My sweet friend Michelle asked me to participate in a little virtual stroll. I was delighted with the opportunity to slow down, reflect, and sit on the virtual porch of so many. You can see Michelle's response to the same questions here, and at the bottom of the post you will links to three other dear friends of mine who will be posting there responses next Monday.
So grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine . . . settle in . . . and let's begin
1. What am I working on?
Each year I choose a word to focus on throughout the year. One word to tuck in my pocket, dream about, and see what unfolds. This year I choose 'BUILD'. Upon choosing this word I had no idea what would unfold, as so often happens when you choose a word for the year. You think it will become one thing, and then a whole new world opens up to you.
There is so much being built this year.
Dustin and I are building a house. A home to grow into, a place to create memories, and a safe haven to strengthen our relationship. It is a big undertaking and each day we are working on it. Plans and dreams shaping into a home.
I am also building my physical strength as I train for the 2014 NYC Marathon. I have dreamed of running a marathon, but never thought I would actually do it. For some reason this year I said YES! I want to be in the best physical shape I have ever been in this year, and I really want toned arms. :) Training for the marathon takes a lot of time, and a lot of dedication. It is an excited adventure.
Another dream I am building this year is writing the book that has been living in my heart. The one that I cannot say no to anymore. The one that wakes me in the middle of then night, and floods me with thoughts when I first wake up. I have always wanted to write a book, and this year I have began actually doing it.
Inside there is a deeper desire to build more. As if building a house, running a marathon, and writing a book weren't enough to tackle in a year. I am craving and yearning for community. I want to connect on a deeper level with women. Have the conversations we all want to have. Create a safe space to dream, play, and ignite the spark that is deep within us. I want to cultivate that community. Plant the seeds and watch them grow. This idea has been swirling in my mind for a while, and I have yet figured out how to make it work. But the ideas keep coming, and I keep catching them. I know one day they will all come together.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
What I love about art and creativity is that even when we are practicing the same medium the outcome is totally different dependent upon our experiences.
I attended a painting class with my mom where the instructor took us step by step to paint what she had on her canvas. There were about 30 individuals in that class and at the end of the night we all had some rendition of what the teacher had, but no two were exactly a like. Everyone was drawn to something different. Some added more sparkle to the sky. Some made there lights tiny, while others were big and bold. Everyone put there own spin on it.
The same goes with writing. I could provide you all with the same writing prompt and no two stories will be the same. We write what is in our heart, based off of what we have gone through. Different things have hung around inside of us and the page is just waiting to catch these feelings.
When I show up on the page my heart spills open. The words come out. The blank page allows me the space to process the feelings, even the messy ones. I try to stay as open as I can. I am not fearful of the page. I am grateful for its existence, and for the way it never judges. It just sits there and takes it, whatever it is that I spill out.
When I teach in person or online my demeanor is calming, and nurturing. I am not one to stand it the center of the room belting out a song or seeking out attention. Instead I am quietly observing. Soaking it all in. When I speak there is thought behind the words. I like to cultivate a space of trust so my students feel comfortable and confidante to open there hearts.
3. Why do I write / create what I do?
Ever since I was a little girl I was scribbling away in my journal, then safely tucking it under my bed so that my brothers wouldn't find it. It was my safe haven. The one place I could always show up to, and never be judged. It has become ingrained in me. It is how I process. It is how I breathe. I write because I know no other way. Writing is like breathing to me. It comes naturally and has to be done, each and every day.
They say we teach what we most need to learn. I feel we gravitate towards what our souls most desire, and when we cannot find it we create it for ourselves. That is how the Love Notes PostCard Project was born. My love for written mail, combined with my collection of postcards, and deep desire to have people share more words from their heart emerged the idea for strangers to write to one another. And before long, some of these strangers became friends. There is something so intimate about sitting down to a piece of paper and writing to someone. Your heart spills onto the page with each word. And when you send that little nugget of your heart out into the world to travel through the postal system it ignites smiles with each hand it passes through and brings a beautiful surprise to the one receiving it. I needed that piece of inspiration to arrive in own mailbox, and so I rallied for others to join in, and they have.
There is a human part in all of us that wants to be seen. That needs to be heard. That desires love and encouragement from others. My work is about putting it all out on the line. Showing up as YOU, exactly as you are - - - heart torn open, wing broken, smile falling slowing into a friend - - - and being ok with where you are. We never stay in one place for to long, we are always off on the next adventure and we learn from the hard times. We carry the wisdom with us, and we find our own sunshine and happiness along the way.
4. How does your writing / creating process work?
I don't really have an actual process for my work. My best ideas come to when I am at my 9 - 5, and should be concentrating on other things. I never feel I have enough time to do what I want to do. Ideas are amazing in my head, and a struggle to actually complete.
So I show up everyday in my composition notebook jotting to sentiment from my heart. There are many days I am simply just pouring out feelings. I have pages and pages of 'dear diary' type writing. My vulnerable heart afraid to share these words with the world. But other days surprise me, that vulnerability spills out through the keys on my keyboard. I read the words over, then hit publish. I trust that what has been written needs to be said. I don't censor myself in my writing. I don't edit the content. I open up a new blog post and begin. Usually with no idea of what I am going to write about it.
I tend to thrive in the chaos. My best ideas coming to me at the very last minute. It seems to be my way, and organized chaos though - - - because I need organization.
And it is my honor and pleasure to introduce to you these three stunning souls who have touched my heart deeply through there own creative process, beautiful work, and ability to share there heart with the world. They will be sharing there response to the same questions the week of May 5th. We have. . .
Mindy Tsonas is an Artist, Feminist and Wish Alchemist. She helps women find the right mix of magic and meaning in life through their own unique alchemy of wish-mailing, kindred connections, core creativity, passionate work and play, fierce self love, and authentic sexuality. You can find her at: www.mindytsonas.blogspot.com
Louis Gale is a British artist, with a passion for color, pattern and energy. She lives in Spain overlooking the ocean with a view of Gibraltar rock, fishing boast and the north African coastline in the distance. Louise spends her days creating, running creative workshops, and assisting other creative souls with their businesses. You can find her at: www.louisegale.com
Kelly Barton :: a little bit from her ::
"little pockets filled with color and flare
days ago. dancing in this girls memory.
simple. lemonade summers. hot chocolate winters.
this girl telling this stories she collected
and stuffed deep in her pockets.
believer of the simple.
maker of the color.
owner of the laughter.
teller of the story.
in real time i lived deep in the middle, always finding color in rare. happy places. i also love to teach along the sea, gathering with other souls and watching happy faces as they discover how simple creating really can be. some days you might find me walking down the street with delilah blue, a sweet but sassy airedale. you might even see me riding around on my old schwinn clover. at the end of the day, i just want us all to be happy, kind and finding new ways to bring color into our days."
Thanks for joining me and these other fabulous ladies on there virtual porches, where the light is always on.