What am I doing with my one wild and amazing life? One thing I have learned is that I am a Storyteller. I delight in treasuring the stories of others and passing along bits and pieces of those stories as encouragement to yet others that I meet along the way.
I was invited to participate in a blog hop–with each person reflecting on what creative projects they are currently pursuing in their own life.
What am I working on? After a few years of making space for creativity and art in my life, I am currently in a season of exploring how to walk forward into the next half of my life. As I said, I have figured out that I am a Storyteller. I have also realized that I need to speak up for those who have lost their voices or are silenced or ignored. As part of this process, I went back to college to finish a Bachelor’s Degree started 35 years ago. I presented a paper about pediatric mental illness at an academic conference this past spring and have submitted a proposal for another paper presentation this fall. Some days I struggle with how this academic study and work could possibly be creative. And yet, I’m learning that my outside-the-box thinking, honed with creative projects, is an asset in the academic world. In addition, I make time for art journaling–using art to explore who I am, who I want to be, and what path I am walking along.
How does my work differ from others in my genre? I tend to be blunt–often using stories from my personal life or the lives of others to illustrate the point I’m trying to make. I am “allergic” to sickly sweet, just-think-positive exhortations. At the same time, I dread sad endings and graphic violence. I get accused of being “Suzie Sunshine,” but I prefer to believe that I am gifted with seeing hope, even in dark places. My deep belief in a God who chooses to be personally involved in the lives of His children is foundational to who I am, to the creative work I do, and to the ways I encourage others who are suffering.
Why do I write what I do? Some of what I write is personal reflection, putting my thoughts into words so I can sort things out. More of what I write is to bring encouragement to others. I believe that as I share my story with another person, both of us are en-couraged–given more courage to move forward in our own lives. Even when the experiences are difficult, sharing the journey brings light into those dark valleys and brings hope for the future. If the lives of even a few people are touched in good ways by my art or writing, that makes it worth all the work it takes to put stories into words or art.
How does my writing process work? Some folks have seen me banging away at my keyboard and expressed amazement when the story just seems to flow onto the page. What they can’t see is the hours and days (and sometimes sleepless nights) where my brain turns words this way and that, rehearsing sentences, and rearranging paragraphs. Eventually, my brain moves from wrestling words in stops and starts, to spewing those words, seemingly fully formed, into the world. Yes, I edit and rewrite. But the basics rarely need to be changed. The same process tends to apply to artwork—days of mulling things around, then rapid flow of capturing the finished picture onto paper.
Blog Hop: Here are some links to some of my favorite bloggers. Hope you enjoy what they share!
Laura Moss is beyond grateful to be able to say she has survived being Mom to 4 spirited girls, a battle with aggressive breast cancer, and some difficult seasons in her almost-25-year marriage. She calls herself a Creative, is drawn to beauty in all its forms, and loves loving on people. You can find more of her musings at gratefulamazement.wordpress.com. (Laura is the one who invited me to participate in this reflective blog hop. Thanks, Laura!)
Celia E. is an artist and writer who started Shapely Women in 2008 to collect artwork that shows curvy women in a positive manner. She has since collected over 1000 paintings and sketches on her blog, which you can follow at shapelywomen.tumblr.com ! (In the next week Celia will add her reflections on these questions and link to other blog writers.)
Chelsea Kay is a mother and teacher to her three sons and a wife to her one husband. She lives a chaotic, unglamorous, and extremely, rich life where she is constantly surprised to find God lurking in the most unexpected corners. She writes as a way of dealing with the roiling, heaving swamp of passions, questions, shortcomings, curiosities and revelations burbling inside her. Writing seems to dredge the swamp enough for her to look around and think about settling in. You can see her writing at http://www.chelseakay.com/ (Chelsea will participate in this blog hop sometime in the next few weeks when life settles down enough to allow time for reflection!)
I challenge YOU to ponder these questions for yourself. What are you working on? What makes you unique? What is your motivation? What is your process? To summarize the questions:
I would love to hear your stories in the comments…or with a link to a blog post you write in reflecting on these questions for your own journey.