Craft Me This …


I have to say one thing about a creative person — when they get in their “supplies” element, they are like a kid on sugar with a kicker of Mountain Dew. 

People ask us why we like to sit and sew beads on clothes or make little earrings or crochet row after row after row of rows or write boring scenery descriptions or woodwork a cigar box or coffee table. After all, it all seems so boring!

I wonder if these people have truly ever seen creativity let loose in a craft or other specialty store.

I just spent the day with two of my best friends hitting stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s and even Good Will. Talk about kids in a candy shop!

I myself am the novice of the group. I write, and also sew bling onto my t-shirts and other inanimate clothing. My other friends are marvelous crafters. One is big BIG into scrap-booking with an occasional crocheted blanket thrown in; the other sews jackets and crochets scarves and other things. One love LOVES paper and trim and little signs you past onto pages and patterned paper for special occasion pages. The other loves every color of yarn there is, along with long, lingering tippy finger tip touching of bolts and bolts of materials with quilts and little jackets in mind for her granddaughter. 

Me? I get brain freeze in the beads aisle. 

The point is, it’s easy to see why creative people love their craft. When in their element, when surrounded by people who understand why they stand in front of a rack of crystals-on-a-string for 10 minutes wondering what they could sew those onto, creative people leave this universe and enter an alternate reality.

In that alternate world they are Master Creators. They can make anything any time, any where, and it will be so magnificent even the angels will squint and say “holy moley!” Time has no meaning in a creative person’s alternate world; when you’re lost writing that perfect passage of love and passion or pensive thought, there is no time sheet. Love takes as long as it takes to write. No more, no less. 

As I’ve gotten older I’ve started surrounding myself with creative people. Not because I’ve changed friends — but because I’ve found out the people I’ve been around for a good chunk of my life are pretty creative on the side. I know painters, quilters, writers, lure makers, poets, wood carvers, fishermen, wood workers, sign makers, dog trainers, and more. Every one loves their craft. Every one of them strive to be better than they were yesterday. And aren’t we all like that in a way?

So some time when you’re bored, ask your neighbor or friend or co-worker what their creative craft is. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

And if you’re lucky, one day you will be wandering up and down the craft store aisle when a sticker or pearl bead or a piece of wood catches your eye.  Then we will be wandering through the store looking for you, calling out your name.

Holey Moley!

Let’s Fly Together!

Sometimes, when I get in that groove, that unusual, special groove that you can’t always find, I feel like I’m flying. I know it won’t last long, and that it will come again, but it definitely is a change of heart, a change of dimension.

I get going … for me it’s writing … and all I want to do is keep going. Writing.

And I find I want everyone else to keep going too.

So here I am with my Monday Morning Pep Talk. MMPT. How goofy. But it’s how I feel.

Are you stuck in your writing? Wondering what to write? To paint? Poetry stuck in your throat?

Come and share those hesitations with me. If I can, I’ll work with you and give you ideas from the faerie gypsy goddess’s point of view.

Just what you need. I know.

But I know how good it feels to break through those barriers. I’m breaking through them all the time.

This isn’t a class, this isn’t an advice column. It’s not a solution nor is it me trying to be you. It’s me trying to help you FIND you. To nudge you into getting started again.

Ask me a question, throw some ideas my way — let me know what you do and where you want to go. Vent, wonder, share, throw some of your solutions out there too. I follow a lot of creative people, so I’m sure if you’re stuck, they may have been stuck, too, and have a solution.

Share your ups and downs, and let’s go down this path together. There’s so much in the world waiting to be created!

 

I Am Creativity

Just had our best friends over for dinner. Greek night. A time of good food, good times.

We talked a little about what we’re up to in our personal life. I told my friends I just wrote a ditty on the fly to remind myself that I am still a writer.

Do you ever take a break and then hesitate?

I have spent a lot of time lately final editing what I’ve written so I can print it out and share it with my friends.

I’ve also spent a lot of time collecting art for my Sunday Evening Art Gallery. I have found so many new artists, I am knocked off my feet.

But I’m a writer first. At least here on my sofa, in front of the TV.

Do you ever have to fly off and do something quick to reassure yourself you are what you are?

How funny the human ego is.

What is a writer? A painter? A calligrapher?

Just because you spend your spare time doing anything creative, does it make you what you think you are? Are you an artist just because you wield a paint brush? Are you a writer, even if you only write email copy?

I have learned you are whatever you call yourself. The world does not care for your title. Maybe  corporate America puts a value on what your company has called you. But in the scope of life, no one cares.

That’s why it’s important to call yourself what you are. And not be intimidated by your title.

Do you paint? Do you spend your spare time crocheting or scrapbooking or quilting? Do you scour the Internet for ideas for your art gallery or ceramic blog or your instructional video?

Look.

The world will go on whatever your call yourself. So find a title that fits your soul. Own it.

I am a writer. I may only write a couple of lines for email copy at work, but I am a writer. It doesn’t matter if I’ve written poetry or short stories or full length novels. I have written and preserved copy that can be passed on to generations. 

That’s all that matters.

Follow your calling and shout your “title” loud and clear.

No one will respect you until you respect yourself.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Snowglobes

Erwin Perzy, a surgical instruments mechanic, accidentally created the first snow globe in 1900 as a result of an experiment to try to improve the brightness of the newly invented – and then not very bright – electric light bulb.

He was inspired by the shoemakers of the time, who to get more light from a candle mounted a glass globe filled with water in front of the flame. This gave them a light spot the size of a hand.

One day he found a white powder, semolina, used for baby food.

And he poured it into the glass globe, and it got soaked by the water and floated very slowly to the base of the globe.

This effect reminded him of snowfall.

And this was the very first, the basic idea for inventing a snow globe.

Though Perzy—who patented his globe in 1900—didn’t invent the snow globe, he and his brother are responsible for catapulting the souvenir into the position of tchotchke primacy it holds today.

Seizing on the invention, the pair opened a shop, Original Wiener Schneekugel Manufaktur, in Vienna.

Today there are as many styles as fill the imagination.

 

What If…

What If

Those are the words of imagination. Of exploration, of conquering new worlds. Of trying a new style of clothing, car, or food.

What If

I suffer from a lot of What If. None of it destructive, mind you, although it does hit me when I’m driving to and from work a lot (it’s on an empty back road so don’t worry…I still pay attention..). What if I drove into the middle of that cornfield? What if I turned around and drove straight to the airport and bought a ticket to San Antonio? What if I looked up into the evening sky and saw a dragon flying across the horizon?

What If can be fun. They can be dangerous. 

But they also can be illuminating.

What If takes you out of your comfort zone. Out of your self-conscious ego and self-damaging thoughts. It takes you to worlds where hobbits talk with faeries and American spies get thrown into Russian prisons. It makes apples purple and skin scarlet.  

What If makes you think and daydream without getting hurt. What if there really was a zombie apocalypse? I mean what if zombies were trashing the city, town, closest to you? What would you do? Where would you go? What happens if zombies are everywhere? And you’re stuck in your house? How long would it take you to run out of food? Would you sacrifice your dog or cat so they would go away?

Or what if you were walking through the park on a summer evening and a gnome walked out of the bushes and stopped and looked at you on your path? Or if a faerie landed on your shoulder? I mean, really! What would you do? How would you react?

What If can obviously take you in dark places. What If you and your friend drove off the cliff like in Thelma and Louise? What if you drank a soda that turned out to be poison? What if you fell down the stairs and you weren’t near a phone and lived alone and no one ever came to visit you?

What Ifs are a creative person’s best friend. You can take funny, scary, wonderful thoughts and turn them into make believe. Like a painting. A painting of walking down the street of 1890’s Paris is all make believe. The painter never walked those streets, saw those streetlights, or said good evening to people walking past in hats and long dresses and suits.

But they did say…What If I were walking down the streets in 1890 Paris? What would I see? How would they be dressed? What would the stores look like? 

I  wrote two novels about What If. What If by some accident you woke up in 1880? You knew nothing about the times, the manners, the ambitions of the people you encounter. What would you do?

Keep those What Ifs going. Write them down, paint them, grow them. Let your imagination take you on a magic carpet ride.

Which leads to…what if there really was a magic carpet and you could sit and ride on it? Where would you go? Would it be windy? Could you fall off? Would you fly into birds and bugs and….

Who are you, really?

Thanksgiving is now a memory, the extra pounds an effort.

But I am happy to report that along with an extra pound or two I also regained my enthusiasm for writing.

Do you ever go through those dry periods? Not necessarily that you don’t have anything to write, but that you don’t feel like writing.

Shame.

In search of my creative ways, I have gone back to basics of magic and sky and moon and night and the belief in elves and dragons and alternate realities. Not that I ever left that space — I just feel like embracing it more these days. No one knows if there is anything after this life. Heaven, reincarnation, inner-galactic rebirth — take your choice and go for it.

Get past the barriers of proof and direct experience and karma. Take a chance and believe in something that makes you feel whole. Do unicorns exist? Does it matter? We can’t see sub-atomic particles either, but scientists and the world believe in them. Why can’t we believe in time travel too?

Too often we live under other’s expectations. What we should wear, what we should say, how we should act, what we should believe.

I believe at 64 I am old enough to believe in whatever I want.

So I’ve decided to work on my second set of novels — not the simple time-travel ones, but the ones where the heroine gets transported to another part of the galaxy to help discover what happened to the king’s sister.

I mean — why not?

We can write and paint and dream anything we want. And I’ve decided I’m not going to let any correctional unit tell me different.

Don’t let those around you, from society to your girlfriend to your teacher, tell you what you are. What you should be. Want to be a bard? Be a bard. Want to be a witch? Be a witch. Want to be an abstract artist? Be an abstract artist! You can be a pirate that day jobs as a sales clerk, or detective who works in a warehouse during main hours.

Don’t wait until you’re 64 to decide who you are.

What are you?

 

 

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 2

A number of you may know (and follow) my second creative friend. David Kanigan creates his blog Live and Learn with thoughts, quotes, research, and philosophy. I mean he’s amazing. I have no idea how he finds the quotes he does. All are thinkers and feelers. He is light and he is deep. I can see his feelings and thoughts through the pictures and stories he shares.

*   *   *   *   *   *    *    *    *

Lightly Child, Lightly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The love a parent feels for a child is strange…

It’s like trying to describe sand between your toes or snowflakes on your tongue to someone who’s lived their whole life in a dark room.

It sends the soul flying.

~ Fredrick Backman, from Beartown: A Novel (Atria Books; Tra edition, April 25, 2017)

Notes:

  • Photo: Kristy G. Photography (via Newthom)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Lightly Child, Lightly.

 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Ethereal and fun, I look forward to his writings every day. You will too.

Check out David at https://davidkanigan.com/.

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek – 1st Day

Roses are Red

Violets are Green

Writing and Painting

Is More Than A Dream!

 

This is a made-up celebration, of course — but is it?

We all are jealous of other’s creativity. In a sweet, supportive way, of course. As shown on my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog, I am always in awe of what magic comes from creative hands, minds, and souls.

I follow a number of poets, artists, sculptors, and everyday wise men and wise women, and am always in love with their offerings. So I am going to celebrate my friendly creative friends with my own #AppreciateYourCreativeFriends week! Check them out, follow follow follow (if it tickles your fancy), and have a great time doing it!

My Monday recommendation is Carsten Wieland, an amazing watercolor painter who lives in Essen, Germany. His site is full — and I mean full — of fantastic watercolor paintings. Houses, landscapes, weather — every post he shares is yet another glimpse into a very accurate eye and a very open palate.

Check out Carsten Wieland out at Brushpark/Watercolors. https://brushparkwatercolors.wordpress.com/. 

You check in, you may never want to check out!

 

 

How Do You Satisfy Your Creative Cravings?

I am of the belief that writing is as much fun as painting or photography or sculpture or any other Creative Art. Yes, it’s frustrating, time-consuming, methodical, stressful, and more.

It’s also inspirational, spiritual, cosmic, and thrilling.

My problem lately is that I’ve gotten in the driver’s seat of my fourth novel, and although I’ve worked out the story line and am loving writing about my space traveler, I miss writing a short story now and then. I have been perusing various contests and publication opportunities, and I find areas I’d love to try. This one wants a creature story. This one wants supernatural fiction. This one wants pirates and ghosts.

What fun! What adventure!  But what do I write about?

I think I hang out in novel land because the writing is long and real and I can keep the same idea throughout the pages. Short stories require separate thought, separate ideas. Unique ideas. And eventually my love of writing starts slipping on the confusing bed of ideas and plots and endings.

Do you hide in one genre over another? Do you have a desire to paint something totally different yet stay within your safe and more experienced area? Or draw something totally out of your comfort zone?

I have a folder of stories, some finished, some barely started. Few would fit into the guidelines I so fawningly follow. Most of my good pieces are written more on a whim of the moment — an impression on the drive home, an interlude between two or more people at the bus stop. My short stories are based on a bolt of lightning that directly hits me. It’s a lot harder if I’m out searching for that bolt.

I often encourage my blog readers to break through your self-imposed sanctions and to go for it. Reach for the sky — or dig deep into the cavern.

I still believe in that.

But I sometimes think it’s getting harder and harder to dig into that fertile creative ground and come up with something new. Something that will fit within someone else’s parameters.

How do you juggle all your cravings? Do you stick with what works or do you find time to experiment and go off in left field now and then? I’d love to know that there are other seasoned and non-seasoned writers who are as confused and excited as me.

Let’s see now…as the website says…think adventures and hauntings at sea, shipwrecks and buried treasure, treacherous waters, sea spirits, ghostly galleons, giant squid, kraken and sailors gone mad.

I can do that…can’t I?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Edgar Artis

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Edgar Artis is an Armenian fashion illustrator who is using everyday objects and paper cutouts in order to complete his beautiful drawings.

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He draws women and in dresses them in something from the real world.

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Edgar uses flowers, feathers, burnt paper, fruit and all sorts of other materials to make  beautiful dresses.

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His illustrations are full of grace, imagination, and playfulness.

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These are not just your average fashion designs, but real works of art.

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Edgar’s art makes you realize that anything in life can be modeled into a beautiful moment of art.

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You can find more of  Edgar Artis’s amazing creations at   https://www.instagram.com/edgar_artis/.

Don’t Let The Day Ruin Your Day

as-long-as-i-dont-write-about-the-government-religion-politics-and-other-institutions-i-am-free-to-print-anything-pierre-beaumarchaisIt is as if I am handling a puffer fish or prickly bush with my bare hands.

The world of politics is truly doing a whirling dervish these last few months. A lot of my friends are afraid, angry, embarrassed, and/or happy with the state of affairs.

This has led to very charged postings lately, both here and on Facebook and Twitter.

I am happy to live in a time and a world where I can express myself freely. That the Feds or the KGB don’t show up at my office or my house to have a “little talk.” But freedom of speech also can lead to heart attacks, headaches, palpatations, high blood pressure, dizzy spells, acid reflex, and a whole lotta other maladies.

And that’s what I fear will happen to all my friends and contacts if they don’t stop raging.

Let me make this perfectly clear — I AM concerned. I AM stressed. I AM worried. Every morning I drive to work and listen to the news I want to smack myself on the forehead and say “What NOW?” But I tend not to talk about it on social media.

I wonder if all this absorption into the ways of the world are preventing my friends from writing their blogs, poems, short stories, recipes, and whatever else. If it’s draining the desire of crocheters so that all they can do is one looonng doublestitch. If all painters want to do is whip paint at a canvas, ala Jackson Pollock.

I’m sure this madness is not limited to the U.S. I bet if I ask my Australian friends (waves to the few I know out there) or my blogger in Spain or the U.K. or in Germany (keeps waving) I’m sure their country is messed up too. Maybe not as obnoxiously, but just as particularly.

I’m not saying don’t get involved. I’m not saying don’t get emotional. We all need to have our voices heard.

What I am saying is we need to have our creative voices heard too. Don’t let the politics of the moment curb your appetite for self expression. Funnel your emotions into something other than — or besides — social media.

Use your passion to create something that will outlast the politics of the day.  Write something marvelous.Paint something inspiring. Play an instrument like an angel. Show the world you are better than the nonsense around you. 

Because you are.

 

 

 

 

2017 Starts With a Whisper

As I sit on my sofa this first day of 2017, smooth jazz in the background, dogs sleeping on their doggie beds (along with Tom the cat), I am surprised at the strange swirl of thoughts that have threaded through my brain the past few days.

Many are glad 2016 is over — a lot of stress and bad juju last year. Others are building on the positive bridge they started last year. A lot of different ways to go for this supposedly first-day-of-the-rest-of-my-life.

I’ve spent the last several days reading the blogs I subscribe to through WordPress. I feel bad I can’t read people’s thoughts and emotions the day they are published, but I make it a point to sometimes just sit and read. Not glaze through the posts, but really read them. And I found myself responding to quite a few of them.

Some pledge to write every day. One blogger just popped up after a six month absence. Some write poetry, some write tragedy. Some talk about cats, some talk about painting. It’s an amazing mix of talent, and I enjoy getting to know all of them.

I’ve learned to reply with questions if I don’t understand something, or comment that I can’t find the right words to comment. It’s all encompassing — there are bloggers that pop up every couple of months, and I find myself so excited to read something new. Others write every day, and I find myself looking forward to their next view of life. I even go back into the “manage” part of the Reader and click on names I haven’t seen in a while to see what I’ve missed.

This type of diligence makes me wonder about my own blogging. Why do I do it? Is it to achieve fame? Popularity? Do I write to test out my own verbal prowess? Do I do it to share my view of middle age and beyond?

I think we all go through identity crises … all the time. Rarely do I meet someone who has been whole from the very beginning and knows the cosmic truth of inner peace. We all look for approval. For validation. For the acknowledgement that we do exist. In all worlds. As an office worker, as a mother, as a friend — we all try to make the other person proud. We all want that “best of” medal to show that all our mistakes and missteps didn’t mean a thing, because we ultimately turned out to be the “best.”

We all may or may not have natural talent. Most of us just go through the daily grind of work and bills and driving through the snow, telling ourselves that tomorrow will be better.

Well, here it is, 2017. A new year. Is it better?

I hope I am hearing a “yes” from all of you. The more we learn, the more we grow. And the easier it is to circle back to our own soul for affirmation.

My daily job has…is…changing. I have been tapped to be a social media writer, which means that my rhetoric and vocabulary needs to be top notch. It’s a lot of work — much more than I thought. But it is also a chance to show that all my hours of writing blogs and novels and poetry and short stories has paid off.

Anybody can have big numbers of followers on their blog. I am still scraping off the notion that more is better. What is really important is how many people stop and say something afterwards. How many really get what you’re saying.

Take the time today to go into your Reader and read something you missed before. Take a minute to step into their world.

It will truly help you in your own creative journey.

Music Makes Magic

1451272484709104_animateI am not what most consider a music junkie, affectionado, expert, or addict.

I really do enjoy music, though.

I have a soft spot in my heart for banging old tyme rock and roll now and then. Give me Metallica, AC/DC, Motley Crue — any of those wild hair bands. Turn it up and shake the rafters…turn up the stereo and dance in front of the speakers.

I also am a whitebread, Midwestern suburban girl. My growing up years were safe and boring. The few licks of trouble I got into were pale in comparison with others I know. And have heard of. So my imagination has to take over for my lack of experience.

I know a lot of people LIVED the 60s and 70s — hung out, burned out, wilded out their youth, gaining experience and insight I will never be privy to. The high highs and low lows of “those days” are things movies are made of. Maybe that’s a good thing in some ways.

When I’m driving home, windows open, blasting “Sandman” from Metallica, I see dark rooms with strobe lights in the corner, scents of patchouli and garlic and illegal leaves swirling above me, heads banging to the beat, air guitars and beer bottle microphones, some band (I don’t know if its THE band) on a stage somewhere, salty with sweat and concentration, letting their souls mix with the beat of the music, crashing and burning and relighting again with the rhythm of the pounding music.

I don’t see needles and junkies and fights and blood. I don’t see people throwing up on themselves and the depths of depression that are liberated with the music. I don’t see black eyes and lost dreams and sliced wrists and empty bottles of Jack or Fleschman’s.

The same is true when I listen to classical music. The upbeat symphonies like Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake or Strauss’s Emperor’s Waltz, I blast at full-speed-ahead. I see picnics in the fields with women in long dresses and men in frocks and crystal wine glasses sparkling in the sunlight. I see gowns and tuxedos waltzing across an enormous ballroom dance floor, the dresses swishing with the rhythm of the music, their beadery reflecting the glint of chandeliers and candlelight.

I don’t see alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty. I don’t see filthy living conditions, barbaric medical treatments, consumption, or life before penicillin and electricity.

I’ve never been to either world. But I wonder. Does this one-way mirrored vision make me a weak writer? Someone who can’t write about those things because I haven’t experienced these things? Or does it make me a great writer, because I can dive into my own imagination and make the world surrounding the music whatever I want?

When I hear  a ballad or a rock jam I don’t think about serial killers or drug dealers. I think of my youth — the life I lived, the life I never lived. I can identify with the 60s and 70s and beyond because I made it through them. When I hear a waltz or symphony I think of days gone by, a simpler life, of history and time travel and a time when a night out was a buggy ride to town.

And that’s where the stories come from.

Let music inspire your creativity. Let it take you places you’ve been — and places you’ve never been.

Just don’t throw your back out doing the air guitar thing….

 

Roots vs. Vines

newplantThere are books upon books written about men brains vs female brains. How they are wired, how they work. How they process. This is not a blog to debate the validity of such — I am mere more to prove that such assumptions are more or less true.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about creativity. I suggested her boyfriend (a really talented graphic artist) start a website or blog with his art and photography. Show off his work. He joined our conversation, and said he shows his work off on Facebook. To his friends. He said setting up and keeping a site going was too much like work.

I was fine with that. But I had to laugh. Because that’s all I seem to think about. Not just the webpage part — the writing/art/decorating/creative part.

It was like earlier today I called home. Hubby was putting up new pantry and laundry room doors. Very sharp. Very nice. After 15 years of dogs and kids and cats and abuse it is nice to finally start remodeling my house. I started talking about a new wine rack and hanging a new picture I found and maybe a rug under the table and cleaning out the buffet and giving most of the glasses to Good Will and there was nothing but silence on the other end of the phone. I waited for a reaction and could have filed my nails within the time gap.

When we resumed the conversation my hubby said he hadn’t thought of all that. That some of those things weren’t on his top 10 list of things to do. He was back on the door-thing and the sanding-the ceiling-in-the-bedroom thing. The mowing-the-lawn-thing tomorrow. He was nowhere in the creative atmosphere of the decorating-thing or the making-the-dining-room-feel-like-an-Italian-veranda-thing. My mind was twisting and twirling up the wall like a runaway vine while his was forming strong, sturdy roots in the ground.

I don’t know if my creative tendencies are a good thing or a bad thing. Or if they are a “thing” at all. I know we all have a creative streak in us, but some are able to keep it in perspective. Most times I behave myself, but other times I’m off and running without a thought as to time or materials or the end result.

It’s like I finally know what I want and I don’t want to be talked out of it. My Sunday Evening Art blog, my middle-age madness blog, my writing female fantasy fiction time travel novels, all may seem runaway madness to some, but they are life affirming to me. Every time I get creative it’s like reaching up to the sun and getting high on Vitamin D.

I know that that’s just where I am in life right now. Other friends of mine are in the whenever-its-convenient time. Or after-I-take-care-of-other-things time. I’ve been through those phases too. I’ve been responsible all my life. Raising kids, working, making ends meet. I’ve not always had the time to hang with my Creative Muse.

But now I make time. And the pigheaded person in me wonders why everyone else doesn’t make time, too. When my piggy feet touch the ground again, I realize that everybody IS making time in their own way. Not everyone needs a website or needs to get published in order to let their creativity soar. Some do it by just doing it. Period.

But as for me — I am having fun with the pick-out-paint-to-edge-the-new-rug thing and the heroine-travels-through-the-veil-to-another-world thing.

Why not?

 

You Rock!

einstein-1When I started this blog back on April 18, 2011, I must have had 20 blogs already written ahead of time. That’s how excited I was. Before I started my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog, I probably had 10 or 11 artists on hold. That, too, shows how excited I was to get started.

Now days I am more of a on-the-spot blog writer, sharing the Goddess’s humor as she calls. Which is all the time. And my Art Blog’s collection is doubling all the time as I find more and more unique artists to showcase.

This is what creativity is all about.

Doing what you love. When you want to. Because you want to.

I don’t have an anniversary to celebrate, or moment in time to highlight today.  All I wanted to do was thank you all for supporting me, reading me, looking at my art. Telling your friends. Or just checking me out yourself.

I can’t believe there are so many branches to Creativity. I’ve talked to quilters, sculptors, painters, publicists, graphic artists, gardeners, writers, poets, photographers, calligraphers — all sorts of artists with all sorts of stories. Everyone has a different story, background, reason for exploring their creative side.

Think of the things you can create! Dragons, spaceships, murderers, gardens, parentless heroes, ghosts, musical prodigies, statues, symbols. You can change history, travel through history, interpret history. As an artist there is nothing you can’t do.

This is why I encourage all of you to “do your thing.” Know your base is strong and expand from there. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the arts. And the more you do it, the better you get at it.

I just wanted to take time to than you all. For your friendship, for your curiosity. And for your encouragement. I hope we hang together for a dozen more years. I hope you continue to enjoy my art and my pretzel-logic mind. You inspire me, and I hope I do the same for you.

Huzzah!

 

Hellloooo….Cosmos Calling

briliantThe Cosmos is always calling — are you listening?

I tend to block incoming calls, leaving a message that I’ll get back shortly.  And, of course, when I call back, it’s too late. The message has disappeared. Moved On. Taken a Hike. Good Bye.

So today is a good day to start remembering and rewriting some of the messages my old friend Cosmos has been sending.

  •  When the Muse is there She’s there. When she’s not she’s not. Quit trying to make wine out of hot dogs. You can’t force the words, the strokes, the stitches. Leave the door wide open but take your trek elsewhere for a while. As long as it’s creative, even if it’s mindless, it encourages Her return.
  • If it doesn’t have anything to do with your realm, keep your mouth shut. Your conservative or over-the-top opinions won’t change the state of politics or sports or Hollywood. Misery loves company and yakkers need an audience. Don’t be the bigmouth or the enabler.
  • DO stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Abuse is rampant. Child, animal, elder — A bully is always a bully. Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. If you notice something, and don’t want to confront the culprit, report it. Tell someone. Be their strength.
  • There is no such thing as a leisurely dinner outside. Especially this time of year. Quit trying to sell us wine and laughter and best friends sitting at a big table surrounded by land and woods. It doesn’t work that way. Just ask the mosquitoes and flies. Or the chiggers that chew your ankles.
  • Wine, chocolate, and whipped cream are the answers to all of life’s problems.
  • Organization is the name of the game. Most of us are O-Negative, but with an infusion of creativity, energy, and optimism, even the smallest o can grow to be a fairly decent sized O. Just put away what you take out, close what you open, measure before you cut, and find yourself a Muse or Spirit Guide to give you a pinch in the keester now and then.
  • Taco Cat spelled backwards is Taco Cat.
  • Universal Truth #6327: Everything makes sense to someone (see Cosmic).
  • The Cosmos is full of random moves disguised as calculated theories. So it is with winning. A few odds: winning the Powerball, 1 in 292,201,338; dying from an asteroid strike, 1 in 74,817,414; attacked by a shark, 1 in 3,748,006; becoming a movie star: 1 in 1,505,000; getting struck by lightning: 1 in 1,107,143; being killed by a vending machine, 1 in 112,000,000; being killed by a coconut, 1 in 270,000,000. Since the odds never make sense, odds are that you might as well give up the odds and go with a sure thing. Like I before E. Except after C. Oh, and there’s an A in there too…
  • Don’t be fooled by the “peaceful life” in the country. It can be just as loud as the city. Birds are worse than car horns.

The Cosmos gave me a bunch of messages this past weekend, and this time I was listening. Friendship is forever, there are stories around every corner, if you connect your soul with the soul of the universe, anything can happen. Then I gave the o’l Cos some advice I’ve learned along the way.

  • Love. There’s 1,000s of chances to find it. Life. There’s only one chance to live it.
  • Creativity is a way of life.
  • Jon Snow is not dead.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Full Circle

A few weeks ago I fell in love with the atmosphere, art, and the Biltmore I found in North Carolina.

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My visit gave me a greater appreciation of the world of individuality, art, and wealth.

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Last weekend I wandered through the competition barn of a small county fair.

When I came upon the Art Show, I knew I had come full circle.

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I realized that this is where it all starts.

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This is where Jackson Pollock and John Singer Sargent began.

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Where Dali dabbled and Wiggans wandered.

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This is where Richard Morris Hunt found architecture and Katsushika Hokusai played with ink drawings.

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Where either because of a parent’s encouragement or despite lack of it, a creativity seed found fertility and grew.

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This is the uncharted land of creativity, of space and design and imagination.

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This…is Art.

*

Pictures courtesy of Vilas County Fair, 2016

and CJA, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Atmosphere, Art, and the Biltmore — Part 1

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 Atmosphere

 

A whirlwind weekend brings out all sorts of thoughts and emotions. Especially when you spend the special moments with people you really enjoy. Kids, mates, friends, cousins — all can bring a sense of magic and wonder to your life every time you turn around.

Spending a weekend in Ashville, North Carolina, was one of those times. It was a little bit of freedom, a little bit of music, a little bit of adventure. Though we live hundreds of miles apart, my friend and I met to renew friendship, share burst balloons, and explore ways to move forward in the world and ways of Creativity.

Every region has its own traditions, its own style, its own way of doing things. Midwest Wisconsin is a lot different from Western North Carolina. Ashville is a decent size city nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. Heat, humidity, and lush greenery run rampant through the streets and countryside. The people are gracious, drive like maniacs, and wonderfully creative.

The streets were filled with art galleries, outdoor eateries, and pubs full of music. Friday night the air was warm and humid and the streets full of artists strutting their goods. A bare-chested bearded dude with a pink rabbit hat walked his dog passed a girl painting henna hands and a poet who wrote you a personal poem for a small donation. Musicians of all colors and sizes hung out on street corners and in front of bistros, playing guitars, flutes, and violins. Trios one corner, a girl singing with a guitar across the street, all sharing their talent and the night.

Breweries offered their specialized creations while fruit bars mingled with marvelously unique chocolate shops. Tiny Christmas lights hung over outdoor eating spaces, Italian specialities competing with tapas and Oriental sesame noodles. Young and old strolled up and down the main street, skinny girls with striped faerie leggings walking with women in sun dresses and guys in properly preppy shirts. It was a cornicopia of life and laughs and conversation and music. Something my little Wisconsin town doesn’t offer.

Art galleries flourished on main streets and side streets. Most were closed by the time I wandered past their windows, but the ones who were open boasted Dichroic glass sculptures and abstract printmaking. Some mediums I had never seen before. Offbeat novelty shops brought back memories of the 60s, selling incense and scented soaps, colorfully graphic socks, sassy self-awareness books, unicorn candle holders, and violet gum.

The Village Art & Craft Fair was a marvelous beehive of amazing art and artists. Just like art fairs across the country, the hard work and inspiration of craftsmen left me breathless. I didn’t always understand the method or their behind-the-scenes inspiration, but I did understand the end result of jewelry, mosaic tile shoes, pottery, tables, hand-blown glass balls filled with feathers, and dark ceramic clay sculptures. A lot of artists were local; others returned year after year to showcase their latest wares.

Finalizing my journey at the immortal Biltmore Estate, my whole world of art and architecture and photography and history exploded into one cosmic experience. I was actually able to be in the “now” each and every day. And the “now” was cool, fun, and satisfying.

Creativity is universal. It is the expression of our heart’s deepest secrets, our imagination’s fondest dreams. I really believe that once you open that door new worlds present themselves all the time. Like a symphony, moods and memories are created by each special note you experience.

Find a way to experience it.

 

NEXT:  Art

 

 

 

Off To See the Wizard (of Biltmore)

6d3fa623e931a5471085ff1a8f7651afSagittarius personality traits

Sagittarius is a fun and exciting sign. The explorer and philosopher of the zodiac, they are typically interested in new experiences, new knowledge and new places.

As it is written, so it shall be.

This weekend I am taking an adventure I’ve not taken before. I am meeting my creative, crazy fun friend in the artsy city of Asheville, North Carolina — home of the Biltmore Estate.

No husband. No kids. No grandkids. No dogs. No cats. Just temporarily, you know.

Already I’m happy.

It has taken me 63 years to be able to go off and take a trip through the creative world with my bestie by my side. I can finally submerge myself in art of all kinds — painting, sculpture, jewelry, textiles. Something my hubby could not (in truthful conscience) enjoy.

It has taken me 63 years to get to this wide-eyed amazement point in my life. 40 years ago I was working downtown Chicago, too busy trying to make my way in the business world. 30 years ago I was busy being a newlywed and first-time mom, losing my downtown job and looking for a part-time one so I could be home with my son. 20 years ago I was busing being a full-time mom, trying to my hand at running a B&B while being a full-time soccer mom and baseball mom.  10 years ago I was busy working full-time again, trying to run from bankruptcy and dealing with one son’s college years and the other son’s high school years.

There wasn’t time for unique art galleries or writing blogs or going to live concerts. Guess I was just busy living.

But now the kids are working and raising their own kids and bankruptcy is nothing more than a bad dream as is the B&B experiment. Now is the time for me to reconnect to who I’ve always been. I’ve always been a painter, a writer, a stenciller. I have always had a love affair with the creative side of the world. From faeries to role-playing, from making my own jewelery to writing poetry. I’ve stuffed it into pockets of time and under the leaves on the wooded paths I’ve walked and in the drawers of dressing tables.

Now it’s my turn to play.

Now I get to discover and explore and dream and live the Bohemian life of an artist with someone who is as Bohemian as I am.

If only for 4 days.

I get to meet all kinds of people, people who heard the calling of the Art Muse and did something about it. I don’t need to live the dream to be a part of it.

If only for 4 days.

Make a point to take a side trip out of your reality too, now and then. It’s good for the soul. It’s good for the heart. It’s good for manifesting your creative future.

And it’s damn good for your friendship, too.

 

 

 

Practicing this exercise will make you more confident in your creative work

If you have a few spare minutes, come read Maja’s post…get your confidence back and keep it running. We are all artists!

Business in Rhyme

creativity confidence

Most of the confidence we develop throughout the years stem from our past experiences – predominantly on how other people perceived us and our work. Not gaining enough recognition, pile of rejection letters and even just a random bad comment can blow away all our creative self-esteem – that many people stop creating all together. Paying too much attention on other people opinions can instill  fear that  paralyzes not only our creative outlets but practically our complete approach to life. That kind of attitude leads to isolation, avoidance of trying new things and not sharing our accomplishments with the world.

The good news is that we have control of our feelings towards what creatively we can offer to the world.

When you get to the root of this problem, it’s all about belief and what we chose to believe. You can chose to believe that:

  • you are creative person,
  • your…

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Side Trip — Craig L Haupt

aNow and then I like to take little side trips into the lives of some of the artists I highlight both here and in my Art Gallery.

Although according to his website (http://clhaupt.comCraig Haupt has a degree in Art Education, it’s his love of creative doodles that’s led to a career of whimsical images.

Why I am taking time to share his creativity is simple. On his WordPress blog ( https://craiglhaupt.com/) I have watched him turn this:

 

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Into this:

 

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I love the creative process. Whether it’s writing, painting, sketching, stenciling, it all starts small and obtuse and grows into something wonderful and unique.

Craig’s delightful explanation  “From childhood to present, I have been surrounded by my doodles and countless stick figures that have never left me,” rings true for all of us. There is always some thing, some thought, some feeling, that follows us around all the time. Something we just can’t forget about. Something we can’t let go.

I find a touch of doodle in a depth of color in Craig’s sketches and drawings. To take a scrambled beginning and turn it into something esthetic is no easy feat. It’s not often an artist shows you all their steps, so I thought it fun to share both ends of the spectrum.

You can also see more of Craig’s work at my Sunday Evening Art Gallery http://wp.me/p5LGaO-pZ.

I hope you enjoyed this little “Side Trip”! See you soon!

 

 

Tuesday-Not-Sunday-Evening Art-Gallery-Humor-Blog

They-Wait-in-Silence-4f6276864bf58_hiresI’m sure you’ve seen these posts on Facebook that show a wonderfully huge mansion in the woods/on the water/at the edge of the mountains, and the post says, “If you could live without WiFi and a phone and TV, etc., would you live here?”

Having spent the last five days up Nort’ , I think I can answer a solid “No.”

It wasn’t a mansion; it was a little house we call “The Cabin.” No TV, no Dish/Direct TV, no WiFi, just a DVD/8 Track Player and a radio. For getaway purposes it was ideal. But the times I tried to go online to do some Art Gallering, the signal from my phone was  烂摊子. A mess. So my wildly popular (I love adding my own adjectives) Sunday Evening Art Gallery had to take a Sunday night break.

I also wanted to spend some free time looking for unique artists, following a few leads from friends and followers (I’m always open for suggestions!). Grandkids were out playing, men fishing, cool breeze in the window, quiet except for the sounds of nature, it was a perfect Art Moment.

Yet I could not load any page other than the main one I landed on. No pictures, no links. And I felt like those people who can’t go to the bathroom without their cell phone. I felt helpless. And more than that — pathetic.

During this contemplation time I had a few revelations, too. I think we all get messages from the beyond…all get an idea which direction we should go. But we don’t listen. We — our ego — knows better. So we butt our heads against the wall and keep trying to recast the same pot.

What works for you? What feels right? What feels out-of-sorts? Are you happy with your blog? Are you happy with your craft? Would you sometimes rather do B than A? K rather than E?

I have found a new love affair with Unique Art. There are so many wonderful, unique, unusual artists sharing their work with the world that I’ve never heard of, never seen, never imagined until these past few years. And the thrill I get out of sharing them with you is the same thrill I get when I’ve written something good.

I can feel that same energy when I talk with people who are hooked into some sort of creativity. Their eyes glow, their breath shortens, and their dreams spill out through their words.

I want you to have that glow, too. I want you to sparkle like the fireworks on the 4th of July every time you think of your craft. You will crash and burn and agonize and think and dance and fly. But you will grow and learn and sparkle, too.

I suppose I will wait to introduce a new artist to the Sunday Evening Art Gallery. No need to rush amazement, is there? But because I can’t go long without sharing some kind of art, I will publish a new Gallery.

Don’t go too long without doing your creative thing, too!

Finding Dorothy’s Shoes

Ruby-slippers-wizard-of-ozI absolutely love when comments on one blog flow into thoughts and inspiration on another. That’s why I love following the writers I do.

In her blog, A Journey Called Life, (https://architar.wordpress.com), my friend Archita wrote a story called “A note from the evening” (https://architar.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/a-note-from-the-evening/). It is a first-person narrative to someone  — a friend, it seems — to that friend’s ego. To that friend’s mind. It has to be to their unconscious mind, for the conscious mind was not listening.

Her short tale explains all the motions and routines the narrator will do for the friend who never stops complaining. For the complaining is nothing new. The friend cannot see past her stubbornness to change her direction in life; the friend who insists the narrator has the banquet and the friend barely the leftovers.

It made me think and then think again. First I wondered if the friend was (figuartively) me…me in other situations. We all have the tendency to whine — life is never the bed of roses we dream of. But I hoped — still hope — that I have found a way out of that tedious state of blaming the world for some of my own bad decisions.

The more I thought, the more I realized that I have friends like that, too. I think we all do. People who just can’t get out of the whirlpool. People who don’t really want to get out of the whirlpool. That it’s easier to complain and point fingers than to do something about the situation.

Many situations are hard. There is no denying this. Life is hard. But life is also good. There is proof of that all around us.

You will continue your story- about children, about how busy you really are, about how you never had any help, about how only death can bring you your peace. Then you will ask me if I watched your favorite show on TV.

I often wonder how people get out of the whirlpools they swim in. It takes determination. It takes work. My dad and father-in-law both gave up smoking after 50 years of two packs a day. That wasn’t a walk through the roses, believe me. My friend is going back to school to get her childhood education degree, and she is in her mid-50s. Another friend has had multiple operations on knees and shoulders and had cancer in his pancreas and still manages to go camping with us a couple times a year.

Who is to decide what is too heavy a burden to bear? Who is to decide what is enough help?

Let me tell you, death looks terrible on poems. Death looks more terrible when it’s just news. Death never gives peace. Life is peace. In living, in grief, in celebrating, in friendships- you find what death lacks- a life.

Archita and I bantered back and forth in the comment section about when it’s time to listen, when it’s time to intervene, when it’s time to walk away.  It’s not easy to know the difference between being a friend, a sounding board, and an enabler. From drinking to being unemployed to being divorced, the path out of the darkness isn’t an easy one to find. But I believe we all have that inner knowledge that lets us know where to draw the line between all of the above.

I suggested she suggest the magic release of Creativity to her friend. I  know so many who have turned to the Arts to save their souls, to release their souls, to find their souls. That’s why I encourage it so much. It doesn’t matter if you crochet or make scrapbooks or write poetry. Your love for artistic freedom makes you better and better. A better artist, a better person, a better friend. Archita found her own soul again through creativity — she only hoped her friend could, too.

But that’s another story.

Do go and read Archita’s blog if you find time. You might find yourself in her shoes. Which, in the end,  just might be Dorothy’s shoes.

Saturday Morning Reflections on Creativity

 

15 - 1[3]1112335Lazy Saturday mornings always bring out the philisopher in me. Especially when I listen to Martini Music from the 60s in the background.

Ever take one of those online tests — What is your favorite (fill-in-the-blank)?

Sometimes they’re easy. Favorite Food: Spaghetti. Favorite drink: Milk. (I know..boring…) Other times it’s a little catchy. Favorite Music? Ah…in what category? Favorite Book? Again, I need a genre. Favorite Dessert? Now, you really need to specify…

So it is with picking out an artist’s work for my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog.

Sometimes it’s easy. Judit Czinkné Poór specializes in incredible cookie designs. Craig L. Haupt does whimsical abstract images. Jackson Pollock does…well, does Jackson Pollock things. The biggest problem with these artists are which 6 or 7 (or in the case of the larger Gallery, 12-15) images showcase their artistic range.

I come up with fantastic artists that span several techniques. Selecting which style or gallery to highlight is often an arduous task. Louise Bourgeois not only sculpted giant spiders but was actually best known for her representations of the female form and dreamlike imagery through paintings, prints, and installations. The Universe not only holds the glory of galaxies, but planets, stars, nebulas, gamma ray bursts, and galaxy clusters.  I have had artists that are not only great sculptors but painters and sketchers, too.

How do you decide which side of their diamond to polish?

I have learned that sometimes an artist’s fame is not the same as an artist’s flame. Often what strikes an audience as unique is not necessarily what made them famous. I highlighted Luke Jerram‘s extraordinary microbiology glass works, but if you read his website, he also designed a sculpture based on the Tōhoku Japanese Earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 2011, and solar-powered kinetic chandeliers  that consist of dozens of glass radiometers, which shimmer and flicker as they turn in the sunlight. Who knew?

Artists are such an eclectic lot. Writers, sculptors, painters, graphic designers, all have their favorite form of expression, their main obsession. But I imagine you can be 150% into oil painting and 150% into charcoal sketching and 150% into pen and ink and still find 150% to spend on computer graphics.

It’s all relative.

When I find an artist that I think my followers would enjoy, I research all their work. Often that’s a daunting task, for those who are truly creative, truly gifted, spread out in a hundred different directions at one time. One branch of their creativity is just as amazing as the next.

It’s not much easier when I pick a subject to highlight. In digging around, I often find 35-40 great representations under the headings of things like ice sculptures or paperweights. Each picture is more fascinating than the next. I try to include my favorites and others not in my top 10, just so I can show a fair representation of what the artist/subject is all about.  After all, my favorite color may be blue, but yours may be red. And who am I to confront the difference?

That, to me, is the essence of an art director. Of a museum curator. Exploring the creative mind, the unique palate, and choosing just the right combination of awe and familiarity to showcase. We all do this in our own way — look at the pictures hanging on your walls. The crystal pieces on your mantlepieces. The books on your shelves. The flowers in your garden. The colors you pick for your outfits. The way you arrange your bookshelves.

You have created your own atmosphere with the gifts from the creative world. You are abstract, you are conservative, you are orange-reds and country blue. You are Amish and Renaissance and Science Fiction and Chick Lit. You are poetry in motion, an art critic in your own right.

And that is a beautiful way to spend your life, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

<a href="http://feedshark.brainbliss.com">Feed Shark</a>

Writer’s Block

thWriter’s Block.

Is it real? Or is it all in the imagination?

Some people say they never get it. They’re never stuck for something to write. Others have it hit them all the time. They mistake the block for not having enough determination or desire.

I find that Writer’s Block is merely a drop in the bucket to the larger malady, Creative Block.

Know that this hits all creative arts, from writing to painting to making a quilt to sketching scenery. It IS real, and it DOES matter when you are zapped with it. It’s not a shade of pretend or indifference. It’s a real emotion. Writer’s Block is not only the feeling of not having anything to write about. It’s the feeling you don’t want to write, period. It’s lack of desire, the inability to finish, or too much preliminary writing/research to do before you get to the “good stuff.” It’s working on the same old story and not being able to pull it all together.

A fellow blogger (https://victoriakgallagher.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/writers-block-sucks/) puts it this way:

There are ideas whirling around my mind but the perceived inadequacy has been very overpowering. It’s won out and I really don’t want it to. Perhaps writing this is a ‘good enough’ start and more writing ideas will come eventually. Writers block is not a fun place to be in, but knowing that there are others who have the same scenario, in a roundabout way, helps, especially if they have ideas on how to break free from it.

This is how we all feel from time to time. Sometimes the answer, as Victoria says, it to write a short blog. To write something, whether or not it’s of publishable quality.

But sometimes the inadequacy, the not-wanting-to, lies in a well-hidden secret woods in your body, and only comes out during certain combinations of hormones (male AND female) and full moons and stress and a weird look from somebody you don’t know. Who knows what kicks in the self doubt. But something does, and before you know it you’re rolling down the hill like a snowball, collecting debris and sticks and mud to fling at ourselves along the way.

This is not a reflection of how we feel about our craft.

If you are a true artist, your craft comes from your heart. Loud and strong. All the time. You love to paint. You love to play the guitar. You love to write. Nothing you (or anyone else) say can change the feeling of magic that fills you once you’re in your groove.

But being a true artist doesn’t mean you’re living the high all the time. There are websites upon websites about famous creative people who had bouts with depression, alcoholism, and other numbing illnesses. Some survived, some didn’t. The internet is also full of websites about how to work through creative blocks. Any one of their tips could be the one for you.

I think of Creative Block block not so much a wall as a chain link fence. You can see through it, you can see the future of your craft, but you just can’t get past that fence.

Your love of your craft hasn’t changed — just your ability to move past the fence. If you just listen to your heart, get past the junk that comes at you from all directions (especially yourself), and hold onto that love, you’ll get back in the groove soon. Leave your own work behind and explore others…the masters of painting, sculpting, designing. Let their work inspire you. You can’t compete with them, for you are NOT them…you are you. And how wonderfully unique that is.

If you love your craft, your heart and soul will find a way to bring you round back to where you left off.

And with infinity being what it is, you’ve got a gloriously long journey ahead of you.

Let’s Open Another Door

Well, it’s March 3rd and I’m done.

Any of you who live in the northern half of the U.S. — or any country, for that matter — know what I mean when I say I’m done. Done with the snow, the cloudy days, the slush, the slop, the depression, the driving-like-a-little-old-lady kind of days. I’ve had my snow for Christmas; my grandson has made his annual snowman, I’ve spent a weekend at the ski lodge, and scraped and cleaned the snow off my car more than I care to tell you.

It’s supposed to be 64 degrees next Tuesday, and that’s not soon enough for me. I know it’s a false spring and all that, but go ahead — fool me — I don’t mind.

About this time every year I get tired of writing, too. Tired of sloshing around emails and sites, tired of editing, tired of being witty, nifty, and wise. Since I like to think of ALL of us as multi-artistic, I’m ready to clean out closets and get ready for my move to BoHoChicland.

I’ve got bags of beads to sew on sweaters and tops; I’ve got wire and string to restring my broken bracelets; I’ve got crystals to make more bracelets; I’ve got appointments with Good Will and other second hand places to help me restructure my wardrobe. Clothes never used to make me feel better, but these days, I’m open to discovery. I’m tired of looking like my great-grandmother (like I know what she dressed like..)

Besides the clothing overhaul, I’ve also got books I need to finish reading, hair to color, skirts to shorten. I need to open up the windows and get some fresh air in my stale house.

So let’s get going.

They say when God closes one door He opens another. He’s been really generous with me, because he’s opened about 15 doors. How generous.

So if you get writer’s block, go open another door. Remember — you are an ARTIST — category optional. Don’t worry — your main obsession will always be with you. But sometimes you just need a change.

Like the weather.

And who knows — maybe a closet full of beads will fall out on your head.

Listen to your Body

GIF By George RedhawkDoes your reality often get in the way of your creativity?

I am certain every creative sprite wishes they had more time. More time to write, to pick out beads, to carve, to crochet. To practice the piano or the guitar. And perhaps that desire to “have more time” is what keeps the creative juices flowing.

But what if reality gets in the way?

Not being able to create on a regular basis can cause more physical problems than you already have. Anxiety, depression, frustration, all can lead to higher blood pressure and a host of other maladies. Having a creative outlet is like poking a hole in a blister: it vents the pressure and allows the healing to begin. Or continue.

There are a number of circumstances in my life at the moment (none of them bad), that are preventing me from getting to the writing/editing/publication of various projects.

And I’m not okay with that.

Yet I have to be okay with that. Because if I don’t take care of the body, the mind will be the next to go.

I truly believe that creativity is useless if the vehicle you’re using to express it is working under par. That you need to take care of yourself before you take care of your sculpture. Otherwise, you’ve only given a part of your essence to your project. Not all of it.

Working full time, my only “free” time is evenings and weekends. Add cleaning, cooking, shopping for necessities, paying bills, and paying attention to family and friends, and the wind of creativity shrinks to half.

And half of not much is not much.

One of the problems I’m dealing with is insomnia. It might be because of age, medication, schedules, one or all of the above. Nonetheless, while that initially sounds like an opening for “more” time, it really is a stab in the cortial and subcortial network (Research  Uncovers How and Where Imagination Occurs in the Brain, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/imagination-brain_n_3922136.html). The less sleep you get, the more tired you become. The more tired you become, the slower the synapses connect. And, of course, the less synapses connecting, the duller your creativity.

While I’m finally off to the doctor to work on this, I realize that, for now, If I want to sleep longer I have to get to bed earlier. Which means less stimulation before bed. Which means…you get my drift.

The point of this blog is to encourage you to listen to your body. Really listen. Take care of what ails you now. Being burned out, over-stressed, lethargic, hyper-active — or worse yet, in the hospital — does little good for anyone.

Especially for your Muse.

Deny if you will, but we all have a muse, a spirit guide, an angel, who opens our hearts and heads and minds and helps us tap into that never-ending waterfall of creativity. Once you accept that, you have to learn to take care of that muse. Which, in the long run, is taking care of yourself.

Your craft can wait. Not stop — wait. Instead of planning it by big steps, plan it by baby steps. A little today, a little tomorrow. Along with dealing with insomnia, heartburn, diverticulitis. Deal with your body so you have room — and time — to deal with your Muse. And your creativity. Never give up your dreams — just adjust them to fit your schedule.

Once you achieve balance, you can hit the easel/notebook/kiln once again, pulling your hair out, biting your nails, wondering if you’re ever going to create anything worthwhile.

But that’s an over-reaction of a different color.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Sunday Evening Art Gallery

www.sundayeveningartgallery.com

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This quiet evening I thought I would introduce you to world you may not know exists

A world filled with even more views of creative inspiration

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If you have enjoyed sitting back on Sunday Evenings

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enjoying the discoveries of creative artists of all genres

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Then you will love the full version of my Sunday Evening Art Gallery

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Click on any of these images and see more magic

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Explore more creations by these amazing artists, these amazing minds

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Art that is limited only by the artist’s imagination and talent

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I have collected dozens of extra images that could not fit on my Goddess blog

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Images that deserved their own gallery

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I add new galleries every week — I collect so many images on each journey my arms and blog cannot hold them all

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So please come and visit a world of unique images and unique artists

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Come see what creativity is really all about

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And if you like what you see, come back often.

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And please — tell your friends what a world you have discovered!

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www.sundayeveningartgallery.com

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Tal Peleg

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

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Or is it beauty is in the beholder of the eye?

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Israeli make-up professional and blogger Tal Peleg paints scenes from fairy tales, imagery from classic novels and pretty embellishments  —  including intricate designs of sushi — onto tiny areas of the face using only liquid eyeliner and eyeshadow.

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One needs a steady hand, a feel for color, and a wonderful sense of play. Tal Peleg has all of that and more.

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Tal says she loves art, color, creation, makeup and all that between.

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Looking into her eye — into her eyes — you see her love of all of the above

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Tal Peleg shows the world that color is makeup’s best friend — and every eye reflects it

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Tal Peleg’s incredible eye art can be found at the following websites:

https://www.facebook.com/TalPelegMakeUp

http://www.tp-artwork.com

http://www.boredpanda.com/eye-makeup-art-tal-peleg/

I Want It All

a4d9a6e95ab9b4ddaac67a2adb860cb5Are you your own best friend?
Or are you your own worst enemy?
Have you found a way to balance the two?

I have the world’s best intentions — I really do. And sometimes I’m even able to carry them out. On the other hand, sometimes my intentions last as long as a thought. Big burst of emotion/intention, then big hit of sidetrack/misdirection.

Now that I’ve finally found the loves of my life (except from 9-5), I am finding it nearly impossible to balance it all without falling asleep at my desk.

Everything is temporary, I know. My kids living with me for a few months has been the greatest gift I ever could have received. I spend my day thinking of what my GB and I can do when I get home. He is a bundle of energy (vs my total lack of it), so I try and plan accordingly. I also plan time for him to be alone with his parents. After all, they all WOULD be alone together if it weren’t for me. First act of balancing.

But spending the 5 hours (ideally) between work and bedtime have drastically cut the time I have to spend on the other love of my life: writing. Specifically (at least at this moment) my blog(s).

I know there is no comparison between flesh and blood and words on a screen. No comparison between talking to my daughter-in-law and responding to posts online. This time will soon be gone, and I’ll have evenings to myself once again. Every day is a new experience, a new adventure. Who want to miss that?

But I am a Sagittarius, and I want the glory, the excitement, the magic NOW. I am an adventurer, even though I may fall flat half way through my trek. And I (like all of you) are multi-dimensional. I love creating, researching, building, perfecting whatever it is that sets my heart a flutter. My blog (especially the Art one) is quenching my thirst for personal satisfaction. It is something I can call MY OWN. Not hunting or fishing like the boys; not going back to school like friends; not raising children like my kids and friends kids. It’s something created out of my soul and warmed by the sun and fertilized by the moon. It’s something that has turned from a fad idea to a real pursuit of the extraordinary.

I think I suffer somewhat from the life-is-running-out syndrome, too. I’m getting older:  there are fewer years ahead of me than behind, and there’s tons of things I still want to do. I’ve given up dreams of visiting the museums of Rome or wandering through the moors of Scotland. Discovering the planet China is off my list, too. But I can still do things that make me happy, that make me proud. I’m just running out of time to do them.

My circadian rhythm is so out of whack I doubt I could get it back in line with a baseball bat. I get home, am awake, creative, love the evening, the sunset, the kids, the night. Then I can’t fall asleep. Midnight, 1, 2 a.m. and I’m still cruising through the galaxy. I get up at 6 so four hours of sleep isn’t doing it for me. I’ve tried everything to calm down at night. My fear is that I’ll have to give up everything creative if I want to sleep. Or clean my house. Or even make it to work on time.

I admit it. I want it all. I’m too young to retire, too poor to quit working. All of you creative sprites know how it is when you just start getting into your project and you look up at the clock and it’s midnight. Einstein’s time travel continuum has struck again.

So. I ask you. Any suggestions on how I can do it all?

In this lifetime??

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Intermission

Tonight’s Gallery is a break between worlds. A pause between dreams.

 

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I am so delighted with the direction of the Sunday Evening Art Gallery that I am taking time to make it whole and circular and ever spiraling.  I hope that every Sunday Evening I bring more magic into your life; more sights to share with family and friends; more ideas to bring creativity to your own life.

 

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I hope to expand my site http://www.sundayeveningartgallery.wordpress.com into a continuation of the uniqueness I find around me. That includes changing the domain name and making it a presence like no other.

 

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So for our intermission, let me share a few of my (amateur) photographs of the world around me.

 

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Let us wander the roads and lake shores together, setting our imaginations of fire, and find out what lies just around the corner…

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Cats and the Strawberry Moon

catI had a case of the crabbies today, par for most who have to work a whole week after only have worked 4 days the week before and none the week before that. It seemed a number of people I encountered today were a bit “off” as well. I would blame it on MR (can’t say…I promised), but I think it’s just a case of I-wanna-be-anywhere-but-at-work syndrome.

Tonight is/was the Strawberry Moon. You’ve undoubtedly have heard of it — a full moon, close to Earth, makes for one giant strawberry in the sky. So me and my adventurous self took a walk down a wooded path to the back gate which faces a huge corn field, and waited for the moon to appear.

I always think myself a bit weird to begin with, but pacing up and down the tractor road along side newly sprouted corn, waiting for a moon that could show up anywhere across the horizon was plenty weird, too. I’ve waited for moonrise before — I even blogged about one incident (Moonlight at Sunset, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-4e, if you want to go back that far)  eleventy twenty nine years ago (that’s how my grandson counts).

There was a tractor plowing/planting in the field, and I’m sure he caught sight of me once or twice. I didn’t want to have to explain what I was doing tiptoeing around his field (even though he’s a good guy and wouldn’t mind), so I occasionally ducked in the hedgerow lining the path. What a weirdo, too.

But all my weirdness was well worth it when the moon rose. It was indeed a strawberry color, huge and ripe and round and lovely to behold. It was at that moment that the crabbys disappeared…who could hold a grudge against the world with something so awesome in the night sky?

It’s these moments that make me feel so small, yet so immense. If there is no heaven, I want to be able to absorb these cosmic moments as often as I can. For nothing is as holy as a phenomenon in space.

I used to be an astronomy buff; I took classes at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and even bought a telescope. My scientific side melded with my fantasy side, and a true appreciation of science fiction was born. I think it’s true for all creative people. Thinking of places you can go, things you can invent, spaces you can fill, all overwhelm the senses. Creativity isn’t pidgeon-holed into science fiction realms — I have seen pottery and jewelry and wire sculpturing that escape all dimensions. And all that creativity makes me wonder — what’s next?

When you see the immensity of the moon, something real and bright and ever changing, how can you hold a grudge with the world? Get out of your house, out of your room, out of your car. Go out and experience the Goddess in her every changing glory. Then bring Her energy into you and let it turn your imagination into reality. Be inspired.  Be creative. Be whole.  If the moon isn’t your thing, try the sun. Let the warm rays fill you with hope and strength. Or Mother Earth. She’s a phenomenon all unto herself.

Let go of the crabbies. They never helped anyone get anywhere anyway.

Since my thought earlier today was of writing a blog about cats, I leave you with the image above. Cats and Strawberry Moons have the makings of a wonderful story. Or necklace. Or painting.

Don’t you think?

Welcome to my 5th Dimension

greatestgifeverWell, I think I’m over my vacation. And I’ve gotten the Art Gallery stuff out of my system (at least until Sunday).  I’m following a few blogs that do “Wordless Wednesdays,” and I’m really enjoying their pictures. And I think — maybe I can add that to my blog, too.

In the next second I think — what’s wrong with me? What’s with this “over-achiever” thing I seem to be going through?

It’s worse than puberty. Or maybe just LIKE puberty. When you blossom into a young lady (or young man), your thoughts are obsessed with sex. Wanting it, thinking about it, dreaming about it.  Fifty years later, your obsession turns from what used to be to what can be. (And trust me — it’s not sexually oriented). Lost between a tedious job and dreams of retirement, your psyche reaches out to do MORE. Whatever MORE may be to you.

I suppose that’s where “too much of a good thing” comes from.

Like too much chocolate or too much lasagna (can there really be too much of either?), too much variety in a blog is not only confusing to the reader but to you as well. Most bloggers have a theme, a direction, a reason for sharing their thoughts. And those who identify with those themes/directions/reasons follow and share and (hopefully) get something positive out of it.

But when you go this way one day and that way the next and over there the next, there tends to be a bit of confusion on the direction part. I could have started my Sunday Evening Art Gallery as its own separate blog, but I found that I wanted to share these discoveries with YOU, my friends. Knowing how eccentric a middle-aged woman (say…62-ish) can be, you can maybe connect my looking for older age direction with odd, unique art.

Thin though that line may be, I’ve worked hard to keep it strong. Introducing another dimension to this already multi-dimensional blog might be the bonie that made the doggie fat. Too much of a good thing leads to a predicable end.

Getting fat and lazy. And that’s already a struggle.

So my friends-who-have-wordless-Wednesdays — go for it. I love trying NOT to say anything to your unique pictures. And I love the added dimension it gives your blog.

As for me — I’m already bouncing around in the 5th dimension. And there’s no no place out there for being wordless.

Passion on Hold?

To thine own self be true.Friday

~~William Shakespeare

 

That is no truer than this evening.

I have the weekend to myself. Hubby and boys are hunting, grandbaby up with the other grandparents. Lots of time to do my favorite thing in the whole world.

Write.

I have a lunch date tomorrow; washing the kitchen floor and doing some laundry are on the list as well. The rest of the time is mine, mine, mine.

It’s Friday night and I’ve already made my goulash for dinner (some sort of meat and some sort of noodle and some sort of sauce…catchers-catch-can, so they say). I brought out my laptop, threw some towels in the dryer, fed the dogs, let the dogs out, watched the finale of one TV show, caught up on two more TV shows, am looking out the window at the soft rain falling, and still haven’t written a word.

Do I sabotage myself all the time?

In my own defense — I did write a fantastic blog for this coming Sunday, and did some research on a wonderfully creative art and artist that I will keep for another day. So I have been moving forward, albeit in a crookedy sort of way.

I could blame my very busy, very mind-numbing day. I get home, I am tired, my dreams dancing and fading away into the sunset.  But the “why” doesn’t matter.

I believe that when you have the passion, the seed, the soul of creativity, it will never leave you. It is your source of joy, of your angst and your celebration. The mere thought of getting to do what you love lightens your day, and keeps you up at night. No matter what you love to do, you can’t wait to get back to it. Any side track, any sideways slip, any attack from kids and grandkids and friends in need/indeed are only temporary.

Love will find a way, they say.

Don’t worry if you get distracted. If your heart is in your Art, you will never wander far. Your breaks won’t last long, and your creations will be bigger and better and more fun than you ever imagined.

I’m turning the TV off right now….well, right after I finish watching my pre-recorded Bones.

(whispers…Ooohhh!! ! It’s a double Bones!)

 

 

Wanderlusters Sign Up Here

CAM00498Do you ever feel you have a somewhat confusing relationship with your life? As I get older I find my emotional state doesn’t last long enough to hang a hat on, so I often can’t tell what I’m feeling.

I have to admit that I am having a ball with the Sunday Evening Art Gallery part of the blog. Every time I turn around I find one sort or another of Art and Creativity that makes me go, “Woah! What is this?”

I’m also blown away by good writing: insightful blogs, humorous blogs, books, poetry. I often want to cut and paste all the great stuff I’ve come across for future reference. But if I kept everything I found, I’d have to link three or four computers together for research.

There are so many branches of the Creative Tree of Life I’d like to climb. Don’t you feel that way sometimes? Maybe its rooted in in my monochrome job. Computer play I like. Computer data entry, I do not. But it pays the bills and the co-workers are fun and it makes my day. So I do the best I can.

Needless to say, most of my spare minutes (break time, lunch time, bathroom time) is devoted to playing in my mind. I look at the bracelet I’m wearing at work that day, something I bought at one of those over-priced jewelry parties, and say, “Man...I can make this!” I read about friends’ blogs on photography, cats, cooking, and I think, “Wow!  I can do this!” I read a great novel, something fast and fun and romantic, and I think, “Man…I can write this!”

And of course there’s always been the traveling thing. I’ve got friends who write traveling RVs blogs and others who pursue quaint castles and villas.  I want to visit all the out-of-the-way places. I want to visit the museums in Italy and the moors of Scotland and the ranches in Texas. I’d love to go to a Broadway play and go to the Cherry  Blossom Festival in Japan and drink hot chocolate at a Swiss chalet.

There’s always so much I want to do. So many worlds to explore, so many things to try. But because of time and money and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, there’s so many things I’ll not be able to do.

I have managed to keep my fingers in the pies of creativity through the years. I’ve painted iron gates and stone walls and pots overflowing with ivy on the wall;  I’ve painted faux bricks around my dining room, and I’ve planted some awesome herb gardens. But my taste in activities has changed as I’ve gotten older. Maybe I’ve just worn out the old ideas — or maybe I’ve just run out of walls.

It could just be Spring Fever knocking at my door. Warm evenings and pink skies can do that to one. But sometimes I feel like a kid standing outside of Disneyworld. I want to ride everything at once. And I feel I’m running out of time.

Do you get struck with wanderlust like this? I know you have to pick and choose — everything from life to love to TV shows. We can turn this way, that way. But in the end we have to choose one over another. And when the choices are all so sweet, so enchanting, so revealing, it’s hard.

Let me know if you’ve had to choose, or if you’re still choosing your creative path. Are you are managing to do more than less, or if you are a one-thrill-at-a-time creator. Have you been tempted? Do you do a little of lots or lots of just a little?

Let’s all wander together, shall we?

Are You Or Are You Not?

writing girlSome of the best advice, the best posts, are posted by others. If you are on Facebook, you know what I mean. The following post was shared on my FB by my very special friend and writer Jane O, who found this on Author’s Publish (www.authorpublish.com), who published it from an article submitted by Chantelle Atkins (http://chantelleatkins.com/), Chantelle also is a fun writer, and she hit the target with her article, “How to Know if You Are a Writer.”  It’s a little over a thousand words, but it’s soooo true! See how many are you!

They say that everyone has at least one good book in them. Does that make you a writer? Or is it more than that? Is it something you decide to be, something you learn to be, or something you have always been whether you liked it or not?

The following statements are what I believe marks someone as a writer. The following factors distinguish writers from other individuals. You don’t have to agree with every statement except the last one. It is the ultimate defining factor, but all the others are key factors that inform why I am a writer

You stare into space. You gaze out of windows. You fall into trances. You drift away. Reality jerks you back. People get impatient and roll their eyes. Get your head out of the clouds, they said when I was young. They told me to stop daydreaming. Don’t stop daydreaming.

Your concentration is variable. Sometimes it is like a dog with a bone, fixed and savage, eyes narrowed, teeth clenched, hands like claws, fingers pounding at the keyboard. Nothing can break you. You keep going until your back aches and your neck cricks and your bladder protests. Other times you are in and out, like clouds in the sky, drifting and aimless. This is because people want your attention and your mind is somewhere else. Sometimes it is because words, images, and voices are forming and joining in your head. You have to sit back and be patient. Don’t try to force it.

Real life gets in the way. This is annoying. Especially when you are on a roll. Housework, real jobs, phone calls driving places, and shopping can all interfere with your writing. You’ve got to do all these things, because real life dictates that you must. But these things are often a chore, something you resent and rush through. Just to get back to the story.

You can’t sleep at night. Your head is full of it all. All of the time. It is relentless. Their voices are getting louder. They are drumming at your door. Kicking their feet against the wall. Moaning and whining. They want their turn. When is it going to be their turn? They’ve told you so much now. You know what they look like. You know what they sound like, how they speak, what slang they use, what their mannerisms are. You know their stories and their dilemmas. You just want to get some sleep! But you can’t, not until it is done. Not until things are settled. They are in control and they know it.

Inspiration comes at strange and wonderful times. Dialogue springs into your head. Characters grow and change, becoming more real. They sneer and jostle and roll their eyes and seep inside your consciousness. Plot twists you never knew you were capable of dreaming up. Oh my God! Where did that come from? Who would have thought? But of course…that would be brilliant…that would work, that would tie in and make sense…and then…and then…You have to get home quick. You need a pen. A phone to tap into. Anything. You must not forget. You must not lose it!

You people watch. You don’t know you are doing it. It is not on purpose. You are often a loner, an introvert, someone who carries things around, cradles them inside until writing sets them free. You think people are not for you, not really. But they are. Because they are the life and soul of the stories. And they are everywhere, doing what people do. They are sloshing drinks and swearing under their breath. They are wiping oil stained fingers down their shirt. They are sighing in the queue at the store,  biting their lips with some secret unknown worry. They are shiny with sweat, frantic with unrealized dreams and potential. They have whiskered chins and nicotine fingers, fat thighs, and newspapers rolled under arms, they have backpacks and are going somewhere, but where and why? They pass you on the street, they look through you, they are chatting on the phone, they are always living lives, secret and unknown. They could be anyone. They could have a story.

You suffer from crippling self-doubt. It has plagued you for years. You don’t blow your own trumpet or beg for attention. You swallow the words you really want to say. You don’t know why you write, I mean, who are you? Who are you to write anything? Who wants to know? Who will care? But you do it because you have always done it. One way or another. Sometimes life gets in the way and people tell you to wake up and stop dreaming. Make money, work jobs, pay bills, care for kids. They wonder why you care about writing. What is that? It doesn’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t make you any money. But you know why you do it. You do it because you would go crazy if you didn’t. Because the voices would get too loud to bear. Because the people inside your head would feel lost and let down, be voiceless and alone. Because of all the things you don’t say in real life, all the things you have stood by and watched and heard and felt and thought, because all those things need to come out. All those things. They need to be heard.

You write. Ultimately it comes down to this one fact. This is the crux of it. If you are a writer, you write. Whatever it is. Poems, fiction, non-fiction, blogs. Whether you share it or not, whether you publish it or not, whether you think you are good at it or not. You do it anyway, there is no choice.

7 Activities to Keep your A.D.D. Busy

circle-back-oI find that I’m always on my way to talk about one thing when I get turn around and talk about something else. I usually attribute this to my adult-onset A.D.D. Not making fun of the condition; just acknowledging that I have most of the symptoms.

I am learning to work with my short attention span. Sometimes it’s waving my arms like an orchestra conductor, forcing myself to slow down and breathe; other times it’s doing the whirling dervish, looking for the TV flipper that I just set down somewhere. There are other odd things that contribute to my upsidedownness — hubby working a different shift, too many dogs underfoot, having to sit still eight hours a day in front of a computer screen. The winter blues are hitting all of us full force, too. Tired of below zero, slush and piles of snow, boring browns and blacks as wardrobe colors.

What’s a feisty granny to do when she’s lost her zest?

I’ve come up with a list of activities that will combine my inability to sit still with my desire to nap half the time. See if you can identify with any of them.

1.  Multitask.  Now, most of you already do that. But if you orchestrate your movements, you can flow from one room to another, putting things away, running a dust rag across the TV on the way to the bathroom where you pick up dirty towels, drop the towels in front of the washer as you continue towards the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher, taking a clean glass to your bathroom where you stop on the way to fold a couple of shirts in the laundry basket. By the end of the night you’ll have cleaned several rooms and burned off a few hundred calories!

2.  Exercise Class. It’s never too soon to start an exercise regime. I’m not much of a class person, but I have an elliptical downstairs that I can move right in front of the TV. Maybe one day I’ll be able to watch all of Gone With the Wind on the thing.

3.  Writing.  Now, I know you wonder, “How can sitting and writing in the evening help with my antsy pantsyness?” Well, no one writes quite like me. I know Stephen King hides himself in a room for eight hours a day, others have great studies, library desks, even a comfy chair in a quiet corner. Not me. Half the time I’m plopped onto my favorite corner of the sofa, TV going on in the background (mostly Sirius radio), laundry rollin’ in the dryer, flash drives and laptop and spiral notebooks and my phone all within reach, a glass of milk, (sometimes a cookie), and a blanket for the chill. It’s amazing what I can get done with I just sit. What also helps is that I have ten things I want to do and only a couple hours a night to do it.

4.  Be a Granny. Although this task is usually delegated to weekends, there is never a slow, dull moment when I get together with the world’s cutest 4-year-old. Often there are other grandparents around too, so we all can take a breather when duty calls. But I find trying to keep up — and ahead — of him, especially mentally, is the perfect outlet for my whirling dervish moments.

5.  Research. I know when I say that word you think of  putting together 30 references on the bottom of a 50 page research paper on the life of a paramecium. But that’s not true. No matter what your hobby/career/dream, there is always something you can learn from. Learn about. Some take notes; some have great memories. When people say you can’t be a writer unless you’re a reader, that’s true. Even if it’s Yahoo headlines. But your curiosity should take you places that inspire you. Surrealistic artists, wire sculptors, quilting patterns. Ancient ruins. Alien ruins. You can learn from them all.

6.  Organize. Yes, I know that’s akin to cleaning, something many of us are allergic to. But especially now that winter is thinking about leaving, what better time to rearrange your closet or jewelry box or kitchen cabinets. It’s funny, but organization does bring a slowing of the heartbeat and the feeling of accomplishment. After all, how many bracelets or blue shirts can one have?

7. Music. This is my final go-to when I find I can’t slow down. A piano sonata by Beethoven can work wonders. So can smooth jazz or even a visit to the New Age station. No words, no pounding beat (I leave that for Saturday mornings). Just a steady rhythm, a mysterious melody, to a beat that slows down your racing pulse and forces you to relax. Dim lights help, too. Incense. Candles. Just don’t fall asleep and burn your house down.

We all have hobbies/careers/passions that make our blood boil and our ideas clamor to see the light of day. We have busy days, meetings, conferences, data entry and countless other responsibilities. If you are retired, there is still a list a mile long of things you want/need to get done. And the last thing you want to do during the evening or on weekends is to keep running at that breakneck pace.

Yet your love of your craft won’t let you rest, either.

Your best bet is to channel your energy into a positive force to be reckoned with. You may find yourself writing down thoughts for your next story as you mix cookie dough while watching “The Walking Dead” in the background, but, hey! Isn’t that what life is all about?

Get ‘er done!

 

The Sunday Evening Art Gallery has Opened!

its-not-about-me1I am not sure where the wanderlust for unusual art came from. It might be from stumbling across the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; it could be from looking at Mount Rushmore in person so many years ago.

But once I opened the door, I was Dorothy discovering the Land of Oz. Shapes and colors I’d never imagined appeared before me. More than that — creative minds reached out and touched the creative muse inside of me.  Art that was just a little — different. Unique. Art that brought discussion and engagement to the world.

I found that once I stumbled around and discovered these unique creations, I collected more images than a normal blog attention span could handle. So what better way to show even more examples of the creative mind than to create a gallery dedicated to them alone?

The Sunday Evening Art Gallery is a newly created site that is an expansion of my Sunday Evening offerings. It is an expansion of my weekly gallery — a place where you can enjoy additional creations from magical minds.

Including mine.

I will be adding new galleries every week, so please come and visit often. If you know of other artists/objects/representations of any form of Creative Art, let me know that, too. I am always open for more magic!

http://www.sundayeveningartgallery.wordpress.com

 

Share Your Island

x3_palm1 (1)Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.  J. Abdul Kalam

No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.   John Donne

You can make it, but it’s easier if you don’t have to do it alone.    Betty Ford

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.   Helen Keller

 

A lot of us have creative dreams that we dream alone. We dream of being a better painter, ceramics-er, quilter, speaker, writer. But we sit alone, dreaming these pipe dreams, afraid to bring our full potential to the forefront.

Yet when we bring out work outside the silence of our own world, amazing things happen.

Bells ring, adrenalin bubbles, and ideas explode. When we share our oh-so-private dreams with others who also have oh-so-private dreams, we find incentive, hope, and support with another living, breathing, being.

And it’s great.

I know some of the greatest writers seclude themselves, isolate themselves, and write torturous and incredible passages; painters hide in dark rooms and airy studios and create gorgeous imitations of life. But sooner or later these masterpieces need a second opinion. An idea of where to go from here. A conversation of how to get their message out there. Feedback on their thoughts and ideas.

Tonight I had hot chocolate with my bff, an incredibly talented and outgoing muse. We talked about speaking engagements and radio shows and blogs and writing contests and it was exciting. Last week I met with two other wonderfully creative and innovative muses whose creative talents lie in the worlds of animals and graphic arts. Over the weekend, a couple of fantastic scrapbookers. Everyone’s fields are different; everyone is engaged in different parts of their lives. But all of us have the desire to do more, be more, to have fun and discover what’s waiting for us right around the corner.

Some of my best friends are people I met when I was a part of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. Friends that are writers, poets, screenwriters. I miss the camaraderie conferences brought to my life. The natural support that comes from wanting the same things everyone at the table wants. I miss the support of those who are lost in their innovational sphere like I am.

When I get together with other creative spirits, something magical happens. It’s the opposite of what you first envision. Your thoughts clarify. You are free to boast about your accomplishments without feeling self conscious. You share thoughts on how to get your message across. What works, what doesn’t. What’s reasonable and what’s ridiculous.

Blogs are wonderful tools for communication, too. There are thousands of writers out there — thousands of abstract artists and thousands of jewelry makers and thousands of animal whisperers. Sometimes when you see the sheer numbers of those wanting what you want, it can be overwhelming, making you want to throw in the towel.

Don’t.

The numbers don’t matter. All that matters is that somewhere in the Internet world are others who are going through just what you are going through. You can’t be friends with them all. But you can connect with a talented few who are willing to take you along on their ride, and who want to ride along with you. People who laugh and encourage and feel just like you.

Don’t be afraid to dream and to encourage others to dream too. There is always so much room to grow. And nothing is more fun than growing along with others.

Make room on your island!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Dawn Whitehand

Australian abstract artist Dawn Whitehand starts off her “about” page this way:

I am an Australian artist, making unique mixed media sculptures from clay, found objects and textured materials which are based on organic natural forms.

In the Balance

I have always thought of myself as a traditionalist when it came to Art — Renoir, Rembrandt, Redlin — those people I can understand.

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I never really paid attention to Abstract Art until I wandered into Dawn’s world.

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Working from my studio on the outskirts of Ballarat at the base of a slumbering volcano, I am very aware of my environment, its constant changing, and its vulnerability. I am also very aware of the current global environmental crisis.

volcano

Within this context my art practice attempts to address these issues by making sculptural artworks that attempt to remind, though subliminally, the viewer of their innate connection to the Earth, and our reliance upon it for survival.

moments of yesterday

And I started to understand. A little. That all art doesn’t have to be literal. That trees don’t have to look like trees, and volcanoes didn’t have to look like volcanoes.

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That Art, like Emotions, like Life, is different for everyone. Some just choose to share their unique view through creative arts.

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The thrill of interpretation is the same thrill we take with each breath.  And that there’s always someone willing to share their breath — and view — with you.

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Dawn is a multi-talented spirit. She creates jewelry and pottery and custom-made art sculptures. You can find her art at https://dawnwhitehand.wordpress.com, and contemporary poems, art, and drawings at https://apoemandadrawingaday.wordpress.com/.

Stop by and learn a little bit of Abstract Art for yourself.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Nathan Sawaya

I remember when I was a kid, one of my favorite past times was building castles and mansions with Legos. Little black and white Legos.

 

death star

 

Amazing how those little blocks have changed the way the world looks.

 

captain america

 

Nathan Sawaya is a New York-based artist who creates awe-inspiring works of art out LEGO building blocks. Sawaya’s ability to transform LEGO bricks into something new, and his devotion to scale and color, enables him to elevate an ordinary toy to the status of fine art.

 

red

 

Today Sawaya has more than 2.5 million colored bricks in his New York and Los Angeles art studios.

 

new york public library lions

 

He doesn’t use special space station sets or pirate boat sets that you buy off the shelf — just bricks.

 

Bedroom

 

His work is obsessively and painstakingly crafted and is both beautiful and playful. He is both inspired and an inspiration.

 

hawk

 

He makes me want to pull out buckets and buckets of red and white and blue squares, yellow four-pane windows, and little red doors.

 

heartfelt

 

He makes me want to pull out those buckets and sit down with my son and grandson and build towers and people and flowers and anything else my dreams desire.

 

pencil fun

 

You can find more of Nathan Sawaya’s wonderful creations at http://brickartist.com/.

You will be amazed.

 

Are You Plugged In?

plugOne sign of getting older is that I seem to notice things I’ve never noticed before. I don’t know if it’s just swishing around past my prime, or rather just starting out in my prime, but I smell things no one else smells, hear things no one else hears, and notice actors and actresses being recycled through the years from one movie to another.

I love escapism. I don’t get to watch TV or movies as often as I’d like, as work and writing and yelling at the dogs takes up a lot of my time. But I find I wonder “how do they do that?” more often than not. And I’ll be the first to tell you that I am amazed at special effects. My simple brain cannot wrap around the fact that city landscapes and alien spaceships and Roman cities are nothing more than 1’s and 0’s running through a computer. I can’t even begin to understand how they made the German’s face melt in Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark; Transformers destroying the city (and each other); Inception, where people run on ceilings and curl cityscapes back on themselves. King Kong. Toy Story. Avatar. The list goes on.

Special effects, computer generated imagery. Galaxies and Mordor and everything inbetween. And none of it is real. Yet one can’t help but get sucked into those worlds as if we really stepped through the magic portal. Our minds quit trying to figure out what’s real and what’s fake and just get lost in someone else’s creativity.

Even more mind-blowing is that the same part of the anatomy that everyone has — even me — is where it all comes from. One’s mind. Which resides in one’s brain. Which we all have (but not all use…ah…a blog for another day).

So it is with any step into creativity. We have all gotten lost in a good book, holding our breath as we turn the pages. We have all looked at a painting or a sculpture and marveled at its simplicity or complexity. Some are able to take the next step in their creative career — go to school, get published, get a job at Industrial Light and Magic. Some turn their love of acting into dinner theater or Broadway, or their skill at playing a guitar or piano into symphony orchestras or rock bands.

So why is it, if we all have the same equipment, we don’t understand the same thing? Why is it so hard for some of us and a piece of cake to others? I can barely do basic Math, yet accountants and computer designers see numbers as easily as seeing the sun. Mankind creates the most amazing, breathtaking, impossible things — all with that one little tool in their skull.

The “whys” of why some people develop the gift and others don’t I will leave to philosophy and a glass of wine. The point is, we ALL have the ability to use that hunk of grey matter to open those magic portals. Some can’t wait for their free time to jump into their next creative project; others see creativity as a waste of time.

Maybe it’s just that the same plug that plugs into the outlet of special effects is on a wall of infinite outlets that lead to infinite destinations. Maybe it’s just the luck of the draw that one plug leads to quantum physics and one to insanity. One to painting and one to crayons. We are all plugged in to different outlets. We can’t change where we are plugged in, but we CAN choose to follow the path of electricity to outlet boxes scattered all over the universe.

Working with the material inside the brain box is a lot of work. Some just catch on faster than others. But when you find that junction box where creativity makes you feel good, you want to stay plugged in. Some may be taken back by the jolt that comes now and then from creative satisfaction, while others find it a natural high they want to come back to again and again.

I don’t know where all this deep philosophy came from this fine morning, but I do know one thing — don’t give up. Make time. Let yourself be. Let it flow. And know you can come back to this feeling any time.

Whew … and to think … I had this cosmic burst before I had my morning coffee!

 

The Twilight Zone

200There was a Twilight Zone marathon on television over the New Year’s holiday. It was a delight in its black-and-white originality. Like the original Star Trek, the episodes are pretty dated; stiff acting and unrealistic props make the episodes occasionally uneasy to watch.  But if you get past the technical blips of 50 years ago, you will see the beginning of real science fiction.

In 1955, Rod Serling branched out into television script writing with the TV business drama Patterns. Patterns earned Serling his first Emmy Award. His second Emmy win came a year later, with the 1956 production ofRequiem for a Heavyweight, starring Jack Palance.

What I didn’t know was that during the late 1950s, Serling fought the CBS network when they insisted on editing his controversial scripts.

In a television era today where the bloodier/sexier/bolder the better, it’s hard to imagine such censorship laid the early foundation of storytelling. Fortunately for us, instead of continuing to fight inevitable censorship, Serling turned from realism to the sci-fi fantasy genre in 1959 with the iconic series The Twilight Zone.

Side by side in the world with Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, Rod Serling was able to take the politics of the day and turn the truth into something real and foreboding. The themes that ran through The Twilight Zone continue to be relevant in 2015. Our horrors, our problems, may seem much more complicated these days, but we are not so different than those who feared the Cold War or alien invasions.

The real purpose of this blog was to read the “description” of Rod Serling’s leap to other worlds. It sums up the reason why writers write. No matter if it’s biography, science fiction, poetry, mysteries, or editorials. The reason we write is to escape into the “fifth” dimension. That world that exists beside us, beneath us, inside of us. Whether we can see it or not, the story is there. No matter where creativity lies, it’s waiting there for us. To open the door. To open the mind.

Listen:

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call “The Twilight Zone”.

Isn’t that ALL art?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — It’s Okay to Have a Big Head

I can’t begin to tell you the wonderful things I find on my way to other things. Art, in its most banal form, is an expression of emotion. Primal emotion. We all have those deep, basic feelings — we all just find different ways to express them.

Gao Zehn and Gao Qiang

You may say that some just have a “head” for creativity.

City Gardens, St. Louis

What makes artists want to create things larger than life?

Onaway, Michgan

Is it a chance to look into the eyes of God?

Wonderland, Calgary, Canada

Or is it merely a chance to challenge space? To see what our vision looks like fifty feet high?

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No matter what the artist’s vision, grand is grand. Ambition has no limits. No dream is ever too small, ever to big.

Changsha, China

Nothing is more impressive than wearing proudly a head that is too big for your shoulders. For only then do you glimpse the world on the other side of the rainbow.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Aquariums

Nothing soothes the savage beast (or is it breast?) than watching fish swim. There is something about their slow, undulating movements that simplifies the most pretzeled logic and unties the tightest knots.

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But then again, there are fish in tanks and fish in tanks.

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And as my mind begins to wander, so does my imagination…

geometric

And I begin to wonder — is this still relaxation?

3D-bar-aquarium

Are these fish tanks whims of a creative mind?

Unique-Aquariums-19

Their mind? Or Mine?

staircase

Suddenly, the possibilities are endless. Swimming and relaxing and contemplating all in one place.

creative-aquariums-2

Yet I began to wonder….can you take swimming and relaxing and contemplating…just a little too far?

toliet

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — For Use/Numen

Art comes in many forms. Sometimes technology walks hand-in-hand with mediums, transforming simple space into something wild and crazy — and creative.

tape image 1

A wonderfully imaginative design collective called For Use/Numen uses nothing but packing tape to create huge, self-supporting cocoons that visitors can climb inside and explore.

tape web 4

I have a hard enough time wrapping a package with packing tape. But wrapping an entire interior? Poles and beams and ceilings?

tape image 2

What is beautiful about these concepts is that each of these tape creations started as a thought, an idea. Ideas that grew from an inkling into a full-fledged piece of art.

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Your creativity can blossom into magic like this too. Never be afraid to take your idea to the next level. And the next. For this is just one version of what I love to call Unusual Art.

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More from the world of  For Use/Numen can be found around the Internet such as their own website, http://www.numen.euhttp://www.fastcompany.com/1656197/designers-spin-spidey-worthy-webs-packing-tape , or at inspirational art sites as http://www.teachart.org/.

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Just make sure your tape is sticky-side down.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Stilettos

In the beginning of October I wrote a blog called Magic Shoes (http://wp.me/p1pIBL-Dq) about the debacle of buying gym shoes. The pic I found for that article was awesome.

Nike SB Dunk High Heel Shoes 126034

But in searching for the perfect image I came across others that made my eyes (and my feet) pop.

rose-stem-heels-by-mai-lamore

I can’t tell you how many foot-squishing, toe-breaking, gorgeous shoes I came across.

1246187953_Sexy_Stiletto_High_Heel_Party_Shoes__1__212516135312069

I have flat feet, so I have never fantasized about wearing shoes like these. I believe you have to have a certain kind of foot, along with a certain kind of personality, to walk out of the house with creations such as these.

alien-high-heels

If you can get past the outrageousness of the height, you can admire the creativity of the mind behind the shoe.

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So instead of viewing these heels as foot torture to the hundredth degree, I choose to look at them at creative freaks of nature.

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Just make sure if you think of dancing in these shoes,  you have a paid health insurance policy as well.

GIANMARCO-LORENZI-rhinestone-collector-sandal4

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Bubbles

I’m forever blowing bubbles

Pretty bubbles in the air

Amazing Popular Landmarks in Bubbles (7)

They fly so high, nearly reach the sky

Then like my dreams they fade and die

Fall Bubble

 

 

When you look at a bubble, what do you see?  Do they reflect reality? They are ethereal. Like a thought. A kiss. A memory.

 

Bubble_Bunny

 

 

 

 

They exist for only a moment. Yet resonate in our memory long after.

bettyhallphotography

 

 

They make us wonder: What did I just see?

 

 

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The possibilities are endless. You ask — is it real? Does it matter?

 

museum bubble

 

 

Are they reflections of our existence? A moment out of a million? A billion? Out of a nanosecond?

 

Bubble_Dragon

 

 

 

It doesn’t matter if their existence makes a difference in the world. A difference in my life, or yours. All that matters is they are beautiful. Fleeting. They float on air. And for the briefest of moments, they exist.

 

bubble_animals_by_catbleu-d5whmop

 

As do we.

 

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Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — M.C. Escher

When you think of M.C. Escher, what do you think of?

I think of college dorm rooms with Escher posters on the wall, symbols of pop culture, statutes of intricate confusion and (no doubt) sources of psychedelic contemplation. They were the kind of images you were supposed to look at and see if the fish move or if the stairs go anywhere. And if you stared long enough, your whole world tilted sideways.

 

 

LW399-MC-Escher-Convex-and-Concave-19551

 

As an adult I have revisited his world of lithographs and woodcuts and wood engravings, and have discovered a delightful new way to look at the world.

 

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Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) is one of the world’s most famous graphic artists. During his lifetime, he made 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings and sketches. These feature impossible possibilities, explorations of infinity, and the magic of mathematics.

 

 

LW268-MC-Escher-Hand-with-Reflecting-Sphere-1935

 

 

Art like this is done every day by those familiar with computer graphics. But the curved perspectives, the stairs to infinity, the play of light and dark, were sketched at the turn of the century. Which, to me, makes it even more fascinating.

 

LW348-MC-Escher-Other-World-1947

 

When you stop and look — really look — at the thought and planning that went into the impossibilities in Escher’s work, it makes you appreciate his work even more.  Where do those stairs really go? Which angle am I supposed to be identifying with? Is it a fish or is it a bird?

LW306-MC-Escher-Sky-and-Water-I-1938

 

Minds like Escher’s work in the fourth dimension. It’s as if they look down at the world from a strange angle and record what they see.

 

 

LW441-MC-Escher-Moebius-Strip-II-1963

 

Take some time and visit Escher’s official website, http://www.mcescher.com.  You will find yourself wandering through gallery after gallery, wondering how a human mind could be so creative yet so spiral. Take a few moments and just look at the artwork — you will be enchanted by his point of view, and lost in his sketches.

 

LW344-MC-Escher-Eye-1946

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Clark Little

Water. So soothing. So refreshing. So tumultuous. A friend one day, an adversary the next. Yet it makes up 70% of our bodies.

 

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I have seen hundreds of beautiful images of water. Waterfalls, lakes, oceans. One is as  breathtaking as the next. But when I came across Clark Little’s take of water, I found a new inspiration from it.

 

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Clark not only takes pictures of water, of waves, but takes them from an angle only surfers can see. And in his creativity, he captures not only the force of water but the peace that lies just beyond.

 

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Whenever I see pictures like this, I imagine a story to go with it. But then again, any extraordinary image can have a story to go with it. I love pictures that make me ask, “How do they do that?”

 

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Alas, like the magician and their tricks, if you knew how it was done, a bit of the sparkle goes with it. I would rather look at something in awe and keep the childlike wonder of how it works.

 

clark_little_sandy_barrel_wave

 

 

You can find more of Clark’s wonderful photography at http://www.clarklittlephotography.com/. And go ahead — take your time — wander through the waves. A whole new world exists just on the other side of it.

 

 

 

Something New!

The older I get (I never get tired of saying that!), the more I am taking time to discover corners of the world that I’ve never seen before. Now, that statement is all encompassing, all omnipotent. Yet for me, it’s very simple. I can only explore one line of extraordinary at a time. There is fantastic scenery, scrumptious foods, unusual land formations and mystical forms to be discovered.

For me, it is Unique Art.

What does that mean?

There are thousands of fantastic images floating around the Internet. Blogs and websites dedicated to all branches of the hallowed world of sculpture, photography, painting, sketching. I couldn’t possibly visit, showcase, and recommend all the beauty that exists outside my middle-aged sphere.

So I have decided that once a week I will showcase creativity that stands outside of reality. Outside the every day. Now, everything can fit into those parameters. So I hope to show you images you’ve never seen or imagined or saw somewhere on Facebook and let pass. Some will have links to websites; others will just be visions that have passed my way. I will honor the sites I borrow the visions from, and I do hope you take a few minutes to visit their homeworld.

If you’ve come across any unique worlds, let me know. Let’s make our next 20 years as out-of-the-box as we can make it!

And if any of my wanders tickle your fancy, let me know that, too. For I’d love to have company along the way….

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Kurt Wenner

The imagination is so much bigger than the mind can conceive.

 

The_Tall_Ship

Do you let your eyes tell you what is real? What is make believe? And in the reality of this universe (and, undoubtedly others), does it matter?

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I am swept away by the street art of Kurt Wenner. This fantastic artist attended Rhode Island School of Design and Art Center College of Design, worked for NASA as an advanced scientific space illustrator, and in 1984,  invented an art form all his own that has come to be known as anamorphic or 3D pavement art. A form of perspective, his  art is depth and illusion wrapped up in classical dimensions.

StreetArt1.Kurt Wenner

This is street art. Street Art! I can’t imagine the time and talent of a genius such as Kurt. But I can marvel at his magic.

StreetArt2

You will find yourself spending hours at his site. Or returning again and again. Have a good time! Find him at http://kurtwenner.com/.

14_Pompei_Room Kurt Wenner

Art Thou Curious?

thWhen I think of museums, I think of antiquities. Old, musty books. Relics from the Renaissance. Crystal serving pieces from the Russian Dynasty. I am not a Modernist. Or a Futurist. But I have recently discovered that I am a Fascinationist. And what a delight! Through the magic of one of my favorite bloggers, Hugmamma’s MIND, BODY and SOUL, (http://hugmamma.com), and a newly followed blog, Sandra at Third Person Travel (http://thirdpersontravel.com) , my senses were awakened by images of art and buildings that just blew my mind.

The museum was the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain (http://www.guggenheim-bilbao.es), which, in all closed-mindedness, I’d never heard of. The image that caught my fancy is called “Maman”, by  Louise Bourgeois, who, according to Guggenheim, “created a rich and ever-changing body of work that intersected with some of the leading avant-garde movements of the 20th century.” To an armchair museumist, that doesn’t ring home. Ring a bell. Ring a doorbell. But how cool is this?

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You don’t have to be a modern art aficionado to be able to appreciate a bronze, marble, and stainless steel sculpture.

Or how about Tall Tree & The Eye by Anish Kapoor?

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The Gug says, “This illusionistic work continues the artist’s examination of complex mathematical and structural principles embodied in sculptural form. The mirrored surfaces of the orbs reflect and refract one another, simultaneously creating and dissolving form and space.”

That’s a lot of four-dimensional words for a wonderful stainless steel and carbon steel sculpture of shiny balls.

I am an over-the-top advocate of teaching old dogs new tricks. You don’t always have to understand something to appreciate it. To enjoy it. To experience it. I never had sushi till I was 50. Who would have thought? Who would have thought that squeamish me would look forward to watching The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones — bloody, flashy TV shows?

Sometimes your introduction to something new is through your kids. I know my TV voyeurism came from my college son. I just tried quinoa for the first time two weeks ago. That was recommended by my best friend. There are as many types and tastes in food, art, books, and movies as there are fish in the sea. Almost. Why not open your mind to some of them?

I have to admit I would not have wandered to the Guggenheim Museum in Spain had I not spotted that unusual sculpture on another blog. Through other blogs I have seen the most amazing pictures, poetry, and points-of-view. Opportunities I never had when I was younger because we didn’t have the Internet when I was younger. We could be voyeurs by reading books and magazines and taking classes.

But now…

Now the world is open to all of us. We don’t have to age mentally, artistically, or metaphysically. Give something new a chance. You don’t have to live with giant metal spiders in your back yard, but appreciating the creativity that went into something like that takes little effort at all.

I have to admit I don’t get modern paintings that are all one color with a different color circle in the corner, or a plate with a piece of kale and a silver dollar-sized scallop and one drizzle of green that’s called dinner. But then again, not everyone finds fantasy fiction interesting (which is what I write).  There is something out there for everyone. Something new. Every day.

I encourage you to check out the Guggenheim (there is one in Spain, Venice, Abu Dhabi, and New York). Since this blog is about art, why not check out a local art fair?  They’re at  local colleges and in the park and even in the mall. Look at the world through someone else’s eyes.  And, of course, a day trip to a museum would be frosting on the carrot cake of life. Squeeze one into your summer.

It will add years to your soul life. And couldn’t we all use a few more?

 

 

Get the Growth Going!

thCA2UU93SToday is the day.

Whatever February 18th is, this is the day.

On my way to work, the translucent, waxing gibbous moon winked at me.

I checked my horoscope. Scopes. (1) Move forward with confidence; there is support behind you. (2) No creative projects today. Might have mental blocks. Put projects aside for later when you have clear mind. (3) Take control of things that might slow you down. Learn about yourself. Understand those around you.  I figure if I throw all three in a bowl and stir, a positive, move forward message will float to the top.

I checked my online one-card tarot. Knight of Wands. Essence of fire. Filled with passion for life. Absolute sincerity. Daring. Sexy. Exciting. Boundless creativity.  I’ll take that one. My phone tarot slipped me a different card. Nine of Wands. Wisdom and strength through experience. Learn through personal experience. Well, after what I’ve been through the past through years, this could just as well been the Piece of Cakes.

My Chinese horoscope. The Dragon. I may be experiencing an unusual wave of doubt or confusion today. It could be hard to make a choice between multiple options today. Well, no worry. I don’t have multiple choices today. One choice. One direction.

Time to water and fertilize that creativity seed that I planted in my head somewhere last fall. I can tell you, there hasn’t been much growth this winter. Death, unemployment, sick cats and bad weather have put a hold on my energy and my creative spirit. But no more. Water that puppy and get it barking!  I can’t sit around and wait until Spring to correct this or add to that. Life is flying by as it is. And my calendar is filling up.

I wrote a blog at Retirement and Good Living called Planning Ahead (http://retirementandgoodliving.com/planning-ahead/). It’s all about writing things down ahead of time. Your life is zooming past the way it is; it doesn’t hurt to plan some things ahead and write them down on a calendar.  Now, I don’t necessarily write my writing goals on a calendar. But I belong to an email list that gives me oddles of contests that I can enter, and another one that tells me about places that pay for writing. So it might help if I schedule some of those cash cows on my calendar, too.

The e-mail address addy for contests (free and fee) is crwropps-b-subscribe@yahoogroups.com .

The little-more-professional outlets for writing comes from Freedom With Writing http://www.freedomwithwriting.com .

So the planets are in alignment and for better or worse my horoscopes are in alignment too. (I’ll just jam them into line). I am ready to start reaping what I’ve sown in my head.

Better that than the nonsense that grows there already.

Take A Picture — It Will Last Longer

cameraI’ve been having a thing for photography lately. I am a writer by heart, but my recently-discovered ADD (my own diagnosis) has opened a number of other doors of possibilities. I had some half-idea of starting a second blog, maybe under my name, maybe not, that would pretzel together faerie hiding places, scenic photography, and sprinkles of poetry, quotations, and philosophy. It’s still a crysalis, waiting to butterfly, but it’s just another road that I want to drive down. Even if it’s a dead end. I don’t have a fancy camera; the camera on my phone is about the best I can do.  I try and capture the magic of the wild, of places where  faeries might hide, and all that.

This photography thing is kinda getting out of hand, though. Last week I did a double-role dance with my SUV (I survived, and am fine). Landed on the tires. My phone, IPod, and various things had flown out the shattered window, leaving me dazed and photoless. Once I came to my wits and found that I was indeed alive, not bleeding, nothing broken or missing, a passerby called 911 and the possey came to the rescue. Someone found my phone and I called hubby who in turn called son, and both personal calvary came to the rescue, along with the county Sheriff and local EMTs. My doors were crushed in, so I had to have one pryed off so I could make a graceful exit to the ambulance.

So what does this have to do with my story? Well, seeing as I was no more off center than usual, as the sheriff and others talked to me, I was handing my phone to my son, saying, “Take pictures! Take pictures!” Of what, praytell? My crooked view of the sky? Of men in yellow jackets? Of a SUV that had seen better days?

The seeds of creativity are planted deep. They sprout helter skelter, like in a wild field. You never know when creativity will rear its sassy head. Sitting in the passenger side, waiting for them to kindly open my crushed-in door, I’m more interested in taking pictures of the moment, than wondering if I’ve got a concussion or a broken leg. I’m surprised I didn’t pull out a spiral notebook from my bag and start writing a poem or something.

I’m sure if I were more seriously injured there would be no room for levity. I’m not making fun of being in an accident; I’m speaking about our survival instinct. When the  immediate danger passes, humans tend to find release in the oddest ways. It must be because we’ve cheated tragedy, and find the closest outlet we can to vent the madness that just passed. Those who have passed the scythe often react in upside down ways. Some take up a dangerous pasttime, some laugh and get dizzy; some swallow the seriousness of it all and become morose and fearful. And the older you get, the more upside your reaction can be.

I don’t think I wanted to take pictures to add to the faerie blog. On the contrary, there was not much to take pictures of — crunched SUV, yellow-jacketed EMTs, worried family members. Maybe it was just that I wanted to remember the moment I cheated death. I mean, no one cheats it in the long run, but I was able to close its door for now. See ya. Don’t want to be ya. Don’t want anything to do with ya.

Adversity rears its ugly head all the time. Cancer, diabetes, estranged children, divorce, all stand at the doorstep, waiting — or more like forcing — their way in. We can vitamin, we can exercise, we can love or hate or not care either way. That doesn’t stop our cars from crashing or our companies downsizing. We can be caught off guard at any time.

So why not let the creative vine wrap around you and become a part of who you are? Don’t ask why a moment calls for a poem or an ink sketch. Don’t worry about the “when” of the muse — just be aware that he/she appears at both opportune and inopportune times.  The close call I had with tomorrowland reminded me just what was important … what was worth living for. Grandchildren. Sunsets. Chilly fall breezes. Birds singing and cats climbing on my lap. Chocolate and sappy movies and rock and roll. Makeup parties and sleepovers and writing contests.

You have your own reasons to fight off that nasty scythe. Fight it off with off with all your might. Fight it with your creativity.

You never know when you’ll be in a photographic moment.

Just Because It’s Different

fantastic-photo-3It’s a beautiful Fall Saturday. Cool afternoon, a bit of sun. Don’t have to go to work today. Going to make Chicken and Goo for dinner tonight.  I look around — the kitchen is a far cry from what it was when I first woke up this morning.  An accumulation of not being home, a full dishwasher I didn’t unload, grocery shopping, various machinery I/we didn’t put back where we found it, all made for a mess one step away from a bomb having gone off.  But I sleepily (but thoroughly) cleaned said disaster area, and moved around to work on the other piles that had accumulated from a week’s worth of busy days.

My first downfall was to put on some smooth jazz from Sirius on the telly. Second was to throw a load of laundry to be changed around “later.”

Never do later. Later never comes.

Second — and final — mistake was to go on the computer. Wrote a short piece for a publication, checked my Facebook, then came here. Decided it was time for a new blog look.  I’m like the home decorator’s best friend. If I could move every so often and decorate a new place to live I would. Not that I would feel as home as I do now — it’s just that I love playing with space and color and atmosphere.

That’s probably because I’m never satisfied with where I am.

I mean,  I AM happy. I AM blessed. I DO love my house and the view and the music and my decorations and most of my wardrobe.  But being a creative sprite means I always want to tinker with things. Not knowing what I want half the time, I tinker to the point where I mess things up and forget what was there originally.  A writer always edits and rewrites and clarifies just where their story is going. A good blogger has a path, a destination in mind when they share thoughts and words. An artist knows if their painting will be modern or traditional. And they are good with that.

Me? I have a dozen things I want to do and not enough time to develop any of them. I love this blog…this is what I want to do. I want to share laughs and insights and the weirdness of the world as I get older.  But I also have a photography blog in mind…something to do with faeries and nature paths and mystical hiding places. I’d also like to do a blog that shares eclectic pieces of the world (poetry, images, thoughts) in a more delicate sort of way. (Like one of the blogs I follow….http://davidkanigan.com/… Lead, Learn, Live…go check it out).  I also thought about starting a blog that would highlight some of my writing through the years.

But who has time to create all these things?  I thought of changing this blog theme today, and did nothing but waste two hours of time trying to adapt a new style, none of which tickled my fancy. I would have been better off doing research or writing something or looking at images.  Now the afternoon is winding down and the laundry needs to be switched and the livingroom could use a vaccuuming and the bathroom definitely needs a wiping down.

Do you all have pretzeled moments like this? As a creative sprite I’m sure you must, although the form the pretzel takes is molded more around your lifestyle.  I love my life and everything…I believe that all these loose threads of creativity are here for me to collect and make something out of when the time is right.  At least I have fun in the planning stages.

My last creative flourish earlier was to type in “fantastic images” into Yahoo just for the beans of it. I downloaded the first one that made me say “wow”…for no other reason than I found it creative. Consider that creative itch scratched (for now.)

What Is True Success?

So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we  had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.

Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too.  Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.

This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb.  I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in  my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.

That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture.  Yet more often I think  I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.

How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator;  good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.

Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short  story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely.  I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers.  I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the  result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off  the main character.

There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.

So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.

I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world…  humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com.

There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.

Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…

Claudia Anderson

The Muse Goes Camping

Last weekend I tried to escape by myself to get a couple of days worth of ME into the cosmos, doing nothing but writing, sleeping, and downing an occasional bottle of Reisling.  Alas, my grandbaby (who is two) and my daughter-in-law wanted to get away too. So how can you say no to that?

This weekend I am going camping with extended family (which includes the aforementioned daughter-in-law and GB) — three days of isolation up in Door County somewhere. Since there were plenty of extended family members to entertain said GB (and knowing my daughter-in-law could use a break), I thought I’d outline a sequel to the novel I finished a while ago. Now I find out there is no electricity. Hmmm. No electricity = no computer.

So I have to put my creative muse to the side — AGAIN.  Here I am in my blogs, encouraging everyone to get in touch with their muse and get into whatever creative endeavor sings to them, yet I find myself putting my creativity to the side in order to have more exposure to something else I love more.

Now there is love, and there is love. When you love your kids, you love them all 150%, no matter if they have green hair or ACT scores along side of Einstein.  We love our dogs, our cats, and occasionally the rest of our family. We love music, movie stars, and chocolate, although those loves are tinted by the recipient’s inability to directly respond back to us. But what happens when you find an activity, an expression of your true self, that you really enjoy doing. but you don’t have time enough to prove that love?

I hate always being an armchair lover. I would “love” to go to Ireland or Italy,  I’d “love” to learn how to cook a souffle, I’d “love” to ride a scooter to and from work, or Ride the Wild Surf at Ventura Beach.  But the odds of any of those “loves” are as good as getting struck by lightning (which is at least better than winning the lottery).  So I learn to channel my out-of-the-box loves into forms that I can handle in small bunches.  Classical music (Schumann, Mozart), rock and roll (Molly Hatchet, Lynyrd Skynyrd), television (Closer and House reruns), taken in small batches, often scratch the itch from the creative mosquito. Something is better than nothing, they say. And it’s true.

Better to get one bite of rich, dark chocolate, than never know what it tastes like at all.  Better to get one quilt patch done rather than still be waiting to buy the material. We don’t have to be a quantity-driven society; in most situations quality is just as important (if not more so). So I can’t spend a week or two with aforementioned GB — ten minutes of him laughing and saying “gamma” fills me during my lonely times. Walking around a city block isn’t the same escape as walking through the woods, but grass is grass and air is air, and just being out in Mother Nature does wonders for your psyche. You all have little experiences you wish you could turn into bigger ones…just jump on the little ones and forget about the bigger ones. You’ll be surprised how much satisfaction you get from them, too.

Don’t let your inability to have it “your way” stop you from getting it any way you can. Just when your schedule can’t get any more screwed up, a patch of blue opens before you, allowing you a chance to connect with your creativity.  Don’t be afraid to work around it, with it. Let the tease remind you of why you love your hobby in the first place. You’ll eventually find time. They also say wherever there’s a will there’s a way. That’s true, too.

So now when I go camping this weekend I’ll be prepared. Guess I’ll have to create the old fashioned way —  with a pen and a spiral notebook and a flashlight.

I just have to be careful not to get the grand baby’s smores on my  paper.

Dinner With the Queen

In the mundane throng of your very predictable life, don’t you now and then want to just break out of the box and do something different? Now that you have the experience of all those years behind you, don’t you want to make that experience mean something? Don’t you ever want to be bigger than life? Just for a day?

Oh, you say, I am happy being just who I am. Of course you are. We all try and walk that fence between selfish and selfless; between modesty and bravado. But admit it. There are many times in our very predictable life that we’d like to do something unpredictable. Of course, unpredictable varies from person to person. Bungee jumping is one way, as is impulse buying a Hummer. More low key, there are times when we want to guffaw aloud instead of snickering quietly. We want to dance naked in the living room and wear chuggy boots with a sundress. But most times we settle for eating Thai as a means of excitement. While that sounds fairly adventurous, I assure you, the dreams of the experienced are filled with possibilities never imagined by the inexperienced. In other words, the older we get, the looser the parameters of our dreams become.

There was a time in my life that I worried about what others thought of me and my opinions. A time when I tried to fit in, vaporously reflecting their ideas on religion, child rearing, and employment. It was important that I pulled my own weight, never rocked the boat, nor raise the hackles on someone’s neck. I was (and still am) respectful of others.

But eventually I got to a point in life where I wanted the river to flow where I wanted it to flow. I wanted my own boat, my own crew, and my own destination. I found that the further I wander down the road, the less I’m concerned about what I have done and more about what I can do. The thought of being no more than a passing blush in the cosmos makes my selfishness bubble to the surface. So I find myself wanting to be bigger than life: a heroine to all, someone who makes a mark and leaves it for others to decipher. That doesn’t mean I want to be an assassin or a movie star or a nuclear physicist. But a motivational speaker, a middle-aged trend setter, a famous author — what’s wrong with that?

Maybe that’s not really “out of the box,” but for me, it’s peeking out from under the lid. I’ve been a loving mother, a great wife, a dedicated friend, and all-around good person. I have dotted all of my i’s, crossed my t’s, and given to the United Way.

But now and then I feel this little quiver in my reality that makes me wonder what it would be like to leave the cookie baking and office typing to someone else and find something different to do with my time. How cool it would be to become a fashion maven or a world traveler. To stand before a crowd and sing like an angel. To be the next Food Network Star. To be asked to be on the next “Tour of Homes” because my house and garden are so incredibly fantastic that the world ― or at least the citizens of Whitewater ― have to experience them. To nosh with Stephen King at lunch and have dinner with Queen Elizabeth. To design a line of clothes that would knock the socks off Calvin Klein or raise enough donations to build a new wing on the local hospital.

All right — maybe not the “Queen Elizabeth” part or the “wing on the hospital” part ― but to create something new, something eye-catching, something memorable, would be a trip I would never forget.

We love and appreciate the little things in our life. Our friends, our family, all are a part of who we are. We work hard and, if we are lucky, play hard. Being famous would take us away from all that we worked so hard to create. And, after all, celebrity does have its price, privacy and anonymity being the first two privileges to go.

But while those platitudes make perfect sense, every now and then my daydreams take a cosmic swing to worlds just past my fingertips. Writing a best seller that becomes a movie lover’s dream, people paying $200 a ticket just to have lunch with me, opening a boutique that splashed between the covers of famous magazines ― what a thrill that would be! Who wouldn’t like to be a travel reporter visiting small European towns or American homesteads and talk about their cuisines and cultures? Who wouldn’t want to have their art on display at at the Art Institute or the Milwaukee Art Museum? Who wouldn’t want to be the one person the President could come to for advice?

Aspirations breed inspiration. Not being afraid to follow the muse within your heart brings freedom to your soul. Feeling positive about who you are enables the world to mold itself around you. Most ― if not all of us ― will never get a chance to live out those kinds of dreams. Not on that grand of a scale. But that doesn’t mean our inspirations can’t be grand. That our forward movement can’t be grand. Understand that grand is all in one’s point of view. Don’t worry what any other point of view is but yours. Dress up for any or all occasions. Paint a mural on a wall. Start blogging your most outrageous ― and delicious ― recipes. Grow an exotic garden, take pictures of it and enter them into photography contests. Design jewelry. Show horses or dogs. Enter your prized whatevers at the State Fair.

Don’t be afraid to break out now and then and have a good time. What others think of you is not nearly as important as what you think about yourself.

Besides ― I’m sure the queen made other dinner plans anyway.