A little over a week ago I received the advice that I should not seek publication for my writing. This is depressing.

Dying Dreams

Dying Dreams

It’s not because my writing isn’t good–although that’s likely the case as well. It’s because the advisor thinks I can’t take negative feedback.

I moped around all last week with this piece of information. By Thursday (26 June) I decided the message wasn’t from God since it was making me feel so bad.

I’m certain I’m right about that, or at least partly right. I don’t believe messages from God make one feel bad unless one needs to repent–to change one’s course. But there is still something about the message that seems to have sounded the death knell of my desire to write. No, the death knell of my dream. My old dream.

Not many people know this, but at one time my husband and I attempted adopting two children (at the same time). After the adoption failed, I was advised not to make a second attempt–or any other attempt. This was one of the most difficult concepts to accept that I ever received. Yet, as the years have passed I’ve conceded that the advisor was probably right. I think my life is better having not been a parent and I think the lives of children are too. It’s hard to say because I know I would have tried my hardest, done my best, so I don’t really know how it would have turned out. It is what it is. I have parented puppies and they turn out great–so that’s what I’m good at and the potential for future (post-life) parenting is in place.

I’ve tried to be a dancer, an artist, a teacher. All without measurable success. I learned a great deal. I influenced some lives for the good. Hope I didn’t influence anyone for the worse–it was never my intent to do so. But other people, while applauding my efforts, didn’t like my art. I mean, I could tell it wasn’t terrific stuff. Dance–I started late and didn’t have the stamina to carry on with it for long. It was hard to say good-bye to, but it’s pretty much gone now. A teacher–it’s probably the thing I did best, but again only with mixed success. Never measured up to the dream.

I’m a dreamer. And the last of my dreams was to be a writer. Published.

Yes, I can be an Emily Dickinson (only not as good; even Emily Dickinson, I submit, was not as good as she could have been because, I surmise, of a lack of interaction with others–feedback, if you will. Nevertheless, I’m not a Dickinson scholar). I could stay in my house and paint my little paintings, write my little stories, read books, watch movies. But I have no dreams left.

As life’s end draws closer, I suppose one must come to terms with that. Did I live my dreams? Did I pursue them? Did I try? Did I do my best?

Weird, but I think I did.

Not that life is drawing to a foreseeable close, but still. Every now and then it’s worth considering.

Art Journal Girl

Art Journal Girl

Once upon a time . . .

I learned not to judge by appearance.  God looketh on the heart and so should I.  This includes the heart of a matter.  Sometimes guidance comes in reprehensible-looking packages, so I’ve learned that even when I don’t like a particular word or expression, if my eyes can stomach the content (despite a flaw or two), then I can learn some really great lessons.

Such was the case yesterday.  Below find a quote from one Mandy Jordan, a fellow art-journalist.  (I have edited slightly.  The quote has not lost its meaning.)

“the thing about journaling is that it is supposed to be personal.  if you find yourself comparing your journal pages to others’, if you worry that you’re using material you “shouldn’t” or whatever, stop.  I might even suggest you not join a group like this or otherwise make your journal open to public scrutiny if it makes you feel like you’re trying to fit in or compete or whatever.  I used to read books on journaling techniques and take workshops and subscribe to magazines until I realized that as inspiring as it was, it was ultimately a muse-killer.  I had to walk way from all that and go back to basics, to not [caring] what my journal looked like and if I was “doing it right” before I could find my voice again.  I hope this does not offend. I just hear myself in your questions.”

After reading this I wondered if I would have the strength to quit my online art groups.  I loved what I was seeing from others.  And I got such good ideas for art exploration and imitation that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

I want to spend my creative time wisely.  It’s challenging to post my latest work, but it also feels good for me–in a helpful and enjoyable way.  It would be easy (though a bit of a wrench) to quit, but if it weren’t for the group I wouldn’t be doing any artwork at all.  The challenge to be true to myself but also make art worth looking at is a challenge I can cope with.  I don’t have to post everything.  I think I’ll stick it out for now and see how I learn to deal with situations that are tickly or sticky or tough.

Spend wisely and know when to walk away.