Monday, March 19, 2012

You Have To Use The Talents You've Been Given, The Ones That Call To You Like A Siren In The Sea, No Matter What Anyone Else Thinks!

(Click the above collage to see full size...)

Dear Ones,

Some of you will recognize the collage above. It's one that I did a few months back in conjunction with a website I was creating that I realized was going to be too big and over the top for me, but the collages became a soul expression I have continued in private, a new form of journaling for me, and after having taught creative journal-keeping for 30 years, the artist in me has taken over. I now keep a journal that is a combination of writing and art, which I have been called to do from my deepest self for some time, and it has produced and influenced tremendous changes in my life. Let me explain...

As a woman who will be 58 the end of next month, I was raised and began writing at a time when the book trade was the conventional one of all books being in paper, hardback or paperback, and no other format, and if you were to be successful at all you slogged away and got hundreds of rejection letters from publishers and kept on keeping on until you gave up. "Vantage Presses" were the ones where you had your book "published" if you were desparate enough to see your name in print which simply meant that they printed your bound books for which you paid a tidy sum and then you were on your own. Most of these sat in boxes finally shoved to the back of a closet save those given to family and friends and anyone else who would take one. Today, it is a whole new world. 

Today we have e-Books, audiobooks, and Self-Publishing via reputable "Print-On-Demand" presses wherein you create the book, send it to the press in PDF format, and choose the type of book you want it to be, and they have the printing mechanism prepared so that they only print books as they are ordered,  you get a monthly check and some publicity and from there you can grow. Quite a number of writers have then been picked up by larger presses, but the thing is that it has opened up a whole new world for people who have a unique style and want to get their books in print their way and release them to the world just as they were envisioned in their soul. This has changed the whole world of publishing for me and it has taken me some time to put together the pieces of the puzzle as to why it's taken me so long, after decades of very productive writing and publishing, to get going with just exactly what I want to write now. 

I love blogging and will continue to do so once or twice a week, maybe more, maybe less. I love this blog and the dear readers whom I have been blessed to meet, or who have come to visit, but there is no money involved and frankly, finally, one needs to eat, feed the pugs and the parrots, and buy some flower seeds! And, having a non-traditional nature on the whole, I have wanted badly to do what my soul has been calling me to do, to create books that were a combination of writing and art rather than go the traditional way. The other side of me has put up a good fight saying to me, "You will never sell those ridiculous books, write in a traditional format, find an agent, a publisher, and do what you're supposed to do if your work will have any validity at all." The latter thought has kept me, after being extremely prolific all of my life, even while at home raising and homeschooling three children and writing, having small presses, and home businesses, all at the same time and publishing as well, frozen solid and depressed because there was so much inside of me that longed to express itself in the new dream of books that combined writing and art, while the other side was screaming in my ear, "No, no, no!" and so I hid under a pile of pugs with parrot feathers drifting down on us all and wrote nothing at all, except the blog, which I love, but one has to have a stream of income to survive and a blog is not going to be it. A blog can be part of the whole, as this one will be, but finally I have to marshal my resources and do what my heart is singing arias, like a siren in the sea, calling me to do what I long to do.

Last night I had a session with a woman whose advice and counsel has come to mean a great deal to me and she affirmed for me, without my even asking her, that I should be writing books that were a combination of writing and art. Well I was, as my best darling Canadian friend would say, Gobsmacked! How could she have known. It was the great big resounding YES!!! from the Universe that shook the whole cottage bouncing the pugs and parrots about while I did a silly jig that would have embarrassed all of them! Yes! And all of a sudden the floodgates have opened, there is an enormous stream of creativity flowing like a river through me and out into sketchbooks, and I have brought The Magic Table out of storage to work on. I will have to get a photo of it up soon but I bought it after the separation from my long marriage and, needing to get most everything for the tiny cottage I lived in, I relied on what I love best -- old, used, vintage and even retro things. Even when I moved in here, a far newer (1970) and more spacious abode, everything I bought for my new beloved cottage came from thrift shops, resale shops, antique/consignment shops (When I say "antiques" I refer to what is often called "Grandmother's Antiques" which means its old and in sweet condition but no where near a pricey antique, just a down-home lovely little something or other with history. I love that.), hence, in 1999 came The Magic Table, and it truly is magic to me.

This little table is circa 1930 or so, it isn't large but at one time had a leaf that could be put in the middle that is missing. Curvy edges to the table, flat shelves that pull out on each end, and legs so shapely they would make you blush! Best of all it was painted a beautiful sky blue, and better yet it is a bit battered and that paint has worn away in places or been knicked up. It has seen hard times and better days, the latter, I'd like to think, with me. It has held a tiny, Charlie Brown size Christmas tree hung with hundreds of twinkly blue lights my first Christmas alone. There was no place for the tree but on the table. I have written there, done fiberwork, painted, had vintage quilt-tops spread over it and pinned to the wall just above it, and now it is here to bring me joy while I create the book I've dreamed of for so long. The table and I have both been around a long time and have bumps and scars and bruises, but we are blissfully happy together and joyful partners in creativity. And it will create exactly the set up I need.

My main "desk" is a very old, hand-hewn farmer's table, very long and extremely heavy, that came out of a barn. I love it dearly. It faces out the windows of my studio that face the deck. I sit here and watch the birds at the feeders, listen to the numerous windchimes that tinkle or resound deeply as the breeze sways their chimes and wafts in the open studio windows. It is one of my happiest places in the world. As my desk chair is large and on wheels I can pull The Magic Blue Table close enough so that I can roll back and forth between the two to do all of the types of work I need to do, which includes jars of whimsical crochet hooks, looms, baskets of yarn, fiber to be spun, and large baskets and over-sized Mary Poppins-like carpet bags full of numerous fibers and fiber elements to be hand-spun on spindles. These are the things that fill my days along with the four pugs, four parrots, and my delightful, whimsical Magic Ship Garden. This is Dragonfly Cottage

And so the tales from Dragonfly Cottage, with the animals, the garden, nature, art and all the rest will be part of the back-drop of the deeper writings inside of me that are calling to be expressed, and the art and the writing balance one another, as writing and fiber art always has, and I finally know that I can move forward with my work. There will be no more false starts. This was the biggest Ah-ha! moment of my lifetime and I nearly wept with joy to realize that I could do what my soul has been calling me to do and make my life my life's work. It is a time of bliss and joy and more happiness than I have felt in eons. Thank you God! and everything I hold holy in this universe. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And it seems I have a whole host of holy deities and delightful imps around me to spur me on, keep me company, and help propel me forward if my spirits ever flag, but I doubt that they will, for the most part, because when you are doing what you really love, the joy in that alone rides you through most of the days. The other bits I will spend under a pile of pugs with a good book!

And so I invite you to my world, as it will come within the year in the book already pouring out of me, and in the meantime I will see you here every week and share the delights of life and the whole process of this work that I am doing, and I so encourage you to listen to your heart, really deeply, and find a way to follow your dreams in whatever way you can even if only in bits here and there where you can fit them in to start. They will take you places you never imagined. 

And so Farewell for now sweet friends, and...

Welcome To Dragonfly Cottage

Blessings, Love, Hugs, Pugs and More,


Petula Wright said...

Hi! I didn't quite make it through your entire post, but I really like what I read. I have switched up my journaling lately as well (what a "coincidence" that I click to you now, huh?)... I have a large black journal that was bought for me around 1997. I have used it for lists, notes, character descriptions and everything in between. Now I've covered the pages with images and articles from magazines, cards and notes from children, pictures and information from places I've been and places I wanna go, little stickers and tags that I love and can't bear to throw away. It has become a little place to go to read up on parenting, traveling and all sorts as well as revel in memories.

And then guess what I found a few weeks ago? A journal on Amazon called Wreck this Journal. I've been using it for about a week now. It's sort of a therapy - relaxing my perfectionism type thing for me. It's also pretty silly, but it has reaffirmed why I love including all sorts of things, keepsakes, etc. in my journals. I don't just like to write in it anymore.

An-t-way, excited to see your post about journaling, about the book and what you have going on. Sorry my comment is so long. :-)

Pearl said...

HI Maitri,
This post is very inspiring for a blogger like me. You are so right, use the talent God gave to us, I'm still searching for mine..but! ha ha

It's early in the morning and your post was the first one I read...amazing!


Marc Olson said...

How interesting that I discovered your blog this morning. I've been traveling down some of the same pathways as you have. I especially appreciate the wisdom of your last paragraph. The more I act in this way, the better life becomes.

I look forward to following your blog.

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