From Dreaming to Discovering

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I’m spending the afternoon on working on a book of sketches that has been in the works for quite a few months.

When I read through the first draft as I formatted it last week and started really thinking about what those images really meant.  At the time each of them was a cheap way to illustrate a blog, but as a collection, they represent so much more for me.

They represent a revolutionary change in my life.  I’m not making a living as a writer or an artist because of them, but the drawing and the writing is not about making money. It’s about making a life.   And that’s ultimately what the book – and the doodles – are about.

 

 

A Real Lemon

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Normally I work at home in what could best be described as pseudo-jammies – clothes you shouldn’t be caught dead in outside your door but still are when you need to make an appearance at the woodshed or the garden or the country store for a gallon of milk.   Once in a while, however, I scrape the barnacles off and work in town at the cafe on the other side of the mountain.

I’ve become a confirmed hick, so a trip to a town with more than 1000 people is like going to the big city, and the cafe doesn’t disappoint, serving a very sophisticated salad. Last week it came with slices of lemon and, knowing there’s never enough dressing on my salad, I decided to dilute it.

As I squeezed the first quarter of sun-yellow fruit I suddenly forgot all my to-dos as I suddenly thought of my mother.

Mom puts lemon on everything. EVERYTHING.  Except for possibly chocolate and ice cream, and I’m not 100% sure about the ice cream.  It’s kind of a southern tradition.

She’s not from the south, but her mom was, and she lemon-ized everything.

The juice rained down, and I wasn’t thinking about all the things mom and Grandma lemonized.  Instead my mind was suddenly filled with their stories of growing up in an era and social circle where girls went to finishing school, and then (my mom literally was told this when she graduated), they were ‘finished’.  Ready to get married.

But neither of them was finished.

They both took control of their educations and went out and did things.  Grandma worked for other women to have choices.  Mom taught.  Mom still teaches.  They mommed.  And then they Grandma-ed and they looked good doing it (I still can’t figure out how they got everything without the occaisional visit to the local store wearing pseudo-jammies).

I had drained every drop from the first slice and a quick bite of salad revealed a new meal infused with flavor. I couldn’t help but notice the irony that something so beautiful and small could have such consequence.

It’s a lot like my mom and grandmother in that way, and even though no green leaf was un-flavored, I picked up the other slice.   I was in the mood to feel a little stronger.

I Wish

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I wish I knew who this guy is.  He’s the one that just sat down a few tables away.  He’s one of the ‘real artists’.

Every Tuesday, he plops down his drawings and gets coffee and then begins to lose himself to that hypnotic rhythm that all artists – fledgling or fulfilled – know and love.  Every Tuesday, I pass his table to drink in what has already transpired on his page and I breathe out awe.

I wish I knew this guy, and I’ll bet he’d love to talk about his art, but a little demon whispers in my brain, “he would only talk to another real artist, and you are not in that league.”

And sometimes I whisper back, “There are no real or unreal artists. There are only people who need it with every bit of their being and people who don’t.”

But every Tuesday I leave wishing I were brave.