Friday, March 28, 2008

Is it Too Late to Dream?

Those of you who know me well, also know about my situation with my 83 year-old mother-in-law. This morning was rough for her. The pain took its toll and her spirit took a brief vacation. I thought her tears were a result of the torture her body had endured, but it turned out that I was wrong.

"It's too late for me," she cried. "Too late for my dreams to come true." She talked about her life and the opportunities she had missed due of fear and circumstance.

I've often felt the same over the last few years, as I've tried so hard to catch up with the education I never had time for, and the clarity that somehow eluded me. Listening to "Mom's" despair, I realized how lucky I was to have Grandparents in my life.

My Grandfather never let me sit around and mope. He was a man of few words, but the twinkle in his eye was enough to make me love him blindly. He dragged me around everywhere and showed me the world through his eyes. He made me understand that it is what we make it. If you want something bad enough, you have to work hard for it. He sure did.

My Grandmother was my greatest fan. She stood up for me and always pushed me to try new things. She gave me the courage to get up on stage, as she would listen to me sing for hours. She attended all my school functions and always told me to "dream big", because she had faith in me.

My dreams have changed over the years, but I think my grandparents would be proud. Now I live my dreams through the characters in my stories. "Polly Opossum" gave me the chance to get back on that stage and be a country music star!

I hope you're still listening Grandmama, I sure miss you somethin' awful!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Today's subject: Looking at the flip side

Well it's Wednesday, better known as "hump"day. I can't believe the week is half gone already. But then again, it brings yet another chance to win the lottery and I've made it halfway to Saturday!
An author/illustrator made a comment the other day about waiting, as in waiting for months and months, only to get rejected…yet again. He felt that the whole process stinks, and he was very discouraged.

Waiting around is really irksome, but it also motivates. It motivates you to keep moving and keep writing and keep drawing, or whatever it is that you do. It gives us something to hope for and learn from. And when the waiting is over and the letter from the editor finally arrives, for just a split second...the whole world stops, along with your heart. You remember why you keep doing this, and you remind yourself to breath. Then you rip open the envelope!

I'd also like to share something with you today.

Last year I participated in a group study of Julie Camerons' book, "The Artists Way". Throughout the journey, there were several assignments, geared to boost one's creativity and validate the time given to nurture one's creative self.

One assignment was to write a morning prayer, or statement. Something that would motivate you in times of self doubt or insecurity about where you are in this thing called "life". I gave it a lot of thought, and this is what I came up with;

Today, I will bring from the past only that which will carry me forward,toward a life of joy and abundance.

Today, I will remember that what I do this day will be reflected in all my tomorrows.

Today, I will recognize my fears and receive the tools and the strength to move through them.

Today, I will give the world the best I have to offer and ask the universe for the same in return.

Today, I will open my eyes, so that I may truly see.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today's subject: Farting Dogs, Telemarketers, & Multiple Submissions

So I'm late today, but I made it back. It's been a challenge.

If it's not Grandma hollering, "SOUP!", it's the flatulent dog, scratching to go out for the hundredth time, which I'm all too happy to do in order to clear the air of his natural pollutant! (Pee-yoo!)

The cat's been meowing to be let out of the laundry room, so that she can reinforce her rep of perfuming my potted plants to the point of their extinction, and the phone has been ringing off the hook with telemarketers trying to convince me that I should vote for Obama. (Enough already!)

The doorbell constantly beckons me to let in the nurses, who parade down the hall to grandma's room, carrying their never ending supply of cheerfulness in the hope of raising her spirits to an acceptable level. I don't know how they do it, day after day...but I want some of what ever it is that keeps grinning!

That being said, you can understand my frustration. I will, however, get something done today, even if it kills me.

FYI, I got a question yesterday from another illustrator/author.
He was debating on whether or not it was smart to report multiple submissions in your cover letter. Here's what I told him;

I'll answer your questions, based on what I've learned through the submission process over the years.

Whether we like it or not, publishers are going to talk amongst themselves. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute. Consider this....

How would you feel if you were, assistant editor. A great manuscript just landed on your desk this morning (and there's no mention from the author that it's a multiple submission). You run into your bosses office and place it on top of the pile of others waiting to be reviewed. You say, "I think this might be the one". You're smiling brightly, eager to please your boss. He picks it up and skims the cover letter for the synopsis. "I don't think so," says your boss with a frown. "Jerry mentioned this guy over at the other firm, they recieved it too, and it's being considered."

This scenerio would leave a bad taste in the mouth of the assistant editor. You weren't honest enough to let them know you sent it elsewhere as well, and not only will he throw it out, he'll probably never look at your work again. You made him look like an idiot in front of his boss. And what if that "other firm" decides not to take it? Now you're twice screwed. You lost TWO oportunities....remember, the assistant editor really liked it? He might have helped you get published if you'd been honest. Sometimes, a manuscript is good enough to fight for, but not if the author was someone who tried to fool you from the get-go.

Honesty is the best policy. Even though I'm still waiting for a sale, I've had 4 of my manuscripts make it to the editors desk. Every one of them were multiple submissions. I don't think it hurts one bit to have the courtesy of letting them know it's out there. On the contrary, I think it's a good thing, as they might be more eager to snag it up quick to keep the "other firm" from getting first dibs!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Todays subject: The miracle of "Buttons".

It's day two. I made it back. Miracles do happen, and here's my proof. "Buttons" is still with us after 14 years. I can't help but smile when she's with me, so she's with me now. She's curled up in her basket and her feet are twitching as she sleeps. No doubt, she's chasing a cat in her dream or running through an open field in the bright sunshine, free of the leash and the arthritis that slows her down in reality. Every extra day I get to spend with her is precious and I'm reminded how quickly time passes. My best friend....she's taught me so much without saying a single word.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Todays subject: To Blog or not to Blog.
I keep reading all this stuff about blog pages. One magazine says they are the best tool out there for an artist's self promotion, another says they are creativity boosters for the artist's soul. Well, we'll see. I don't believe everything I read. I am, however, willing to give it a shot and see for myself.
I am already stretched to the limit and I can't (at this moment) imagine how I will find the time for daily entries, let alone the promised epiphanies the magazines boast about. But, (*sigh*) my life is filled with things that keep me from my art, so I'm up for trying anything that might bring me closer to it.
If nothing else, I know that by sharing, I will better appreciate the good things-and people in my life. Maybe it'll be like the berries, sweeter with time.