2am ponderings of a crazy lady

It’s about 2am and I just finished up some work to show to someone ‘important’ in a b’ig city’. I needed some sample illustrations and I wanted some that were new and fresh. I will be emailing off my samples in the morning and am crossing all fingers and toes. I can’t say any details right now, but I am excited just to have someone that is willing to look. It’s a big deal. So I am nervous too, but it is time to be putting more and more of my art out there. The production of my other book is finished and we proposed more to the publisher. And I need to finish some samples for another idea we had. The review committee meets in a few weeks and we want them to have lots of choices. Again crossing all fingers and toes.

Hopefully I will be reporting more and more exciting news here. As some of my regular readers know, currently I am at a part time design job at a local college here. It is no secret to my coworkers that I have other things in the works and that I will have to leave at some point. I have no idea if it will be in a month, or in six months, or a year, but it will happen. It is hard to have to go backwards sometimes for your dreams. It can be frustrating and make you feel at times that ‘it’ is never going to happen. I was joking with a friend of mine who is an artist as well and while great things are happening for her, it is funny how you can be struggling at the same time. I often joke that I wouldn’t wish being an artist on my worst enemy and wish I had been born with a passion for accounting. Often an artist will ask themselves, “WHY do I do this?? It is SO hard!!” But the plain and simple truth is that we simply cannot. We can’t not paint, we can’t not write, we can’t not create what is in our heads. Otherwise I imagine our heads would just pop off from the pressure.

Almost every night I go to bed and ideas for paintings and children’s books pop into my head. I finally gave up and have been getting up when I have to to write these gems down. I never quite remember the exact phrases in the morning if I don’t. Cause every morning I have these crazy dreams that I remember. They are crazy. And I wish there was something I could do with them, but if I made them public I might get locked up. They can be really looney tunes. The point is my brain never shuts off. It never takes a break. It is always thinking of something to make or create or an idea to do something. So I am constantly filled with the urge and need to create. I wonder why God was not a bit more useful with me and gave me a few extra urges that involved cleaning a house, doing some laundry, loading the dishwasher. Sadly, I just don’t have lots of time for all that. I tell my boyfriend, I would be a better housekeeper, but put simply, it is God’s fault. He made me this way. It seems when he was making me he had plenty of Martha types already and he needed a scatter-brained, forgetful woman who never closes cabinet doors, never fully screws lids on all the way resulting in frequent disasters and has an obsession with dogs and art…and dogs IN art. Not quite sure what he was thinking when he created me, but I am quite certain I provide hours of amusement for him. I certainly like my life, and am not complaining, don’t get me wrong. I find it perfectly acceptable to paint for 12 hours a day, forgetting if I ate lunch or not and only realizing when my boyfriend walks in the door from work that I forgot to put the sheets in the dryer that he put in the wash before he left for work. Oops. “But, hey honey! Look at this painting of Rufus skiing down a hill that I just finished! Doesn’t it just make you smile?”

Do you wanna see?

I got the final version of the cover that the publisher chose. They are still playing with the name. The name of the book was never my choice, so we will see what ends up being the final one. I also just found out they are printing in China instead of the Sates, which hopefully means a bigger print run! Woot! This will be available December 2007.

I am very excited and have some more things going on that I will be letting you know about. I will be letting you know about all the wonderful things that are going on in my life, not just with my art! There will be lots of good, happy posts and I refuse to dwell on any more negatives or negative people. Life is just too short and there are far too many amazing things to think about instead. So if you have been holding on to any anger in your life, let it go too. It is so much better to just forgive and move on.

Have a wonderful, happy day and fantastic weekend! It’s Friday and I’m going to my niece’s 3rd birthday party up in N.C. with the two most awesome kids and the best boyfriend ever in the world!

Quote of the day and a saying I live by: “The difference between the people that get to live their dreams and the ones who don’t, is that the people who live their dreams NEVER gave up.”

Inspiring Friends

Ok, this is a fun fun post. Let’s see? Where to begin? Five years ago three people met online. Me, Jill and Elena We found each other and gravitated to each other. We became online best friends. We were all on the beginning of our “dream” paths. One was a writer that had JUST landed an agent with her first novel, Summers At Blue Lake. One was an illustrator that had a very well known website and was experiencing motherhood at 100 miles per hour after having three children in 2 years. (yes, you read that right!) One was an artist that was trying to make her way selling her art. The three women finally met up three years ago this month. They talked and gabbed and cried and felt like they had known each other their whole lives. For the past five years we have encouraged each other, celebrated highs and been there to support each other during the lows. The life of an artist is not alwasy as romantic as it seems. Well this month one of us had a HUGE thing happen! Her book was published and is available in stores. It officially came out August 3rd, and I could have bought it online on amazon, but I wanted the moment. THE MOMENT. The one where I walked into a book store and picked it off the shelves. Cause if I could do that, then it was real. REALLY TRULY REAL. And I know what I experienced on Saturday night was only a teeny, tiny part of what Jill felt when she walked into a bookstore and saw her book on the shelf. I at first did not see her book, then I went and got help. I told the sales lady VERY LOUDLY that it was one of my best friend’s book that I was looking for. Heads turned and looked. the sales lady told me to tell her “Congratulations!” We found the book and I took pictures. Of course I did!! HUGE moment. Jill, you are an inspiration and I am thrilled for you and am so thankful you have allowed me to come along on this journey with you. I can’t wait to see the amazing places your career brings you. I will always be here for you and Elena and there is nothing like celebrating these moments. Even if it is hundreds of miles away, I could not feel more like I am right there with you.

The Dude turns eleven. Huh?!

At this moment eleven years ago, I was wondering where the hell the man with the epidural was and how much longer I’d have to wait on him. I had been induced one mere hour earlier and the superwoman that I am, was done. I endured one more hour of pain, got my blessed, blessed medicine from a man I think I promised to name my baby after, and enjoyed the rest of my labor. Telling everyone I saw, repeatedly, that if illegal drugs felt THIS good, well, I certainly understand addiction now. Now that I was no longer in mind bending pain (yes, I fully admit I am a wuss) I had time to really ponder my current situation. Hmmmm, baby. Baaaaabeeeeeee. Of MINE. Not like a puppy, where I could make up some asthma lie after I realized how much work they took, peed all over and whined all night, and sheepishly and sorrowfully take it back to the adoption place I had gotten it. Nope. This was mine and I was wondering, “What the HELL had I done?” I was in no position to be a mom. I had only JUST graduated art school, and let me tell you, walking into an interview eight months pregnant? Not so much a selling point. We were poor. I was living with a man that while he could make me laugh all day long, was an expert at Nintendo and making up really good reasons that he could not make it into work that day, he was not so much with the bringing home the bacon thing.

We were poor. Pooooor. As in the day before Noah was born, I had gone to the pawn shop and sold every piece of jewelry I owned. The ring I got when I was thirteen from my parents for eighth grade graduation, the first ever ring a man gave me at seventeen (it was cheesy and said I love you, but I loved that little ring and what it meant), a gorgeous blue topaz ring my mom gave me when I road on a greyhound bus for 36 hours over sping break from NJ to Texas just to surprise them and i didn’t want to ask them for money to fly home. And a few others. The jewelry were my memories, they meant a lot. But my baby meant more. When the doctor told me she was inducing me the next day and my food cabinets were empty and I knew my parents were coming in the next day I would be damned if I would let them know how bad things were. In hindsight, I am sure they knew, but it was a pride thing. And so I willingly, and gladly sold what I had for my baby. I was a mom now and I would do anything, ANYTHING for my son. But the day before I just THOUGHT I would do anything for my baby. The day after he was here, in my arms? It is a feeling I can’t describe. I would walk through a scorching desert, eating icky bugs – like really gross ones too, and carrying a 100 lb load for my son. I would do anything and everything that would make his life better, easier, happier. No longer was I just me, I was mom. And MOM is powerful.

That night after eating almost a whole extra cheese new york style pizza that I craved for the last 3 months of pregnancy but couldn’t eat because of heartburn that I can only describe as battery acid being pourd up my throat from my stomach, I held my baby. Noah Grey. He was perfect. I changed his diaper and it was my first. I was never a babysitter. I would rather cut a lawn, clean a house, or for that matter hit my head repeatedly than entertain small children for money. I was terrified by being a mother, but awed at this little creature that was mine. I stared at him and watched him sleep all night long. I wouldn’t let the nurses take him until they insisted at close to 6 in the morning that I NEEDED sleep. I was just mesmerized. I fell in love, completley totally in love with this baby that day. And that love has only grown. Like I never could have imagined.

Noah just hit five feet tall this summer. That, is CRAZY. Craaaaaazeeee. He is as tall as my mom. And yes, i know that makes her short, but it makes my son TALL. Today I am taking him for his middle school orientation. People? How can my baby be going to middle school when it seems my middle school memories are still so fresh sitting right there in my brain? When i can remember the names of my friends, the names of the popular kids, the terrifying moment I realized they MADE US DO GYMNASTICS in gym class? This is just not possible. Has a time warp happened? Has some kind of worm hole been used here? That itty bitty baby that made me become a woman who will be damned if someone tells me I can’t do something, is eleven.

Noah, thank you for giving me the gift of motherhood. For giving me courage. for making me take risks even when I was terrified because it might make YOUR life better. I remember the day I brought a bunch of my little painted cigar boxes into a tiny art gallery. I was shaking like a leaf and I literally held you between me and the owner to deflect the pain of any disappointment. Your 10 month old chubby baby body clung to my body and YOU held ME up. The owner looked at your smile and chubby cheaks and said she would be delighted to carry my art and wanted all I could give her. I thought I could might pass out from joy and knew you were my good luck charm. I drove home singing to you and smiling and telling you all my hopes and dreams, promising you I would always take care of you and show you that the world is full of joy and I promised I would go after my dreams to prove to you it could be done. When I got home the phone was ringing. It was the gallery owner. She had already sold a box. It was the one painted with clouds and had the line, “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world…”

Thank you Noah for making my world so very wonderful. I love you, I adore you.