival

Hi, folks,

Finding the heart and soul of your story is no easy journey. Last week, I tossed the Monomyth your way. An ancient path is truly a wonderful way into your story. Learning about the theory behind story will help you understand what you are trying to do.

This week I've been crazy busy. The day job, B-fest, TEENS PublishQueryKombat, the demise of my fridge, and now apparently, my stomach is not a happy camper, so this week is about survival and the heart and soul of story.

One reason we love books is what they make us feel. Every book has an emotional journey. An this is an important part of your story. I'm not talking about the emotional journey of your characters, but of your readers. I'm going to get science-y here. Emotion is a survival mechanism to meet survival needs. Good writing is going to throttle readers in a useful way. Lots of my writer friends have made me feel uncomfortable (Ha,ha, if you are a writer, I just think you are my friend.) They write about stuff that is foreign to my experience, but their books make me more.

Here is some serious stuff. Children's fiction is out there to help youth survive.

Children's authors know if the right book is not put in the right hands, well, that child might not survive the degradation, confusion, and hate that is trying to rip him or her apart. Noble stuff. Yes, I love you, my peeps, I love that you are trying evoke the necessary emotions to make this life a more accepting and tolerant journey.

Play the heartstrings. Let those kids know that they are not alone. Rock the boat, shake the ground, or shift the paradigm.  Don't stop.  I will be next week with more heart and soul of story.

Here is a doodle.

Here is a quote for your pocket.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. John F. Kennedy

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Heart and Soul of Story: Monomyth

Hi, folks, this summer I am coaching TEENS Publish at Ringer Library in College Station, Texas. And in conjunction with that class, I'm going to write about the heart and soul of story over here at the blog. This week I will focus on my understanding of the monomyth, which is part of depths of story.

The monomyth also know as the hero's journey is all about a hero who goes on an adventure, and in an-end-all-the-battle crisis defeats a malevolent power. The hero returns home but as a new person, forever changed by the journey, Old things have passed away for the hero and all things have become new.

Why is mankind chasing down this hero? Why do we focus so much of ourselves on the this journey in books, films, TV shows, campfires--wherever stories are told? Life is tough and full of vast contradictions. Every generation wants to make its mark, and it also wants to make sense of their world in way no previous generation has. But a few see a troubling a pattern.

A few folks have noticed that mankind tends to make the same mistakes over and over. There is a heart's cry in these few for the madness to stop. Hence the obsession with the hero's journey. Perhaps following  the ancient path of story will make us recognize our present state and try to be more. Perhaps a story will offer each person what he or she needs to change the direction of a 1000 generations of their family for better. 

The choices we make are important. Learn of the choices that lead us all to higher more spiritual plane. This is work of the monomyth. This is what I understand so far on my journey. I will be back next week with more Heart and Soul.

I am glad you came by!  Thanks!  

Here is a doodle for you: Pug.  

I hope you place this excellent quote in your back pocket.

“Not all who hesitate are lost. The psyche has many secrets in reserve. And these are not disclosed unless required.”
― Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bloom: You Were Born to Bloom

Hi, folks! Today is my twenty-eighth wedding anniversary with the sweetest man ever, Tim Blaisdell. He is also a blogger and writes over at THE MUSINGS OF A MEANDERING MIND.  I also am in a entrant in QUERY KOMBAT. Queries are selected by judges and they go head to head in a VOICE-esque contest. Only one query moves to next level. I'm Southern Gothic Secrets and my critique partner Ellen is Mochi Monster!

What do we win? Twenty-eight agents and editors will be looking at the queries with the possibility of landing an agent or even a contract. Did you notice 28 and 28? Feels very portent-y to me!

This week I'm writing about a deep truth. We are all born to bloom. A dear friend facing who suffers from a cancer syndrome hugged me and whispered, "I want to bloom but I feel like I'm falling apart."

I hugged her back because I know what it is like to be broken on a genetic level. Some things don't need words. What we can do is focus on the splendor of now.  Blooming does not come from us but creator of all things.

I grew up with a plant-loving mom, and she surrounded my life with flowers. So this week, I'm going to share about unusual blooms that I have seen in my life. I love flowers and I pay attention. I hope you will take lessons from these blooms and realize that you are stronger than you know.

A half-of a daffodil  bloomed in my mother's yard once. It was the most beautiful thing. A genetic anomaly but more beautiful because of it was unique.

One time there was a sad rhody in my yard that was covered with some kind of leaf disease. I had to hack away more than half of the plant. The next year the rhody bloomed with almost a hundred gorgeous blood-red blooms that took my breath away. It had never bloomed before.

Once my mom stopped the car beside the road and made me get out and look at this field of spiky plants with these gorgeous white blooms on tall spears. She told me to soak it in because these were century plants and this might not happen again in my lifetime.

I planted a cemetery rose in my backyard from a cutting that was about two inches long.  This year rose is the size of a small car and it has had hundreds of blooms.

So this week, I was blessed by this: my daylilies bloomed during the 8 inches of rain that fell on my house this week in 24 hours. The splash of color on such a dreary day uplifted my heart. Bloom during the flood!

Maybe one of these blooms speaks to you. Just like you were born to share, to be merciful, to smile, and to love, you were born to bloom. Seize every day.

I will be back next week with a new series about the Monomyth. I hope you will join me.

Here is a doodle:

Here is a quote for your pocket:

Why should I be unhappy? Every parcel of my being is in full bloom. Rumi

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bloom: Bloom Where You Are Planted

Hi, folks! I'm continuing my Bloom series for the month of May.  There is nothing more heartening to me than a flower blooming in the crack in the sidewalk, the crevice of a mountain, or on a cliff face by the sea. Another surprise is a bloom in the desert place. There is no circumstance than can hold back a bloom. You must bloom where you are planted. This is your purpose. Life finds a way.

"Bloom where you are planted" is a quote attributed to St. Francis De Sales, the patron saint of writers. This is a little quote I whisper to myself often. It is a story of tenacity and one I am close to. Flowers that bloom in impossible places are the heart of tenacity. They put down roots in rocks. They cling to life when there is little chance of life. They bloom even if that bloom is stunted and its flower is deformed. Writers have a similar tenacity to bloom. I am no exception.

How does a writer bloom where they are planted? You may live on the backside of nowhere, i.e. suburbia.  You may work a mind numbing job that is mocked on national TV.  You may be over the age of 50. You may have family members with complex health issues and you care for them. You may suffer from depression during this same time.You may have received more writing rejections at this point than you considered was humanly possible. At the end of the day, it's tough to stay alive in a place like this this, much less bloom.

So how do you do it? How do you bloom?  Here some of the answers: live in this moment. Don't think about the road that brought you here. Don't think of the road that will take you on. Be here and now and exist. Place your baggage down and move on. Don't refuse to forgive yourself and others. Move on with your life. Stop the foolishness. It is time to let all that stuff go. Focus of all the good you know, have known and hope to know. Believe that you will  rise above the waves that wish to beat you down. Work when you are too tired. Be positive even if the waves crash over you.  Be positive if you are washed out to sea and must swim back to shore. Believe that your gifts will make a place for you. Never stop trying. Do these things and you find yourself blooming in some odd places and at some odd times.

Life is tenacious. Whatever you facing, don't let it choke you. Bloom.

I'm glad you dropped by!  Come back next week for the end of the Bloom series.

Here is a doodle for you. Cemetery Roses.

Here is a quote for your pocket:

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.
St Francis De Sales