Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Think of yourself as an incandescent power, illuminated and perhaps forever talked to by God and his messengers.

~Brenda Ueland

Last week in my post Taking The Artist’s Way Out. I promised I would discuss my journey through the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  I must admit the first week was a bit low-key, however, I managed my morning pages, writing out my thoughts and worries, first thing in the morning 5 out of 7 times.  I am proud of this, as sometimes writing that early in the morning feels like pulling at a hangnail, however, what I enjoyed about was I didn’t have to edit or think about what I was writing all I had and have to do write what is on my mind as I wake up.

This week, I want to talk about my artist date. What is an Artist Date you ask? Julia Cameron describes it as:

“a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.  In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers.  You do not take anyone on this artist date but you and your inner artist, a.k.a. your creative child…” p. 18

Planning for me is quite difficult.  I am still practicing making commitments and sticking with them especially when it comes to myself.  Also, in my defence, I would like to state that on this journey of self-recovery I give myself permission to change my mind. The key here for me is balance, so I am adapting my dates.. allowing myself to change it on a dime,  if it feels right for me.

This week I had planned to go by the Rivière des Milles Iles with a sketchbook and spend time contemplating the ducks, the free flow of the water, and the enjoying the sweet sound of the waves.  I never made it on that date since the weather was way too hot.  I had to come up with another plan and quick!! Sunday (the end of the Artist week for me) was coming fast!

As I woke up Sunday morning, I grabbed my usual cup of coffee and sat on the balcony to watch the birds find their morning worm (yes I do that).  As I was observing a black bird digging into the ground, a voice came into my head.  “Go to church!” I quickly dismissed the thought and continued watching the show below.  Then it kept coming “Go to the church, GO TO THE CHURCH”.  I was like:  “Shut up! I don’t go to church!” The the voice continued “but you’ve gone to the french church years ago, go to the english church!”

Going to church? Ya right!!

I quickly washed my face, grabbed a decent blue tee, threw on a matching skirt, and ran to out the door. I had 20 minutes to get to the 10 o’oclock mass.  Now mind you, my Sunday mornings have always been, get up, have coffee, watch birds, sit down, go on the computer and play, write or read.  Never, in a million years do I get up and go anywhere, mind you a church, so this was new for me!

As I walked in the church, I was greeted by the priest and the welcoming committee. They all said “Good morning” as I found myself a spot at the far back-end near the pillar and the candles, oh ya and the door (ahem).  A couple up front, a nice looking man with a guitar and his wife I presume,  were singing this song about “welcome, belonging and worthyness” and immediately I started to cry.  I hadn’t even taken a seat, and I realized I forgot to kneel and make the sign of the cross before I actually sat down.  I was desperately seeking Kleenex (which of course I didn’t have), trying to hide the warm flow of tears steaming down my face.

I made it through the service, however, I did experience a huge anxiety attack and almost left.  As I was trying to “keep it together” I kept on focusing on the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who looked like she wanted to give me a hug with her open arms..  I prayed for calm to get through the service. As part of me was enjoying the art, the energy, and the music around me. It was, after all,  MY artist date.

When it was time for “communion” I decided (even though I did have my first communion) to get a blessing, which again, brought tears to my eyes.  I walked back, lit two candles, one for me and one for my brother.  Then I left.

I am so grateful I listened to my inner voice because although I am spiritual and do not practice in the Catholic faith anymore.  I received the message I needed to hear.  You are worthy and you are welcome.  My art is worthy and it is welcome.  My purple hair is worthy and it is welcome.  My children are worthy and they are welcome.  You get the picture?

We are all worthy!

Worthy enough to take myself out for coffee and a muffin afterwards.  I sat for a while with this experience before going home… and I know I will do it again.  Maybe not this church, but there are 3 or 4 other churches to explore.  Not really for their particular “faith” but for what messages of love and acceptance that come with almost any faith.

God is love, and God is creation.

This is what Julia Cameron speaks about in this book.  God could be anything or anyone to you, I call him God because I am comfortable with it.  She explains that through God we find our creativity.  She states to repeat:

“The Great Creator has gifted us with creativity.  Our gift back is our use of it.”  p. 44 week 2

So, this week I will remind myself of these “Rules of The Road”

  • Show up at the page. Use the page to rest, to dream to try;
  • Remember that it is harder and more painful to be a blocked artist than it is to do the work;
  • Choose companions who encourage me to do the work, not just talk about doing the work on why I am not doing the work;
  • Remember that it is my job to do the work, not judge the work;
  • Remind myself “Great Creator, I will take care of the quantity.  You take care of the quality.

Also this coming week,  I do plan to go to the river, and draw.  Lets hope the weather permits.  Also, if you wish to follow Leslee’s journey (my Artist Way partner) you can find her latest blog post here.

BE AWARE!  Go to THE BUTTERFLY LAUNCH PARTY for details on the UNVEILING of my New Website on June 29th 2012!   My peeps are giving gifts to those you enter!  Details on how to enter click HERE!

 

 

Love and Light


designswan.com

Birth and death; we all move between these two unknowns.

Bryant H. McGill

You wake up screaming, full of sweat,  and find  your screams mixed with uncontrollable sobbing.  Once you are able to finally focus on the sunlight coming through your window, you realize that you ARE awake, and it YES, it was just a dream.  Yet, you wonder, why you still feel afraid?  Why is the urge to cry lingering? AND why oh why is it so important you call the person you’ve just dreamed about?  You’ve just had the dreaded “death” dream:  You fear the worst.

I had that dream, almost 20 years ago I am sure.  I do not remember the details surrounding the dream, however, I remember seeing my brother (as if I was high up on a ledge observing him) walking through a parking lot, keys in hand, towards his car.  He looked like he was coming back from a work meeting, he was dressed in his suit (my brother, at the time,  had his own business in the works) and had his briefcase in hand.  He approached his car and as soon as he put the keys in the passenger door to unlock it, IT EXPLODED!!! He was dead!

I woke up at that instant crying so hard I almost threw up.  I immediately came back to my senses, but picked up the phone immediately! I was sure I had a premonition dream and I had to save my brother.  Obviously I didn’t, he’s alive and well today, however, why did I have that dream?

My daughter this week, as I mentioned on my Facebook Page, had a dream I died.  She was very upset, she said when she woke up to the point of crying.  In her dream, after I died and the feeling of loss subsided, she decided to go to the house where we lived in our dream and clean it up.  Once the house cleaned, she told me, she started making a list of things she needed to fix up (to take care of).  Then, she started getting ready to take a boat trip.  Her X step-father was in her dream, telling he it was time to get out of the house.  She said his voice was a reminder that it was time, not malicious.  She quickly got her bags, she said, after saying goodbye to her friends on the computer, and hurried to get out.  The boat ride was waiting.  End of dream.

Note my daughter has had a long term relationship with boats, especially as a young child.  She drew them often.  Sailboats in particular.  She was always standing in her boat on calm waters going ahead towards the sun. Thus, the boat symbolism is very personal to her.  It means, freedom, growth and smooth and safe sailing!  

Of course both my daughter and I experienced a bit of panic when she described her dream to me, BUT really do death dreams mean real death?

Birth!

Often, when we draw the Death card in Tarot, we see the worst, until we read the meaning of the card.  In her Tarot book, The Dreamer’s Journal, Barbara Moore describes the Death card in her deck:

“This card can, but rarely does, refer to physical death, which is some comfort.  Death, though, whether physical or metaphorical, is not an easy experience.  This card implies the end of something, perhaps a job, a relationship, a situation, or an organization.  The actual ending will likely be hard, but once it’s over the cycle continues and something new will come. On the other hand, it may be a welcome closure, such as ending a bad relationship, quitting an unhappy job, or selling a house to get a new one.  On a spiritual level, this can mean a symbolic death where you eliminate old beliefs that no longer work for you and perhaps were holding back.  Death is usually hard, but it must happen before transformation or resurrection occurs”  p. 71

Basically, my daughter’s dream makes a lot of sense if you look at it.  She just finished her 3rd year in high-school, she’s taking charge of her life, she follows house rules more often than not, and is coming into her own!  She studies harder, works harder, makes wise choices, and to top it off, this year I told her that my nagging stops, and her choices begin!  

In fact, her dream is a positive one, where  as in she is growing up, learning to depend LESS on me and MORE on herself. This is a great sign or her maturity.  Another way to look at this dream, according to Craig Hamilton-Parker:

“If you dream about your mother dying… it could represent the death of the “motherly” side of your own nature” A more caring and maternal attitude MAY be needed, according to Hamilton-Parker. There may also be a hidden wish to be independent of the mother.
(Source:  www.dreamsleep.net)

The dream about my brother, at the time, seems to mean about the same.  We were very close and depended a lot on each other.  He was always there for me, and I called him constantly when I needed something.  I think the urge to detach myself from him was in a way to A.  Become independent and B.  detach myself from my “jealousy”.  There was a time my brother’s success with EVERYTHING (women, clients, work, sports, etc..) was something I wanted (not the woman part mind you.. but you get the drift).  

Sometime it takes a big explosion to wake you up!

The next time you have the dreaded death dream.  Take a moment to gather your thoughts and write them down.  Look at what changes you have recently made in your life, or new plans coming up.  You may be experiencing troubles in your relationship, or looking to quit your job for a more interesting one.  Whatever experiences you are having, note the old adage: “out with the old and in with the new”!  

If you have had a death dream recently or in the past, jot it down in the comment section.  It will be my pleasure to help you find the meaning.

Have a great weekend!

k

k

k

k

kk

k

k

k


If you look at J.M. Richardson’s profile picture the first thing you notice is his smile. It screams gentleness with a touch of wittyness and whimsy.  However, there is MORE to him than his picture.  J.M. Richardson is the author of The Twenty-Nine and the up-and-coming book The Apocalypse Mechanism - August 2012.

The Twenty-Nine described by Glenda Bixler:  “A remarkable tale of the potentiality–the reality of our future!”

So humor and whimsy aside, The Twenty Nine is a serious book written by a serious author. Thus, I am very excited to introduce you Mr. Richardson today as Muse In The Valley‘s Author of the Week:

The Interview

What 5 words describe you best?

Educator, writer, husband, father, (boy, this fifth one kills ya) intellectual

Tell us your latest news?

I have two events/signings coming up this summer: one at the Barnes and Noble in Sundance Square in Fort Worth, TX on July 21 at 1 PM, and one on August 18 at the Franklinton, LA library. I will be signing copies of The Twenty-Nine, but also promoting my upcoming August release, The Apocalypse Mechanism.

When and why did you begin writing?

Oh, I think I wrote my first poem in about first grade, and I also remember trying to write a “novel” at the age of about 12. It was a little western bound in brown construction paper that I had frayed along the edges to make it look old…and…western… I’ve wrote poetry and short stories competitively in high school. I tried to start a couple of novels in college, but I did not start serious writing until about six years ago when I began writing The Apocalypse Mechanism. I came to love writing more than I ever knew I could. It’s therapy for me. Helps me release inner frustrations and demons.


What inspired you to write your first book?

The Twenty-Nine is my first published book, but not the first I wrote. It’s inspired by political turmoil that is very much in the news every day. It’s also inspired by Rick Perry, the governor of Texas–a former candidate for President of the United States, who once mentioned that Texas should secede. But the first book I wrote, The Apocalypse Mechanism, is inspired by my love of ancient theology and the connections of those old Middle Eastern religions. It’s also inspired by my fascination with the sophistication of ancient technology.


Do you have a specific writing style?

Kind of. It’s always sort of morphing. I love description, almost to the painfully slow stuff that Steinbeck wrote. But not everyone likes that. Some abhor it. My novels have some deep, slow moments, and I use a lot of description there. But other parts are more fast-paced adventure, and so I cut back on the description and let it flow along. So I use a hybrid of literary fictional word-painting and the pace of an action novel.

Who inspired your main character, Derek, describe him a little?

Derek, to me, is the same kid as millions of other young men that come from broken homes, impoverished, but hard-working families, and an ever-increasingly difficult American economy to live in.  He grows up in rust-belt Cleveland, where his mother was laid off, his father was a dead-beat, and he was just doing what he could to take care of he and his mother.  His mother’s sick, and they have no health insurance, so he ditches the mechanic job for a military career, hoping to make a better living.  he has no idea he’s about to fight in the second American civil war.  Overall, though, he’s a good kid.  He’s a born leader; has a good head on his shoulders.  He’s a little damaged, and we all are, as he comes from a rough family life.  Just striving to find his place in the world.

Give us a blurb about your book The Twenty-Nine, why the title?

Counter-productive partisan politics in Washington have begun to cross the line, and some leaders take drastic measures.  Twenty-nine states out of the fifty secede as they did in 1860, and form a new country called The Republic of America.  Soon, the Republic and the US begin down a path into civil war–American killing American in burning US cities.  


What books have most influenced your life?

I don’t know that I could say that a specific book has ever really influenced my life. I could name several books I like. I love Fahrenheit 451 and Anne Rice‘s Queen of the Damned. I’m a fan of Steinbeck and Stephen King, but I can’t say that there was a book that made me say, “Hey…wow…I’m a changed man.”


If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Anne Rice, and it’s not a vampire thing.  I was way into vampires before this recent mainstream Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries era.  I love Anne Rice’s writing and her style.  I love the complexity of her stories, and how, though it’s supernatural, it all seem to make so much sense.  It’s all so plausible.  I love her darkness.  And it doesn’t hurt that she’s from New Orleans, which is the area I grew up in.


What are your current projects?

Well, The Twenty-Nine got published before The Apocalypse Mechanism, so I had to put the sequel to that, a book I call The Barataria Key, aside to write the sequel to The Twenty-Nine. I’m currently at about 75,000 words with that book, which is called A Line in the Sand, for now at least.


What do you do when you are NOT writing?

Well, I’m a teacher, and I still need the day job for now, so aside from summer and holidays, I’m doing that. I have a wife and two young daughters, so I spend a lot of family time. I play guitar, I like to watch football and baseball. I’m a lover of good beers and enjoy deep intellectual, political, and social discussions. Oh, and I like long walks on the beach…and puppies…


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope, it was pretty air-tight. The Apocalypse Mechanism is going through edits right now, and I’m pretty sure, since it was my first and written quite some time back, that I will be changing a good bit about that one. I don’t know that I could name any specifics at the moment, but they’ll come to me once I get into editing mode.


Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Maybe not from writing the book, but I definitely learned a lot from the process of finding a publisher. This industry is cold and cut-throat. It’s so difficult to get the attention of ANYONE that will take you seriously. I think it’s cool that the e-book revolution has inspired so many new, fresh publishers to pop up and challenge the big New York and London publishers. At the same time, the ease of just anyone being able to upload a manuscript to Amazon and Barnes and Noble has flooded the market, and publishers have had to become more selective than ever. This industry is crazy.


Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is art. So when you hear anyone say that a book was “poorly written” or that some one doesn’t know how to write, don’t listen. That’s like a Monet fan telling Pablo Picasso that his portraits of people were terrible and that it looked like a Kindergartener did them. There is not definition of good art, and there is no definition of good writing. These people sit on their high horses like sentinels, standing watch for “different” styles of writing, ready to defend the language like some holy relic. When it comes down to it, every reader likes a certain type of writing, and rather than say they didn’t care for a book, they pass judgment on it as being a badly written book. So take constructive criticism for what it is, and learn from it, but when it comes to just plain criticism, let it roll off of you.

If you had to give yourself a “theme song” what would it be and why?

The Walyon Jennings song from the Dukes of Hazzard. I grew up in the deep south–southeast Louisiana–and despite the fact that I really don’t listen to a lot of country music or have a pickup truck with a gun rack, there is a part of me that is a fun-loving, light-hearted country boy just floating through this life.


Name three items which need to be with you at all times?

My cell phone, my keys, and my wallet–pretty simple.


What would we find in your junk drawer right now?

Beer coozies, batteries, random buttons and screws, and a million drawings my five-year-old have done because I haven’t had a moment when she wasn’t looking to get rid of some of her masterpieces to make room for the twenty she will draw tomorrow.

Hulk, Spider Man or Iron Man?  Why?

Iron Man. Not only is he virtually indestructible and cool-looking, but he’s also, underneath…what’s the line from The Avengers…a genius, billionaire, philanthropist, playboy.


If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?

To be the most popular best-selling author in the galaxy.

If someone wrote about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?

Man’s head explodes due to too much thinking!

Where to we go to buy The Twenty-Nine?

Amazon  Barnes and Noble and just about any website that sells books.

l

J.M. Richardson is a native of southeast Louisiana where he studied education and social sciences, earning his degree from Louisiana State University.  He has been writing for leisure nearly all of his  life, wrote competitively in high school, and had intensive writing coursework in college.   He now resides in the Fort Worth, TX, area with his wife and two daughters where he teaches geography, history, and sociology. ( source:  Winter Goose Publishing )

 j

j

j

Find Joshua on:

Facebook  *  Twitter

I want to thank J.M. Richardson for this delightful interview.  Please come back to Muse In The Valley in August when The Apocalypse Mechanism comes out.  It will be my pleasure.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed here please contact me at:

 kim.larocque@sympatico.ca


“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”  ~Rabindranath Tagore

Butterflies have been my “sign” lately.  I have them everywhere:  On my windows, as jewelry, on shirts, as stickers, letter stationary on my journals and even clothes.  Just the other day I received a free box of kleenex from my local grocery store, and on it, YES butterflies.  When my friend was shopping for her first house a few months ago, she showed me the one they put an offer on,  and on the front door’s glass window, there were 4 butterflies etched in the glass.  I told her it was a sign she would get the house.  One butterfly for each child (there were 4 going from biggest to smallest).  She’s moving in next weekend!  Also,  My children have recently made me Mother’s day cards and gifts with butterflies on it. Show’s they know their mama.

Last week , when Heather Grace Stewart ,-a fellow Montrealer, author and poet, approached me about the release of her book Where The Butterflies Go, on Kindle, I had to say YES!!  On March 29th, Heather graciously answered a few questions for Muse In The Valley, she was my 2nd Author Of the Week, which in fact became a weekly event due to the enormous success of the interviews.    ( You can read our interview here.)

Where The Butterflies Go is now on Kindle for $2.99 with half the proceeds going to UNICEF!

However, for 3 days only:

Thursday June 21st, Friday June 22nd, Saturday June 23rd it will be free!

You can get it through Amazon.com just click here!

Natasha head reviews Where The Butterflies Go, she writes:

“The first part of the collection, aptly entitled Pain, takes the world face on. Heather’s words trigger sadness, loss and incomprehension, but, these very same words, also inspire hope. This is, in itself, a testament to the quality and strength of her craftsmanship.  The poem ‘Golden Days’, stands out strongly for me.  It’s final lines, looking back to the release of the collection from now, almost rings of prophecy…..

There are dark clouds/Across this Canadian sky

The second part of the book, simply entitled Growth is where you can really see the voice of the poet evolve. The questions that so many of us have; the where, the why of this world, tackled head on with no fear and honest pen.”

~Natasha Head, for The River Review

FREE stuff is always fun, if I had a Kindle I would be right on it!  So go, get Where The Butterflies Go while they are free of charge, and share this WONDERFUL NEWS with your friends.

Love and light



“Pray to catch the bus, then run as fast as you can.” 
                                                   ~  Julia Cameron 

A few weeks ago I pulled out the book The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron.  I know many of you are familiar with this book, and may have even completed the 12 week program.  10 years ago, I received the book as a gift from my friend Mireille. I remember she asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and at the time I read such good reviews about this book that I mentioned it.  Looking at the notes I jotted down in pencil on the sides of the pages,  I am sure I got through most of the program.  Yet, as I often did in those days (quit)  there is no proof that I ever finished it.

Just recently, in a Facebook group I am in, my friend Leslee stated that she too had pulled The Artist’s Way out and felt the urge to do the weekly work, as she tried many times, but to no avail!  So as we both embark on this creative journey together, I have decided to dedicate Tuesdays to write about my experiences and sometimes share some creative writing etc..

Part of this creative process is to help “stop the fear” which blocks creativity by doing weekly tasks, writing morning pages: or as  I call it, “emptying my head of junk”, and weekly artist dates.  The artist dates can consist of seeing a play, spending time at the beach with markers and sketchpad, writing in a park, visiting a museum, but with  no kids, no friends, just me and me alone.

What immediately struck me this week is the amount of synchronicity I am experiencing as soon as I decided to start this adventure with Leslee and Julia C, for example, this week,  Jennifer Shelton, over at FemCentral is talking about muses.  In the  introduction Julia describes her muse:

“I learned to turn my creativity over to the only God I believe in, the God of creativity, the life force Dylan Thomas called “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower”.  I learned to get out of the way and let that creative force work through me.  I learned to just show up at the page and write down what I heard.  Writing became more like eavesdropping and less like inventing a nuclear bomb.  I wasn’t so tricky, and it didn’t blow up on me anymore…”

My creative photography/art

This past year, I’ve been called to create more than ever. I am writing more, drawing more and have taken up amateur photography, specializing in close up work. All this, I’ve discovered, has allowed me to spread my wings, and feel more “me” for a lack of a better word.  I feel extremely free when I create, it expands my world, and I no longer feel trapped in this place where I felt I needed to conform, despite my long-term relationship with non conformity.

So, I hope you will join me every Tuesday, as I “log into” the creative child in me, and prove to myself once and for all:

  • Creativity is the natural order of life.  Life is energy:  pure creative energy.
  • There is an underlying, indwelling creative force infusing all of life – including ourselves.
  • We are ourselves, creations.  And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
  • As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.
  • Our creative dreams and yearning come from a divine source.  As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.

Basic Principles, The Artist Way p. 3

One of the tasks this week is:

“If you had five other imaginary lives to lead, what would you do in each of them?”   I chose:

  • Nature photographer for National Geographic

  • Children’s book writer and illustrator

  • Belly Dancer

  • Spiritual counselor

  • “Penelope” from Criminal Minds, I would be like a super computer geek finding criminals!

Now I have to pick one and do something this week in relation to it.  I haven’t picked one yet, but I’ll let you know next week what I did!

So my friends, 10 years later, I am about to embark on a journey (which I think I have already began) which I feel, will allow me to express more who I am through writing, drawing and photography.

Are you with me?

I am.. if anyone else wants to join in our trip through The Artist Way land, feel free to let me know, and we can exchange our progress every Sunday.

I have a big announcement to make next week, and there are giveaways involved!  So stay tuned.

Love and Light

l

l

l

l

l

l


To my dad and all dads who care enough to give the very best of themselves to their children.

 

 

DADDY!

Let me tell you a story,

I swear to God its true,

The first love of my life,

Was really really you!

In the early morning,

I loved to watch you shave,

And when you suited up for work,

Love hit me like a wave.

You kissed me every morning,

And hugged me every night,

Laughing at your stories,

Left me sleeping snug and tight.

Your love for things like music,

Words and silly games,

Has followed me my lifetime,

And keeps my mind aflame.

I was a little jealous.

of things that took your time.

This makes me a wee bit sad,

As I write this little rhyme.

The woman I have now become,

Today I know you see !

And because of you, my dad!

I am all that I can be!!

Happy Father’s Day dad,

I love you mucho grande!

k

kk

k

k

k

k

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 973 other followers

%d bloggers like this: