The Real Me

The Real Me

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Blog has moved.

Please note my blog has moved, and is now located HERE.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Painting Lily

Writing a blog post on the run because I simply MUST have something more current - AND I have exciting news to share.

The decision has been made to indie-publish the novel you've been hearing about for the past two years.

Yes, PAINTING LILY will be available to purchase as an e-book AND in trade paperback by July 1, and quite possibly a lot sooner!

The first question, what's it about?  Not going to tell you just yet.

But here's the cover.  


MUCH more to come in the weeks ahead!  Soooooooo exciting!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Oh Wow.

Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.

Those are the words rumored to be the last of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, when he died in October, 2011.

They are the same words I used to begin my mother's eulogy, after she died one year later in October, 2012.

And they are the words rolling around in my head this evening, as I attempt sleep, but am awakened by the realization that some hugely significant goals are beginning to come to fruition. Oh wow.

It's not like they're just falling into my lap.  I've been working on them, one of them in particular, for two years now.  Yes, I'm talking about the book thing.  The novel.  LYING OUT LOUD (the working title).  Agents are being queried.  There's a Facebook buzz beginning. And tonight, a random conversation turned into someone I know telling me they know an agent, and, well, so it goes.

"Are we there yet?" comes the cry from the backseat.  No, not quite yet.  But getting ever so closer. Be patient, my love. Just a little longer.

I can feel it.  Can't put my finger on it, but something is different this time.

It was two years ago, after my mother died, and my other mother died (Jeanie Moyer - the one who was my art instructor from the age of 12 and one of the most significant influences on my entire life), and THEN, on February 25, 2013, I learned that my dear friend Evana died.  One, two, three... that was when I decided I HAD to quit my day job at the time and devote myself to writing the novel.  And of course I ended up taking another day job,  for a while, but all the while, I continued to write.

Two hours every morning, parked in my car at the beach, I wrote the first draft, longhand, in about four months. I had no idea how long it would take to revise, and query for an agent, and get rejected, and revise some more, and query again, and get rejected again, and revise, revise, revise some more.
My "revisions" office!
Until here I am again, sending out query letters, with fingers and toes crossed hoping that this time there will be an agent who will love this book as much as I do and who will find a publisher for me who loves it as much as I do who will bring it to life so that readers everywhere can fall in love with it as much as I have. And I will admit, yes, I have.  Fallen in love with it.  It's been like that Bill Murray movie, Groundhog's Day.  I've been reading the same novel over and over and over again for the past two years, and every time I do, even though I'm the one who wrote the words, there are times I laugh out loud, and times I cry, and times I think "oh wow" this is really, really cool. I LOVE this book.

Why did I do it?

Because life is short.  And we never know when.  And we're told to not die with our music still in us.

And because I think it is an important story to be told.  The characters came to life, as I was advised they might.  They surprised me with where they went, and what they said, and what they did, and one time, the phone rang, and I thought I knew who would pick it up and it was an entirely new character who I didn't even know existed, but he showed up and said hello.

So there, I've said it.  I've written a novel.  I'm learning to say it out loud.  And every time I do, there's a little voice in my head (I think she's about 13 years old, the one who says it) - she says "oh wow."

Stay tuned... the best is yet to come. Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Birthday Love...

Tuesday, Feb. 10.  Woke up with the cold from h**l.  No party for this birthday gal.

8:30 am.  Check email and Facebook.  WHAT?!  NO birthday greetings??? Do my friends not love me anymore?

8:59 am.  Phone rings. "Happy Birthday, Mama! How's your day so far?"

"Thank you, Anna, but so far you're the only one I've heard from.  I don't understand.  Usually Facebook is the most awesome thing on my birthday, but there's nothing yet - not a single person has wished me a happy birthday.  Not feelin' the love today."

"It'll get better Mom.  I promise."

Phone call ended, I go back to the computer.  Occurs to me to check the privacy settings.  Well, duh, I had my birthday info blocked.  Have to Google around a bit to figure out how to fix it (not sure who I love more - Google or Siri - can find the answer to ANYTHING!).  Open the privacy floodgates and whammo...

9:32am.  They start POURING in!  WHEEE!  My friends DO still love me!

Yes, that was the way my birthday began.  Kinda lame.  But I gotta say - in the next 12 hours - over 100 friends, co-workers, ex-boyfriends, elementary school buddies, former everybody's... they logged in to say happy birthday!  Over 100!!!!!!  Say what you will about Facebook, but on my birthday, it absolutely rocks.

I'm a bit of a sap when it comes to birthdays.  Love to celebrate others... and cherish the day personally.  I've thrown successful surprise parties for others, and house gatherings for myself.  Another year older - it's time to celebrate, not grump about growing older.  I'm grateful to be here, and to be surrounded by the love of so many with whom I get to share the journey.

This year was different (go back to that cold from h**l thing) so I spent the evening alone, in front of the fireplace, working on my novel - which a literary wise woman recently corrected me to say I need to stop calling it MY novel and call it by name - so let me say - ahem - clear my throat and speak it proudly - I spent the evening in my LazyBoy in front of the fire working on THE novel - Lying Out Loud.  And it ended up being a lovely night.  Had barbecue ribs and chocolate chip cookies for dinner (yes, seriously - no salad or sides - just ribs and home made cookies!) - Rosie the wonder dog at my side and Dora the daring cat on my lap - here in my cozy home that I love so much - and it was - yes - SERENE.  Defined the word.

THANK YOU to each and every one of you - the 100+ who took the time to type happy birthday to me this past Tuesday.  THANK YOU to those who picked up the phone to call.  THANK YOU to those who sent me beautiful, thoughtful cards.

EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU brought a smile to my face.  And whether or not you heard it, with each one read, I said thank you, out loud, here in front of my computer screen.

It is said there is a ripple effect for every action we do, good or bad.  The simple act of typing happy birthday - or smiling when passing a stranger on the street - we never know how much it might make a difference in their life.  Never stop saying I love you - or reaching out in whatever way feels right to you at the time.  Life is meant to be celebrated.  It is a gift that is meant to be cherished.

55 years now I've had the privilege of being on this planet, with so many dear ones come and gone.  May each and every one of you know how VERY much I appreciate you... sending warmest hugs of gratitude, smiles, and virtual birthday cake!  I DID feel your love - I DO feel your love - and I send it right back to you!

(yes, that IS me on my first birthday, with my brother Bob looking dapper in his bow tie!)

Friday, August 15, 2014

A lovely night

It started with a canvas, given to me by a friend a couple of months ago.  The canvas originated with his artistic, autistic daughter.  Was passed on to his mother.  Neither of whom chose to paint on it.  It landed in the backseat of my car one night after dinner.  "Here, you might be able to use this."  Well, sure, thank you, I thought, I'm always happy to have new canvas.

I used it to paint a portrait, a commission piece that was rejected by the client, in exchange for a new attempt.  Rather than stare at a portrait that made me sad, I painted over it with fresh white paint, ready to take on a new project, another day.

That day was last night.

Before I came into the studio, I went to the beach for an early evening swim.  And the sky was spectacular.  Like this...

Then I came into the gallery for the evening, and decided to paint what I had just seen.  Grabbed the painted over canvas, put it on the easel and got to work.  A family came in - mother, father, son and daughter, while the painting was at its earliest stage.  Just some streaks of blue across the sky.  I invited them to come back in after they'd eaten dinner, to see the progress.

They did.  The painting was about 75% complete at that point.  I invited the daughter, age 11, to take the brush and put a few strokes into the sky.  She did, timidly.  Then I invited her brother, 13, autistic, to do the same.  He grabbed the brush boldly, and made one long, determined vertical stroke right in the middle of all of the horizontal clouds.  And a grin spread, a wide one, across his face.

The family stayed a while, we chatted, it was a lovely visit.  

After they left, I was faced with the decision of what to do with the painting.  Should I "correct" that one bold vertical stroke, or simply leave it as is.

I opted for the latter.  So that the painting might stand as a reminder to me of what is important.  Because when they left, my thought was "THAT is the juice of life."  It's not about how much I sell and it's not about being perfect in execution of the colors and strokes that make up a sunset.  The creative process is about JOY.  It is about sharing.  It is about people, and beauty.

The blog I originally intended to write this week was going to be about life, and how we are reminded how precious it is only when we lose someone dear to us.  So many of us mourned the suicide of Robin Williams... a man who most of us knew only as a comic genius on the tv, or in a movie.  And we wondered how a man so loved, so funny, so brilliant and quick of wit, "successful" in the eyes of the world - how could he feel so unloved, so desperate, as to find the only way through life to be to find a way out of it.

I ran into a former co-worker in a store this week, and in a hurry, didn't bother to say more than a quick hello, and move on.  I didn't take the time to stop, to ask how she was.  And was horrified a few days later when I read the newspaper to discover that just a few days before I saw her, her thirty two year old son had died, tragically, unexpectedly.  And I felt absolutely awful, in hindsight, for not having taken that extra minute to care.  To connect.

Life offers us reminders of the impact of one small act of kindness.  Sometimes on a grand scale, sometimes in the seemingly smallest of ways, but all important.

The painting stands.  I find it a pretty cool "full circle" thing that the canvas originally bought for one with autism ended up being a source of delight to another of the same.  Coincidence?  I think not.  God at work in the lives of all involved?  Absolutely.

The next time I rush past someone I know, I pray that I will be more mindful, to take the time to connect.  I pray I do not allow my own hurriedness to prevent an opportunity to show compassion, one that I missed, badly, this week.

I'm searching for a lofty last sentence and not finding one.  I simply felt compelled to share, to inquire more deeply into my own feelings and reactions.  If you read this, please comment.  I've love to hear what you have to say.

Oh - and here is the painting.    As is.   With love and gratitude to you for reading this.  


Saturday, June 14, 2014

From There to Here

Saturday evening in the gallery.  May I muse on a bit with you?  And here's a soundtrack to accompany this blog (click to YouTube)

It's been an interesting string of weather... not quite summer yet (and the calendar gives us another week anyway), but the trees are thick and lush, certainly not early Spring either.  "We're getting there" seems to be a common phrase.  Which begs the question of where is "there?"

Obviously in the case of weather discussion it is summer.  Idyllic time of flip flops, longer days, open windowed sleeping at night, and here on Cape Cod, boating, swimming, and all varieties of beach time.

I muse on the "getting there" question.  I've been a church musician for the past ten years, and about once a month after church, there is a retired organist who says to me, about my organ playing, "you're getting there" which I think is her way of offering a compliment, though I always find myself walking away, shaking my head, and wondering where the "there" is to which she refers.  And how will I know when I have arrived?

We do that with so many things in life, don't we?  We seek the perfect relationship, the perfect home, the perfectly organized sock drawer (ok, just making sure you're paying attention!).  But what if "there" is an elusive goal to which we can never quite arrive?  And the real "there" is more honestly "here?"  What if in our quest for perfection, we miss the beauty and joy in the here and now?

I learned that lesson when I watched my mother decline for several years in a nursing home.  We hoped she would improve, focused on finding ways to help her in the process, and yet she continued to decline.  And with our emphasis on improvement, we missed the quality that she maintained at the time.  And it continued to disappear.  And we continued to miss it, until the very end, when we finally accepted that it was as good as it was going to be.  And then she was gone.

How many perfectly exquisite "here" moments do we miss in our question for "getting there?"  I far prefer, at the ripe age of 54, to focus on what is in front of me, right now.  To allow myself to be spontaneous, rather than plan every moment of my days.  Sure, I still have goals. It is important to continue to grow.  Yet not, in my humble opinion, at the expense of losing the joy in where I am right now.  What relationships do I have that I value?  To whom might I show a little extra love and concern, whether they ask for it or not?  What word of joy might I offer, or maybe even a simple smile, that could brighten someone's day?

A couple of weeks ago, in the gallery one afternoon, I looked out and saw a woman I know getting into her car.  Not someone with whom I was close.  I wasn't even sure that she would remember my name.  I hadn't seen her in several months. So I didn't take the time to go out to say hi.  Then less than a week later I heard the news of her involvement in a life-threatening car accident.  And I kicked myself for not having taken the time to share a friendly word or two with her, when I could, because I could.

So what's your point, Mimi?  My point is that maybe in our desire to get there, we miss here.  Right now.  This moment.  The light outside my window.  The gentle music on the stereo.  The beauty around me.  The kind words offered to me earlier in the day by a virtual stranger who passed through the gallery.

Stop, please, for just a moment.  Take a deep breath.  Maybe another two or three.  And look around you.  Feel the grass underfoot.  Pet the dog.  Snuggle with a loved one.  Be.  Right here.

Are we there yet?  Oh yes.  Right now.  In every moment.

Peace and blessings to all.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A new day...

It's done.  Finished.

The novel.

Yes, I know.  I've said it before.  October 15, 2013, to be exact.  I was in query process for an agent.

But it didn't work, then.  So I asked a few trusted wise women to read it, and discuss it with me.  Went back to the proverbial drawing board, or in this case the writer's desk. Added characters. Allowed new plot twists. It grew from 69,000 words to 87,000 words. I read it again. Revised. Read again. Revised. Read again. And changed the title.

It's done.  Again.  And I spent the past week writing the next batch of query letters, to seek an agent, the perfect agent.  The one who "gets it" and wants to help me share the story with the world.

Now it's time to let it rest.  See what comes back.  I must be patient.

The good news?  During my last full read through, on April 1 (April Fools' Day - gotta love that!), I found myself laughing out loud, cursing at the antagonist, cheering on my beloved protagonist.  Yes, after reading variations on the same novel, over and over and over and OVER again, for the past six months, I still love it.  So whatever happens, whether it ever reaches the New York Time Bestseller list, I have written what I felt compelled to write, and I feel good about it. No, correct that.  I feel in awe of it.  Comparable to the training I did to complete my marathon back in 2005.  A disciplined process, showing up at the page every morning. Did the work on my own, but with the love and support and encouragement of a whole team of friends who cheered me on in the face of what looked like a ridiculous waste of time.  I did it!

The bad news?  You still have to wait to learn more.  Sorry about that.

Meanwhile - I have this lovely new gallery/studio to enjoy.  Time to get back to the paints.  Please do stop by to say hello.  I'm at 410 West Falmouth Highway, right next to the Chapoquoit Grill restaurant. I'm experimenting with what hours I'll be open, so just give a call or text before you come by and I'll be sure to be there. 508-548-3278

Now, step away from your computer, go out into the sunshine and breathe in some gorgeous spring air!  And thank you, as always, for reading my blog.