Sunday, October 31, 2010

BOO! A Halloween of Birds, Beasts, and Creativity

The Birds Are Coming to Get You!!
raven silhouettes on storm door

Did you ever see Hitchcock's The Birds? If you haven't, you should.

From then on, every flock of birds you see settling on tree branch and phone wire will seem vaguely eerie.

My part-way-done attempts at Halloween have led me to this... the ravens look good, but there should be more, and some branches. Also, we only carved one pumpkin. The other was breakfast for squirrels. I wonder if I did silhouettes of squirrels on the door if it would serve the same eerie effect?? Maybe only to pumpkins.

I painted claws on the boy for his vampire costume, I painted claws on me for my witch costume. And last night I finished my witch hat. I'm rather proud of it and might make a tutorial for it. It's not really that difficult, but it's hard to keep the glue in all the right places. A tutorial can count as a part of Art Every Day Month, right? Tutorials are complicated business. I mean "art." because it will be counting, because I am a rebel, you know.

Any way, this is just a note to say, I've got to get out of here and start getting ready for the busiest day of the year. Or one of, anyway.

Here we go, Halloween, and then on to AEDM and nanowrimo.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Creating!

Happy Writing!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Of Martha Stewart, Supermoms, and Just Plain Ole Me

Girl and Ghost at Dusk

I've been gearing up for Halloween round these parts, feeling like, between work and writing and sleep and cooking and caring for kids, I am not stepping up to the kind of Halloween I feel I should be doing.

I know it's silly and perfectionist and SuperMom (in a bad way) but I still feel guilty for not doing the Halloween party and not hand making the vampire cape (or not even hemming it, when I cut the adult one down to size) or not doing the jack'o'lantern early. But there it is. We don't need a handmade vampire cape. The squirrels would eat the jack'o'lantern, were I to carve it, and to be honest, I just don't have it in me to host a kids party.

So. I shall focus on the things I have been able to do.

Like the ghost flying on the porch. With the girl (demon-child) dancing along. (Easy DIY-- Two lengths of tulle, wrapped around some scrunched up bubble wrap for a head, tied with a strip of tulle and thumbtacked to the porch, allowed to blow in the breeze.)

Or like the spider ring. Plain, 20 cent plastic spider rings, but with some gel medium and a dusting of glitter, something that a princess might wear. I also did a black one dusted in red glitter, especially for a little vampire that I know. But he's taken it off to his kindergarten Halloween party, and I am too slow to photoshoot.
Or this... My silhouettes of crows. I will show you at a later date what I did with these guys.

So what if I have done all my Halloween preparations in the last couple of days. When did we start doing holidays a month before the date, anyway.

Hey, I'm not Martha Stewart. I'm not even the bootleg Martha Stewart. I'm too busy with other stuff. And that's okay.

We don't have to live up to the perfectionist standards of those who make a living off of their housewifery. And we don't have to pretend we are super beings able to leap tall to do lists in one bound.

We are just people. And we have goals and yearnings and struggles and talents and imperfections and exhaustions and realities to live. We are just who we are, what we are, when we are.

And that is just fine.

Happy Halloween, at any level of celebration.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid-- Halloween, The Living Dead and Nanowrimo

Cemetery in Michigan (oooooOOOOOOooooooooOOooohhh... creepy...)

I am getting ready for everything.

Getting ready for Halloween. Goodness, these kids take a lot of work. Vampires and princesses. Witches for me. That reminds me, I have to make another version of my mini witches hat for my costume, because the one I made looks like... well... a mess. Maybe I'll photograph this version, and you can follow along.

Getting ready to finish my first novel. I need to take a break on that, but I'm still sending out copies to readers and receiving feedback. Thank goodness for google documents.

Getting ready to start the next book. Research research research. Outline outline. All in the few moments in between living life.

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo. Sorry if I talk about it a lot. Talking about it gets the juices flowing.

Actually that's true of all creative projects. Immersing yourself in the world of your project gets you excited to get going.

And another thing about nanowrimo... it's not just the deadline that gets you writing, it's all the months (especially October) where you aren't allowed to write according to the rules. And the anticipation of writing starts to build, and you think about your book and write around the writing (outlines, character sheets, research etc) and all of that serves to deepen your book and your thoughts and your entrapment in the world of the book, so that when you FINALLY start, there is something rich and deep and alive.

I am a big proponent of the "holding" stage of creativity. That's when you DON'T jump in to your creative project at the first urge of inspiration, but you let it live inside of you, in the darkness of your subconscious, growing like some sort of fungus or root system or larvae. Only the really strong ideas will last. And they will attract other strong ideas. And they will all grow and transform with the close proximity and the heat of your attention and the magic of your imagination. And then you will have a living being and when you finally start, you have already done so much inner work that the writing part takes on a life of it's own.

So with nanowrimo, on November First, (not coincidentally the Day of the Dead) your novel is ready to rise from the darkness and take corporeal form, like all sorts of uncontrollable frightening beings--ghosts, zombies, vampires, novels.

Are you scared yet?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Projects and Creative Process

Sketch, unfinished

Where oh where have I been?

I had a little bit of a breakdown, actually. Oh, not like that, but after working furiously this weekend, and marinating in angst over finishing my final draft and synopsis and query letters before November 1st so I could start nanowrimo, I realized that I needed another pass of revision, more research on agents, and more time to write a good query and synopsis.

I will not be able to send out my novel this week. Period.

Even though it is better for my book and for me, once I realized that, I got a little funky. I felt like I was trying so hard and working so hard but no matter how hard I tried, I was always left with nothing at the end.

Of course, that's not a true feeling. I am not nowhere now. I have worked hard, but my novel is there, all four drafts of it, and I am farther along in the process than I have ever been. And some time off from the first novel means I will be able to get more feedback from my readers, and have time to make a really good query letter, which is all important. And I will also be able to add another layer of meaning to the book, since I am writing the sequel. (Oh I know people say to sell it before you write the next book, but I would write it even if I didn't get it sold, I do it because I love it, so, thus my decision. And I don't want to miss nanowrimo.)

The truth is art is a process. And something huge like a novel is even more of a process. Or this sketchbook, which is not about one page, but about the whole thing.

I am starting my sketchbook project. My theme is "If you lived here..." It wasn't my first choice of theme, but I had technical difficulties and couldn't get the shopping cart to take my order (for weeks, seriously!) until I changed my subscription and when I finally ordered my journal, my favorite themes were taken.

But, I enjoy a challenge of theme and inspiration, and I thought it would be interesting to see what came up.

I did my first sketch while waiting for my son's school bus. And the second one, too a few days later. And then I realized how much I love some of these cool old houses here in my town. Wondering about what it's like to live there.... And whabam, I had my way in. Not sure what this project will look like when it's done, what it will be like to live there, in that project, but I'm giving it a shot.

But let me tell you, I don't intend to just sketch houses. Something is going to happen to these houses over the course of the next couple of months. I plan to sketch a bunch, fill the book, and then go back over it and add color, detail, print, collage... whatever feels right. I'm thinking Art Every Day Month can help me with getting this done before the deadline. I'll probably have to return to my post bedtime/primetime tv painting schedule to get this done. And I'm looking forward to seeing how the sketchbook project (which I won't get to keep) will affect my art in general.

So that's where I am. With not much final work to show you, but hip deep in process, and done with the angst (for now).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

On Creativity, Blogging, Writing and Feedback

I haven't blogged this much week, but I didn't want anyone to feel abandoned, or to think I wasn't being creative.

I wasn't painting or drawing, and haven't really taken photos since last Monday (the above photo is from then, but I really like some of the Autumn cloudy golden hour traveling photos, so I'm okay). And usually, my blog posts are inspired by the images I have. When I sit down to blog, I run through my recent photos and pick the one to inspire the blog. It's usually a photo of some craft or painting, and when I don't have one of those, a photo like this, taken just for prettiness.

But this week, I have been focusing on writing. Well, that and the kids. And the working. So there's not much evidence of the work I've done.

But I did finish doing a fourth pass of my novel, editing and fine tuning some of the language. I sent out some chapters to friends of mine, trusted readers.

I started getting text messages not too long after sending out the first 7 chapters or so.

Send more please I have finished. And must have more please. Please send the whole thing can’t wait I’m hooked. Need my fix.

I wasn't quite done with the editing then, so I sent her the next two chapters... and got this.

Can u try resending 8 and 9 again? And send me more pls I will be on the road for another 4 hours at least.

K finished 8 and 9 it was spotty internet reception. I’m ready for the rest and to be honest not very patiently. This is a very good story and I see it v...

...ery visually. Please send me the rest I can’t wait.

And then as I rushed, to finish, even more.
OK done where is the rest lady????? Sorry I’m being pushy but its ur fault for writing a page turner. U can upload all the pages on google. It isn’t save...

...d on ur puter but the google network. Hurry up please I have to find out what happens in Scranton.

Ok don’t be holding out now. LOL its really good.

In the end I sent her the unedited draft and let her chew over the last half of the book while I retreated to the basement on my day off and spent the day editing and writing my author's outline.

And while I was working on the last couple of chapters, she started filling up my text inbox with this

There r more books no? I feel like it’s a trilogy or something.

I knew it lol. It’s really entertaining and addictive. The characters r real people. I see them feel for them root for them. U will have no prob selling t...

...his book.

I have a good feelin. U know I read a lot. U know I love books. I want more I’m thinking about the next book. When I get like this I make terry take me

To the store so I can buy all the books in the series. That is how I feel about this book. It is what I see in the future. BTW it is visual enough for a... I saw that immediately. Get writing missy U got me addicted. When I read it I’m in the book drawn in. I forget u wrote it. I’m immersed in it. And...

...right now I’m kinda pissy that I have to wait for the next book. All signs that it is good.


After I finished I came up stairs and received a phone call, where we must have talked for an hour about my book. She helped me come up with some plot ideas for the next book, and saw elements of my family in the characters... because you see she is my cousin.

All in all, it was a good thing for my afraid-to-show-my-book self.

Thanks Mitz for the review and the book talk.

It was a good ego boost, and now I can try to whip my query, synopsis, and sample chapters into shape and send them out to agents before Nanowrimo... when I will start the next book and forget all about agents.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Autumn Travelling and Day Trip

Fall Traveling

Yesterday, we went on a road trip, which explains my lack of posting. Well. We just went to Ann Arbor, but we were out and about all day. I forgot to even take a whole bunch of photos, although I have pictures of some of my favorite fields. I remember to do that because I'm sitting in a car, with nothing to occupy my hands.

Plus, on our way back, storm clouds rolled in, but the sun broke through from the west, on it's way out of town, and lit everything up. The golden hour. And in the golden season of yellow leaves and yellow cornfields. Golden all around, set off by the gray motion of clouds.

I have the idea to have a whole suite of these photos. A traveling of the year kind of thing. Maybe blow them up a bit and have four on a wall. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. I got here in December, so I'm almost all the way. Actually, I don't know how I would limit it to only four photos. I don't know. That project is still on the horizon. Plus, I hope my camera is good enough to take pictures that can blow up well.

I'm starting to save for a DSLR, I think. Good enough for my hobbyist status, and for taking blog and shop pictures.

Also, on our day trip, we stopped for lunch at our favorite pizza place that reminds us of old New York City. Gabriel hates pizza (I know! The sacrilege!) so he has plain wings.
Ivy however is a girl after her mama's heart. She loves her some pepperoni.

And we went thrift shopping and got some stuff for Halloween and all sorts of stuff.

All in all a fun day, although not much of my work was done. Oh well. This is life and we have to get the living in with all the work.

By the way. I wanted to toss a picture in of Grandma's house, here.

Look at that tree. It really looks like that. Kind of glowy. The leaves on the inside are yellow, fading to orange, to that bright red on the outside, so the tree itself is luminescent. AWE. SOME.

I wonder if Grandma bought the car to match that tree, because they are the exact same pumpkin red shade.

I tell ya, Michigan sure does have some pretty Fall foliage. Almost too pretty to actually capture in pictures.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Right Here, Right Now.

Gorgeous Fall

So here we are, mid October. I'm working a lot, both at my paying job and with my writing and my art.

I am also working really hard at living my life.

By that, I mean I am trying to enjoy my life. Trying to be present in the moment. To not wish it away on future goals and long lists of what I have to/want to do.

You know what helps with that?

When I walk out of my front door in the morning and take my five minute walk to work, up the street lined with red, orange, yellow, tan, brown, and occasionally purple trees.

I have lived in Florida the last two Autumns, so I missed the perfect Fall. Here I have it. The weather alternates between warm and sunny, and crisp and cool.

And I am perfectly aware, as I walk up that perfect Fall street, with the charming houses, and the crunch under my feet of fallen leaves, and the warm sun and the cool breeze, that this is the only moment of this that there will be.

Tomorrow, more leaves will fall, and the branches will bare, and the weather will get colder. There might be wonderful things about tomorrow, but it won't be today. So perhaps we should revel in the today while we have it.

I haven't finished my author's outline yet, or the synopsis of my novel, or my agent research. Still working on it all. I don't have any new creations to show up here in my blog. My etsy shop is limping along, not getting as much attention as I'd like. I'm still working with my son on his writing, that he feels like he can't do. The house continues to be halfway to a shambles.
But my morning constitutionals are like walking through sunshine made solid. And the air smells somewhat spicy, like cinnamon. And I actually HAVE finished my novel, more so than I've ever done in my life. And finances are stable for the moment. And work is a good place with good people. And the kids are strong and happy and growing up. And it's all good, right now, in its never doneness.

Right here, right now, what is good with you?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The River

Flower Bookmark
"when you do the, things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy." -Rumi

I made this little bookmark as a gift for a customer.

I think I have known this river moving through me. I have swum this river. Actually, I used to dream about this river. It was usually the Hudson River, in my dream.

As I've gotten older, I think the pressures of the world have weighed on me more. I fight the river. I think I should be going faster, or perhaps should be on a different tributary, or perhaps I shouldn't be on the river at all, but should be walking down the street taking my son to the school bus.

But perhaps it is all the river. It is all just the speed it is supposed to be. Perhaps there is no tributary, it is all just the river. Perhaps even the walking is part of the river.

It just is.


I attached a pretty piece of fabric to the back of this bookmark. It hides the menu writing and it's pretty.

I think I'm going to practice just going with the flow today.

Even with the things I have to do, even with the plans for the future, even with the things I really want to do and the things I don't particularly want to do. I'm not going to worry about mapping my river, I'm just going to swim.

I'm going to ride this river.

How is your river flowing today?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Last Pages

The Last Pages
casio exilim

I have 10 minutes to write to you before I have to run for lunch.

Have I been avoiding this post? Why? I have big news.

I shhhhhhhh finished my novel.

The above picture is me editing my last few pages, down in the basement, alone, blessedly, working.

Now I have to polish up those first few chapters, although after I finished the last page, I did do another pass at the troublesome first chapter. I've worked at it so much that it's not as bad as I feared.

I think I'll take a break on that editing for a bit, and start working on my synopsis. Do some research on agents. Take a stab at doing a query letter.

If any of you know of any good websites for research on these matters, I would be so grateful if you sent them to me. Knowledge is power, you know.

And of course, if you want to take a look at my mss and publish it, I wouldn't be against it. ;)

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Day In My Life, 10/10/10

First Picture, Still Sleeping

Holy Cannoli! I have a lot of pictures. This is only some of the photos from my day long photo shoot of October 10th, 2010. 10/10/10. There are some more on my flickr account. I don't think there are any duplicates between the two. And there are still more that I haven't published, but could. And there are still more, not uploaded from my camera, that I took after the kids went to bed. Not that many. I was tired and busy editing.

One good side effect to all these pictures is that I finally signed up for flickr pro. Maybe that will entice me to use flickr more effectively.

Anyway, there are so many pictures that I think I will just title them, rather than write about every single one. All photos here were taken on 10/10/10, with my old Casio exilim point and shoot that fits into my pocket.
We Are Wide Awake
Cat Love
Waiting For Coffee
Save Me
I Wuv Fuzzy
Constant Motion
Crazy Hair
South Street
Go Go Go
I Love Lattes
Home Again
Yard Sunshine
Bedtime Stories

Friday, October 08, 2010

10/10/10-- A Photo Essay Project of Your Day

I Am Here Somewhere
fading self portrait
casio exilim

I haven't done any crafty artsy projects lately. Or at least, I haven't finished them or taken their photos so that I could post them. I feel a little unfinished without my art projects, like I am forgetting something.

Oh well. I've been living my life. Waking up too early, getting everyone fed and dressed, taking the boy to school, going off to work, (whether that is to the paying job or to the one that I volunteer to tackle for free in the basement, in two hour increments), come back home, pick up the boy at the bus stop, get everyone snacks, take care of the school work and/or the emotional needs, make dinner, get everyone cleaned up, pajama'd and off to bed, then kind of collapsing on the couch to do nothing, and going to bed far earlier than I was used to before I became the mom of a school aged kid .

But in the meantime, I'm still here. Still thinking about projects. Planning. Blogging. Etsying. Parenting. Cooking, and so on.

I'm going to have faith that it will all work out in the end. More or less. In some fashion.
I Am Here Somewhere
landscape of trees
casio exilim

I am also remembering to take pictures, sometimes.

I've decided that on 10/10/10, I am going to take pictures all day long. A document, of sort, of my own life. Somewhere out in the blogosphere, there is a plan to film the day, all over the world, different filmmakers from everywhere. I don't remember where I saw it. I can't find it in my google reader and I can't find it in google. Oh well. I like the intention for myself. (If you know what I'm talking about, can you leave me a note so I can link back to the project?)

Because, frankly, life is not an endpoint, but a process. It is happening right here right now. Why wait until I get the projects done, the novel done, the job done, the bedtime done, the dinner done, the editing done, the perfection done?

The perfection? Ah yes. No such thing. We know that already.

Waiting to get it all finished and perfect, we forget the living.

So on 10-10-10 I am going to do a photo essay on the living of my life. (I have to work, so I'm not sure how I am going to manage taking photos, because I'm pretty sure we're not allowed, although I could always ask.)

I invite you, although it is late notice, to bring your camera with you on 10/10/10 and document your life as you are living it. The people, the places, the things, the actions, the results, the color, the darkness, the motion, the stillness, the day.

As an exercise in mindfulness and creativity, seeing and living.

If you want to join in, just leave a comment. Or come back on 10/11/10 and leave a link to your own photo essay.

No rules on this one. Just the fun of photographing your day.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Small Things With Great Love

Small Things With Great Love
acrylic and pencil on paper, 8.5"x5"

Where I am is overwhelmed.

Frankly, I am trying to fit 36 hours into the 24 we have. And it just doesn't work.

Then I get overwhelmed and anxious and then I just can't get anything done. It's one of the things that makes waiting tables a good fit for me... because I just go in there, do my job in the moment, even if the moment is stressful, there is only ever what needs to be done right then. It's very zen.

When I get home, I start thinking about all the needs and shoulds, the future and the past, the fears and the desires, and I get derailed feeling like I can't do it all, so I end up just doing nothing.

So yesterday I painted myself this remembering. (Did I just make up a word? Remembering? It's something to get me remembering the long view.)

Small things with great love. Inspired by the Mother Theresa quote, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love."

We CAN'T do it all. We CAN'T do these HUGE things when we are these small people... except we can, when we just tackle it one little thing at a time. One little love-ful thing at a time.

Don't worry about the grand outcome the huge dreams the perfection of intention. Just do what is there right in front of you. This sketch. This dinner. This moment of connection. This thing on your to do list.

And then we find it all gets done.

Or if it doesn't, we get by anyway.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Harvest Soon Travelling

Harvest Soon Travelling
poladroid ap

I don't have that much time to write undisturbed without kids, but I'm still going. Still chugging along. I am closer than I have ever been to having a polished piece of work. It's amazing how those small bits of time can really add up. That should be a lesson to us all. We always think that nothing can get done unless we have everything just right to finish it, but it's so much easier to finish those big projects in small bites, doing a bit a day and staying committed.

By staying committed, I find I am almost done. Almost ready to show to people. Almost ready to send it out and find an agent. Or at least try to. I know that's a whole different story.

And the whole thing is scary. I love to write and do it for my own pleasure, but I want someone to read it. I want it to be read. Except it's scary to think about people actually READING it. Judging it. Paying money for it.

With all the commitment I've made to writing over the last 25 years I'm not going to let a little fear stop me, but I am going to admit it's there.

Fear is one of those things that can scatter when you turn on the light and look at it. Like cockroaches.

Do I want to let those fear cockroaches stop me from going where I want to go with my life? No. Look. I'm even talking about it on my blog. People I know will hear all about my fears. And about my novel almost being ready to read.

When you turn on the lights in your life, where do you find those fear cockroaches? Is it time for you to do a little stomping?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...