The Real Me

The Real Me

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

To tell or not to tell... that is the question!

I have this bad habit of telling people too much too soon.

I say that it's bad because I think sometimes it clouds my ability to make my own wise decisions.  It invites in too many other voices and opinions, which of course are based on someone else's experiences, not my own, and then I feel beholden to listen to them.  Which is not always wise. I need to trust my own voice, my own wisdom, my own intuitive knowings.

I spent the past six months writing a novel.
My mobile office

There.  I've said it.  Just blurted it out.

And I've found that when I say that, the next question is always, "oh, really, so what's it about?"  To which I must answer, "I can't tell you, yet."  It's hard for me to not share more, but I know that in this case I must, and hope that others understand.

Because it is a delicate process.  One in which it is dangerous to invite in too much opinion.

Now I find myself in the querying process.  This means telling the people who have the power to take it somewhere larger, or not. It means that I am submitting a one page letter meant to encapsulate 70,000 words in such a way that an agent will find it intriguing and want to take me on as a client to sell my book to a publisher and launch my career right to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List so that I can call my real estate agent and buy the home of my dreams where I spend my remaining days sitting on my porch overlooking the ocean writing future novels on my laptop while the gentle breezes blow through my hair...

oops!  did I just run away with that thought? (and how's THAT for a run-on sentence!)

It's the dream, of course.  It happens.  Really it does.  Whether or not it will for me is yet to be seen.

For today, it's just the next thing on the to-do list.
1) Query five more agents.
2) Read possible rejection emails.
3) Pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all... well, you know.

Seriously?  There IS a novel.

I HAVE done a countless number of read-throughs and edits and revisions.  And I hope it doesn't sound too egotistical to say that after reading it through so many times, and being the one who created it, it still has the power to move me - to laughter - to tears - and occasionally to a cold shower.  I like it.  I really, truly do.  I just hope that an agent and then a publisher and then several million other people do, too. Which of course is all subjective, now isn't it? The liking it part.  I've never read a Stephen King novel, and he's done just fine in his career without me.

I'm a firm believer in "right time right place right agent."  I firmly believe that  it will sell. I'm just not sure yet how many zeros will be attached to the advance check.  Or how many letters I will need to send to find that one right agent.

Meanwhile, I am starting to write novel #2.  Not for the money.  But because I have a story to tell.

Which more truthfully is why novel #1 was written.

Which also means that if it never goes anywhere other than those few confidantes, it will be okay.

Though I really hope and pray that it does.  Go somewhere wonderful.

The number one rule of novel writing is show, don't tell.  So I will wait til I have a finished, published book, then proudly show the world.

For now, please, I simply invite you to be patient with me when I can't tell you more.  And to believe with me.  Believe in the power of a dream.  Believe in the power of beauty, truth, and passion.

Breathe in some fresh fall air.  Take in a sunset.  Give thanks for all that is good in your life.

With peace and blessings this day from me to you.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Trusting the Muse

It happened.  The muse rushed in, just when I was doubting my ability.

It was a commission painting.  I had the entire thing done, except for the figures, and I was afraid I would mess it up.

Sat down, took, pencils in hand.  And it just happened.  As if they painted themselves.

There is no rush in this world to compare.  When the muse shows up, and takes over, it is as if we are being guided by something much larger than our own self.  Call it Spirit, God, whatever you wish.  I just know it when I feel it.  And it is, I believe, the very essence of what us creative folks live for... hope for... pursue with all our hearts.

I have set a goal for myself this week of completing the first blush of edits on my novel to get me far enough that on August 15, just three days from now, I can start sending out query letters to agents.  It's a massive undertaking to do in such a short time, but I've found that I work best under a short pressure deadline.  Because I have to.  Because I am far more likely to surrender, say "oh help me please" to my muses, and allow for the magic to happen.  So whoever is out there listening... let's go!


Love to all.


Monday, July 29, 2013

On denim...

Denim has always inspired me.

I surround myself with the color.  I've longed for years for a denim couch.  I find it soothing.  Comfortable.  To the touch, and to the eye.

Memories of my teenage years, hanging out at the barn after school with my horse.  Denim was my uniform.

It remains my favorite thing to wear when I paint.  It even appears in what I consider to be my signature piece - my business card image - my favorite most personal painting.

I've often thought that if ever I marry again, it will be on a beach, wearing a favorite pair of faded jeans, a white t-shirt, and a fabulous veil.    First things first - I need to find a groom.  I wonder if I can find one of those in denim?

When Evana did my "fashion fang-shui" analysis, she pronounced me as predominantly water element, with a hint of wood.  The color of water, and the natural fabric construction of the wood element.

It's me.  What can I say?   When I finish my novel edits, find an agent, who finds a publisher, and then the book tour, perhaps I will allow myself to wear denim.  And a black tank type, or silk blouse, or v-neck sweater.  Pearls.  No veil.

The painting is titled "The Real Me."  And that's who I continue to work on becoming.  Authentic.  True to my core.  On the inside and on the outside.

Truly blue.  Truly Mimi.

Truly yours.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A novel idea

I've just completed the first draft of my first novel.

It's a huge accomplishment.

So why then am I feeling so frustrated today?

I think it's because the easy part is over.

I wrote it longhand.  I'm now in the process of typing it into my computer.  And today, I'm stuck on a scene that was one of the hardest ones to write.  One that is based loosely, well, actually quite tightly, on an experience out of my own life that was a hard day to live through.  And now I am re-living it.

That, and it's humid outside.  And everything in my house is sticky.  And there are these tiny little ants that just won't go away and show up everywhere, like cartoon characters whose job is simply to annoy me.

I'm pulling out every tool in my procrastination arsenal, to avoid sitting down and just typing.  Seriously, Mimi, they are just words.  Copy them.  Get it done.

Remember, this beats the heck out of a lot of other jobs that you might be doing today.

I've poured a lovely glass of iced tea.  My body wants a donut.  I tell it that it doesn't, really, it just thinks that the sugar and white flour will make the task easier.  It won't.  It will just go to my hips.

Ok, so still I'm not being fully honest as to why I'm procrastinating.  The real reason?  It's fear.  Fear that what I've written isn't good enough.  Fear that the project that felt, while I was writing it, like it was my true calling in life, that I'd finally found it, fear that it won't be good enough.  I've started reading far too many articles and books about the process of finding an agent, editing, getting published, and my confidence in what I've written is waning, fast.

It's the thing that creatives need to avoid.  Thinking about whether or not the project will find financial success, rather than simply enjoying the process of creating.

I did enjoy writing it.  Delighted in it.  Had moments of sheer elation at how a sentence would be crafted.  At how a character would take an unanticipated turn.  One time, when the phone rang (in the novel, not in my house) the main character answered it, and surprised even me, the one writing the story, when the person on the other end of the phone was someone different than even  I expected.  Someone I hadn't envisioned yet.  But there he was.  And I'm still not sure where he came from.

That is the magic of the creative process.  When the muse enters in.

Today, I'm just a secretary transcribing the text.  It's like I'm just taking dictation.  But then again, that's how the writing process felt.  Like I was taking dictation from a muse somewhere out there, whispering in my ear.

A ha.  There's the answer to my fear.  Trust my muse.  No, muses.  I have several.  Stop reading those articles that create fear.  Spend my time in the process.  Move it forward to the next step.

I will type it now.  I'm ready.  And then, when I'm done, I'll say "ta da!"  And I'll treat myself to a swim.

Blessings to you and yours today.  Happy July 1.  A new month.  A clean slate.  What lovely thing will you create to bring joy to life today?


Monday, April 1, 2013

April 1 - Fool or no Fool?

Fool - defined as "a person who acts unwisely or imprudently;  a silly person.  Or as a verb - to trick or deceive someone.

April 1 - known as April Fools Day.  A day of tricking and deceiving.

Back on March 1, I issued a personal challenge to myself to complete 30 paintings in 30 days.  It was fun, and exciting, and promised me an opportunity to get back to painting.

And I was successful, for 15 days.  Then, I stopped.

"Why" you might ask.

I've been asking myself the same question.  Until just now, when I looked back at the calendar, and found my "ah ha" explanation.

At about that same time, I made the decision to leave a part-time job that I had been working for the previous 13 months.  Please refer to my blog below dated February 25 if you would like an insight on the "why" to that decision.  My last day on that job was March 7.  I spent the following week trying to catch up at home with some things that had been allowed to pile up.  And then, around March 15, I made a new commitment, to endeavor into a fairly significant writing project that had been bubbling up in me for quite some time.

So I think the answer to what happened with my paintings was that I switched the direction for my creativity.   I began writing.  It wasn't that I didn't have time to paint.  I just felt my creative energy moving in a different direction.  Several hours, every day. Without missing a single day, until yesterday, when I allowed myself the day off for Easter.  Back to it at 7:30am this morning in my car at the beach, where I stayed until 10am.

I was feeling like a failure for not completing the 30 in 30.  Was I a "fool" for taking on such a task, making it public, and then not completing it?  I think not.  There are still 15 new paintings that were published.  And so many of you kindly asking me about it, following me on Facebook.  I do intend to complete it.  Though in all truth, I may not get back to it for another week.  I feel the need to allow the writing process to become truly anchored as an every day activity.  It is a significant part of my life right now, and deserves its place in my life, right now.

Back to the fool definition.  I'm surprised to see the word silly.  Silly?  yes, I certainly hope that I'm silly.  Silly to me is far different from foolish.  Silly means the ability to look at life and laugh, perhaps when others might not.  The capacity to find joy in sometimes the smallest things.  Embracing life with eyes wide open to the magic within each and every day.  And seeing God's grace at work in and through all of it.

Laugh.  Laugh broadly.  Laugh wholeheartedly, and unashamedly, as a girlfriend and I did the other evening at a restaurant, that had people asking us what we were laughing about that we were so "silly about it."

So sure, call me a fool if you'd like, for setting that 30 day goal, making it public, and not finishing it, and being willing to it.  I'm not worried.
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.  (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
Yep, done that too.

So, I'll paraphrase:

'Tis better to have painted and paused, than never to have painted at all!!!'

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Starting anew...

I've just written the email that will make my new website live and public.

It's been on my to-do list for... oh... let's call it a year?

But too many other things were allowed to get in the way.

Tonight, I am poised at the beginning of a fresh new start for my career as Mimi the Artist.

How do I feel?  Excited, scared, ready, set, oh, and did I mention excited???

I feel like I've wandered away for far too long.

Time to get messy with the paints again, wear the old soft trademark jeans with those holes in the knees, and get to work!

I'll start with my 30 paintings in 30 days adventure (I'm already on day 5!) and see where it goes from there!  30 "mini-Mimi's" - the intention mainly to get me to the easel to experiment every day.

Different mediums.  Different topics.  No rules other than doing it.  Every day.  For 30 days.

So far so good.  Here's one to share.  Or it can be followed on my new website here.

So grateful, grateful, grateful for the perspective that time away has given me, and even more grateful to be back.

Love, love, and more love,


ps - here's the website link!

Friday, March 1, 2013

A fresh start

Best intentions... I just spent the past four hours working on my new website.  I had planned to have it go live today, but am discovering that it is taking much more time to create than I expected.  It is, however, a labor of love, and worth doing well, so I am now allowing myself the remainder of the weekend.  With a new promise to have it ready by Monday.

The experience of collecting and posting the images of my artwork of the past 15 years is kinda fun, kinda surprising, and definitely jogging my memory.  Places where I have traveled, scenes from my childhood, paintings that I had long forgotten.  Some of them I may even paint again, to see how I might approach them differently now, perhaps with a slightly different (evolved?!) style.

And in the middle of that four hours, an email arrived from my daughter with the subject line "just found this, thought I should send it along."  It was the audio file of my delivery of that eulogy that I referenced in my last blog post.  I clicked on it, and heard my own voice start talking to me.  And then, I couldn't figure out how to turn it off!  So, I had to listen... even tried walking away for a little while, and then just turning the volume way down... but came back to it, just at the end, with the Steve Jobs quote that I also quoted in my last blog post.  It came at me again.

And as I'm sharing that experience with you right now, a smile has spread over my face. "Aha!  I get it!"  I've just spent the past four hours doing that thing that I know that I need to do to be authentically me.  I'm sharing my art with the world.  I am reclaiming the title of artist for myself, after having walked away from it, mostly, for the past six months.

In summation... I'm back!
Day 1 - 3"h x 5" w - $30

Oh - and I did start the "30 paintings in 30 days" effort today.  That's 30 little mini-Mimi's, in 30 days, that I will offer at $30 each.  Here's the first one.  Enjoy!

Now stop reading at your computer and go share some love... make a phone call, write a thank you note, give a surprise hug.  Just share it.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Endings and beginnings

February 25, 2013

When I considered writing this yesterday, my first line was going to be "In the past four months I have lost two of the most significant women in my life.  My own mother, who passed in October, and the woman I refer to as "my other mother", Jeanie, my art teacher, spiritual teacher, and lifelong confidante from the age of 13."

Then, this morning, I learned of the passing of another dear soul -  beautiful, graceful, inspirational Evana.

It was a magical morning from the beginning.  Though I had to be at my office job at 9am, I found time this morning before work to paint, and to walk my delightful girl-dog Rosie, in the midst of what I described as "fairy tale land."  It had snowed last night, lightly, on top of some rain, so the snow froze to the trees - white outlines against the cold February landscape.  Magical.

Then the phone rang, and I learned of Evana's passing.

I wasn't as connected to Evana as to the other two moms.  I'd known her for about ten years, rather than  40 or 50.  But the news hit me hard.  She was influential in ways too numerous to count, and I'm certain that I didn't thank her nearly often enough, or deeply enough, for all that she offered to me.   She carried herself with such confidence and grace that I know, absolutely know, that she has most certainly moved on to angel status.

Which leads me to believe that even her passing, saddened as I was by it, crying in the shower, tears just behind my eyes at the office all day as I put on the happy face and did my work, it has to be somehow connected to the magic of the morning.

When I sat down to write this yesterday, I was going to talk about losing my mother.  I was going to share with you the journey of the past four months.  I wanted to post her eulogy for you to read, in case you didn't get to hear it.

But instead, I am sitting here contemplating how I move forward.  That magic of this morning feels life changing.

Two quotes come to mind.  The first, one that I read on someone else's Facebook page yesterday, that carries far more significance to me tonight.  It says the following:  Making a big life change is pretty scary.  But, you know what's even scarier?  Regret."

The second, from Apple founder Steve Jobs, that was how I finished that eulogy.  I was going to try to summarize it, but here it is in full:  “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right."

It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” 

I find myself, in this moment, in a very different place than I was just 24 hours ago.  Instead of looking back, in sadness, I am considering, quite seriously, what I am to do with my time that lies ahead.

We never know how much time that is.  I do not wish to live with regret.  I will make decisions to embrace joy.

Thank you, Mary May Schlichter, Jeanie Moyer, and Evana Maggiore, for the love and guidance that you shared with me, each in your own unique way.
Sunset 2/25/2013

I've got three new angels in my corner.

What choices do I need to make, right now, in order to move forward without regret?  In order to be certain to use my gifts to the benefit of as many as I possibly can?   I can't share those right now, but hopefully they will unfold in future blog posts.

I wish each of you who has read through this far great joy, blessings, and love in your own lives. Take a moment to tell someone you love them.  Take the risk of saying I love you.

THANK YOU, abundant thanks, for being part of my life.

With love and blessings,