Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nourishing Your Inner Artist

Photo courtesy of Free Artistic Photos

It’s been several years since I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. If you’ve read the book you are familiar with The Artist Date: time that the author encourages you to set aside each week towards “nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.” Some of my favorite artist dates I’ve spent at local art galleries letting myself get lost in the creativity of others. In each brush stroke or click of the shutter I find motivation, energy, and inspiration to fuel my own projects.

Reading is another way that I feed my inner artist and I am starting this week on yet another reading high.  I finished Sara Zarr’s How to Save a Life (Amazing!) and Margarita Engle’s The Firefly Letters (Lovely!)  I’ve also started Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (too soon to tell, but I’ve heard great things and have high hopes.)

I’m also a big So You Think You Can Dance fan. I just get lost in the emotion and artistry of so many amazing dancers. And I’ve learned that the most powerful artists whether they be painters, photographers, writers or dancers, are the ones who put their whole heart and soul into their work – something that we can forget to do when we focus too heavily on the technicalities of our craft.

I missed the first half of this season’s premier episode of SYTYCD last Thursday because I was at writing group, but I made it home in time to see this guy, Hampton Williams, who bares his soul and in doing so, he reaches ours. We all want to be that kind of artist/dancer/writer, don’t we?

In what ways do you nourish your inner artist?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Kindle Free Download

I don't usually post on Fridays but I want to let you all know that Saying Goodbye to the People, Places, and Things in Our Lives, A Dream of Things Anthology is available today and tomorrow (25th & 26th)  as a Kindle free download from Amazon. It includes my essay, "The Evolution of Your Goodbyes." I hope you'll check it out! 

From Amazon:

"Saying Goodbye is a collection of true stories about saying goodbye to the people, places, and things in our lives. The stories are universal. They are incredibly powerful and moving. And they are surprisingly uplifting and cathartic. "The stories are about love, really, not sadness," says one critic. "Despite all the sadness and grief that come with saying goodbye, there is love and joy and comedy on the Other Side." Says another: "If you have ever had to deal with loss, read this book. It will make you feel better."

These stories show that there is sadness in goodbyes, but there is also irony and humor. We cry about the sad stories, we laugh at the funny ones, and along the way, we learn valuable lessons about how we say goodbye -- sometimes under the most difficult of circumstances. We learn because the contributors are unflinchingly open and honest when it comes to sharing very personal stories about how they and their loved ones say goodbye. Taken together, these stories serve as amazing examples of how to say goodbye with grace, dignity, and good humor.

Saying Goodbye is the first anthology in a new series from Dream of Things intended to fill the gap between popular anthologies of stories that are "short and sweet" and the Best American Essays series, which are much longer. Dream of Things anthologies are collections of quality stories between 500 and 2,500 words. Instead of short and sweet, these stories are short and deep."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Stories That Make You Feel

This has been a great week for stories. I started the week by watching Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South (thank you Anne, for the recommendation.) Watching this made me realize how powerful a story’s ending can be. The morning after I finished the mini-series, I put the DVD back in the player and re-watched the last scene; it was just so perfect. I knew I would have to return the movie to the library soon, but I left it in the player anyway. Before dropping it off the next day, I re-watched the last two scenes. After it had been returned and a late fee had been avoided, it dawned on me what a wonderful thing YouTube is. I searched for “North and South ending” and re-watched (again, and yes, again.) As I reveled in the absolute perfection of that final scene, (next up, I must get the book) I naturally thought about the endings that I have written.  If endings can be this powerful, surely mine need reworking!

North and South was not the only story I experienced this week. I also read The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt. (Loved it!) And right now I’m completely enraptured by John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars. I am laughing, crying and totally in love with these characters. And it makes me wonder a little about why we want movies, books, and songs to take us on these roller-coaster rides of emotion.
 After several months of listening to the latest Jack's Mannequin CD, I finally ejected it from my car player and turned on the radio. I heard a song called "Glad You Came" that immediately brought me to tears. I’m talking wracked with sobs, need to pull over to get myself together tears. I have no idea what the song is really about. I didn’t process any of the other lyrics.  It was just that particular line, “I’m glad you came” that struck me. There was a time, when my dad was suffering with dementia, but still living at home. I went over each afternoon to visit and bring he and my mother their evening meal. Each time, as I went to leave, he would walk me back out to my car. One day he stood there at the drivers side door and I waited as he searched for words that eluded him. Finally, like it was the most important thing in the world, he said “I’m Glad You Came.”

Maybe it’s that connectedness to our own lives that stories, songs, and movies bring to mind that make them so memorable, so important. What story, song or movie has connected with you lately? I’d love to hear from you and thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you came.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Do you notice anything different. . .

 about my blog?



Check out the "About Me" section. I'm very excited! And it has nothing to do with the caffeine and chocolate. (Although those are good too.)

There are all kinds of changes here today. Also to the right, you may have noticed The Beautiful Blogger Award. Many thanks to Fiona Phillips from Fi's Magical Writing Haven for awarding it to me! By way of following the rules, I'm including 7 random things about myself. I'm talking obsessions this week (although this has nothing to do with the rules of the award.)

1. I have been completely obsessed with this song: 

2.  My television obsession has been The Voice. (I'm bummed that Tony Lucca didn't win.)

3.  My reading obsession has been Sonya Sones' books. I read two this week, one the week before and I've got another one on hold at the library.

4.  My writing obsession has been staying above the 25,000 word count. I've hit 25,000 words three times. Each time I get on a roll with new words, I end up deleting older sections and dropping below the count again.

5. My eating obsession is homemade blueberry-banana bread - soooo good.

6. My cleaning obsession has been trying to get our spare room ready for my 16-year-old nephew who is coming up from FL to stay with us.

7.  My mental obsession has been trying to convince myself that I'm not dreaming. I really am represented by Kendra Marcus of BookStop Literary. Pinch me.

I'd like to pass The Beautiful Blogger Award on to: 

Have you been obsessed with anything this week?