Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Luscious Layers" Workshop at Grand River Beads

I actually tore myself away from home for a few hours (thanks to my good friend Kim who babysat for me) to attend Jenny Rohrs's polymer clay class, "Luscious Layers," at Grand River Beads. I had a marvelous time and came back home with several pieces of which I was very proud.

When I came home, I displayed my pendants on the living room table and happily offered Kim any pendant of her choice as a gift of thanks. She chose the one I would have picked for her (unfortunately not shown here).

I find it ironic... I've worked as an ornament designer for 10.5 years, just got laid off, and now am finally taking the first 3D class I've taken since my college days. I'd written a goal for my previous job to learn more about 3D materials by actually experimenting with them (to learn by DOING). I never liked or wanted to work hands-on with 3D materials, because it almost always involves fire and/or heat. I have a definite phobia of fire and handling hot objects (I assume this is a natural fear I've just never learned to overcome).

Now I'm becoming more and more interested in 3D crafts (clay, metals) as I browse the net and drool over the rich artsy collage work I see people doing. Creating art with polymer clay, collage work with vintage images and artifacts, artist trading cards... the more I see out there, the more I want to experiment.
But first thing's first...
I need to create a workspace at home -- just for me.
I think I figured out where that can be... I just need to move my boxes of old baby and maternity clothes in the attic ("hard to get to!" -- ever see the film Serenity?).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Four Letter Word: "SELF" Publishing

Why do we writers feel that self-publishing lowers ourselves as authentic authors?

I recently came across an article in the Artella newsletter: Self Publishing Without Shame. I was thrilled to read another writer's thoughts reflecting my own. I have worked for a large corporation and understand that business decisions are based on providing one thing for the company: MORE INCOME. Money. That is all it's about.

Once I realize this, my light bulb goes "BING!" and I think, "Huh! If that's true, getting published by a corporation could be the same odds as winning the lottery!" Which -- lets face it -- is the truth.

Why would we as writers believe that publishing companies be any different as other corporations? I know so many incredibly talented writers with incredible ideas for books. It frustrates me to think they will never get published just because their idea doesn't match the "hot trend" or because the company has already published a book with a similar theme that year.

We really need to reevaluate our mindset about self-publishing. It doesn't take much money to publish a book these days. With online printers like Lulu, X Libris, and BookSurge, self-publishing is easy. You can even pay to have your book marketed on the web (BookSurge offers online advertisement on Amazon -- for a hefty price).

If you believe enough in your work, and you're willing to go the extra step to do some marketing of your own, why not take matters into your own hands and launch your own self-published book?

It's your dream... don't depend on someone else to make it happen!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rosie's Symbolic Pet

Rose's first pet: a little green caterpillar we found inching it's way across our backyard picnic table. I decided to help my daughter capture it and bring it inside -- she always wants to keep the treasures she finds outside.

I poked several holes in the plastic container's lid and kept the leaf which I used to transport him so he could have something to eat and crawl around on.

A couple days later the caterpillar was gone.
I opened the lid and realized the caterpillar had decided to take matters into his own hands. It was time to make a change. He built his own cocoon.

There were lots of little leaf "crumbs" on the floor of the container and a big chunk of leaf missing -- evidence of the little fellow's handiwork.

It will be interesting to keep an eye on Rosie's pet to see how long it'll take for this little guy to break out of his cocoon.

It took ten years for me to break from my incubation... my chrysalis. I believe the caterpillar will prove himself braver and wiser.

The Pen is Mighty!

I was recently laid off at American Greetings and have been working intensely with Right Management to prepare myself for the journey of choosing a new career path. I took an online test called The Birkman which helps to evaluate my interests and personality to determine which types of careers might fit best.

I wasn't surprised when I saw "Literary" and "Artistic" career pursuits at the very top of my chart. Most of the results merely solidified what I already knew about myself. But on the last page I found at the very top of my Job Strengths & Families Report was the new category: Knowledge Specialist. To the right of this category I read the list of job families: psychologists, counselors, ministers/priests/clergy, ministry managers, physicians, etc.

My eyes focused on "ministers/priests/clergy, ministry managers" and I began to feel that panicked feeling when God is trying to reach me and I resist. I kept thinking, and almost saying out loud: "No... no!" Shaking my head, the tears started to come in response to my internal battle. "No... I can't think about that now. I have kids at home to think of. I have a house to pay for."

Even now as I type these words, I hear an angel murmur softly: "Haven't I always taken care of you?"

Anyway, I left the Birkman evaluation class with much anxiety, wondering if it was just my imagination or if God was really trying to get my attention. I drove around looking for signs as if asking God, "Okay... just give me something real... just a good solid message so I know you're really trying to call me."

I decided to stop at a place with a cute name: CoCo's Family Restaurant, sat down in a booth and ordered my lunch. I produced my journal from my purse and reached in for the pen I grabbed from home that morning. I have no idea from whom or where I got this pen. I think I borrowed it from someone and never returned it. With journal opened and ready to write, for the first time I actually noticed the logo and title on the side of this pen. It read: Ashland Theological Seminary... Doctor of Ministry.

WHOA! I nearly slammed the pen down on the table in front of me in shock and disbelief. I laughed and shook my head. "Okay," I said out loud, "okay, God. I hear you."