Thursday, January 15, 2015

"Writing it Right"

The bright, warm sunshine which perfectly fills up my bedroom on clear afternoons prompted me today to stop worrying about my long to-do list for Spring and sit, read and try to relax.

Plus, the fact that I drank too much coffee and couldn't seem to shake the caffeine jitters and my racing mind made painting or drawing with a steady hand impossible. And trying to deal with my scanner problems (AGAIN) is not worth the drama I'm likely to spend on them.

I've been meaning to read an author friend of mine's new book called Writing it Right - an inspiring memoir about the transformative power of writing. Coleen Paratore and her mother Peg Spain Murtagh got together every week for a year to "read short pieces about good things in life - a self-help writing club of sorts." (fyi- this book is not for children)

The book chronicles their weekly get-togethers and the writings they shared with each other. I'm less than halfway through the book, but so far, I'm inspired!

I met Coleen years ago when I was fresh out of art school (or still in school? I can't remember) when she hosted a get-together of local authors and illustrators both aspiring and published, at her home. She is easily one of the most positive and upbeat women I know, and if you ever meet her, her excitedness (is that a word?) about following your passion will inspire you too!

Identifying with a writer or any creative person whose work you admire is, I believe, the key element that makes you care about what they are doing. Seeing yourself in their work, whether it's in a particular character, in the way they look at the world, the way they deal with conflict, or the special meals they prepare prompt you to want to keep turning the page. I got to know a little bit about Coleen's life as a child in her previous book Dreamsleeves (a young adult novel "about a girl who wears her dreams on her sleeve") , but reading in Writing it Right about Coleen and her family attending Christ the King Church at one time (my first job was at Christ the King School!), making banana bread for her children and eating buttered white toast with cinnamon sugar made by her mom (my mom made those things for us too!) makes me know her just a little more! 

Coleen and her mother Peg share their life experiences, both good and bad, throughout the book. Their openness to share reminds me that everyone is made up of these good and bad experiences which shape our outlook on life. 

Also it's just nice to stop thinking about my own life and what I'm doing or should be doing every minute of the day, and learn about someone else's life.

Now I've gotta finish the book!
Oh, and keep writing my own stories.

P.S. My boyfriend has recently begun reading a very hefty biography of Gustav Mahler, his favorite classical composer. He is loving it, and learning so much about the historical context of Mahler's various pieces, the geography of the places he lived in, his romantic struggles, the various day jobs he worked to pay the rent, his peers, his revisions, and everything which helped carve his life's work.

It's so awesome to read about how famous people are (or were, years and years ago) just like you! We're all just people, after all.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!

2015 is here!
Wow it came fast. I was sick during Christmas and am just feeling back to normal now (and sending my now very late holiday cards- sorry).

In 2015, I hope to get some personal projects I've been working on (and brainstorming about) off the ground. I'm also making a pledge to myself to stop over-thinking everything and just MAKE MORE ART! I'd like to do some more baking as well... That might turn into an art project too, who knows?