Just CRAZY or just really, really Blessed?


How do you explain passion? There are days when  I need to create, and nights when I just have to get up to write something. Like a pilot that has to fly, a surfer that has to surf, a teacher that has to teach or whatever your passion happens to be. It calls to you. At a young age, I knew that I wanted to write. I had it all planned out. I’d write children’s books and they would know my name and look me up in the library and check out my books. I may have missed my mark since now librarys are being replaced by the likes of Amazon. But I did recently check out our local library and it felt so comfortable there. I loved it. Now I write the messages in my cards and if I am lucky to have a few free minutes, I try to write my blog. And from time to time re-visit my book that I keep promising myself that I will finish. And so I sit pondering this passion of mine. I feel blessed. I’ve just returned from another Sugarplum. The craft festival that I did back in my 30s for ten years. And once again travel about four hours to do, about 7 times a year.

I love every single bit of it. Their summer show (the one I just returned from) has turned into one that is quite different from all the rest. It is not “just” the regular Artsy stuff, but also where antiques and vintage, shabby chic and lots and lots of  sales are showcased. It is called Remnants and that is what it is…. a little of this, and that, crafting tools and supplies, material and just exactly what they have named it; “remnants” accumulated by the original vendors to share with the customers that flock to the tune of thousands of shoppers looking for a deal. The first day was so crazy! But because it is a one of a kind sale, dealers as well show up first. I am sure I gave a lot away for a steal of a deal because I am still learning and researching this kind of thing. But this show gave me a new found respect for the collectors of yesterday. It is definitely an education. Between my mother in law’s collections and the odds and ends of my daughter’s mismatched china business I was able to participate in this show and it blew me away how well I did. I’d sold a rack that I was going to use before the show even started so I had to scramble to make my booth look halfway decent (to explain the baskets on the floor!) But people managed to clean me out and make room for me to keep stocking the shelves.

This show was fun, but I am ready to begin creating again and showcasing new art for the upcoming holiday shows again. The thing that I have noticed over the last year of re-entering this world and doing these shows again is, how far they have come, how fast the lines moved and how this once little show has grown into something so magical it is hard to explain. Customers never really GET what is involved in every booth, I remember doing a Sugarplum in the 80s with maybe 50 artists. The check-out station was just a long table with about 5 people checking out everyone. Today they have about 14 cash registers, and 4+ times the amount of artists and vendors. They really have fine-tuned this little show into something so GRAND and  I have to wonder if the customers have any inkling of all the hard work that goes into hosting these events?

I really am talking about what goes on behind the scenes of the magic makers of Sugarplum. But also wanted to share some pictures of  the process of being a participant in that magic. Just in my own set up. As my sweet husband packs me up and follows me down there and returns to pack me back up, to spending a week down there, working my shifts and fluffing my booth. It is a lot of work and as I pass the other vendors setting up and tearing down, we smile at each other and nod, wondering if we are all just crazy or no…. just really, really blessed, doing exactly what we want to do! In my case I feel that I am on my way back to doing what I love.

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Working on me, better late than never… Right?


I have been spending a lot of time with my child. Not my children (though I love my time with them!) The child I am talking about is “me.” My mother in law, a Psychologist, and I have been spending a lot of time together lately as she goes through her “stuff” trying to minimize things ( at exactly the time I am doing a show called Remnants so it’s a win-win for both of us!) And while she has shared her memories of the items she is getting rid of, we have begun talking about life, and family dynamics and it has helped clarify a lot of who I am.

One thing that has come up is how our buttons get pushed and her philosophy is that whatever is triggering a negative reaction is based on something in our childhood, so we need to go back and find that child and figure it out now for them so that they can become unstuck at the place you left them. That has been unusually painful for me. My childhood was pretty great. My mom stayed at home and was always artful, whether it was ceramics or painting, sewing or crocheting , I know I got my artfulness from her. My dad worked at Mattel most of my younger years and give me a break, how could I not have lucked out more than that? I never worried about money, and never really heard my parents fight.

I remember trips to the Mattel Outlet in Hawthorn where their offices were and getting to pick out different things. I grew up in a house overlooking Marineland and the ocean and came home to freshly baked cookies. I know my parents loved me to the moon and back. My dad was the one who took me school clothes shopping at the beginning of every year and who I spent many Saturdays with just hanging out, going to the Barber shop and hardware store and car wash and talking about his childhood and life. And every Sunday my mom taking us to church without my dad most Sundays but faithfully making sure we went to Sunday school.

My childhood was pretty “Leave it To Beaverish.” Except because my dad was up and coming in his career, he had to wine and dine clients and in turn he drank. I am not sure when I really understood it but I remember when  I was nine and my mom woke me up in the middle of the night and said she had to go get my dad out of jail for a DUI. She wanted me to know in case I woke up. I was told to babysit my little sister. It happened again when I was eleven. And as far as I know never again. But that was enough. The damage had been done. My mom shared with me that once they were driving and my dad had been drinking and swerved off the freeway from the left lane to make his off ramp. As an adult, I wonder… Why did I need to know that? Once after a company picnic my dad drove us home drunk and then started talking about wanting to go to a restaurant called Latitude 20. My mom panicked and asked me to try to talk him out of it. I did and he got mad at me but ended up falling asleep. Once again, it was all on me.

My dad used to tell me that if he ever died there were important papers beneath the master bathroom’s drawer, later he’d tell me they were on his computer. I used to get upset. Nobody wants to think that about their parents dying. Especially when you are still in Junior High. But my dad didn’t feel my mom could handle it. My dad did die early. He may have known something was up with his health. Though because he traveled for his job a lot I think that he thought he was going to die in an accident. He had a lot of life insurance but more accident. He did end up dying at 51 of a heart attack. I was married by that time with a 3-year-old son. He was jogging around the block.

My mom just died last year at 83. She was an amazing mom. And a memory making grandma. But also made her share of mistakes. I have realized just recently that I never really got to be a kid. I had so much responsibility heaped on me at a pretty early young age. I didn’t need to know the adult things that were happening in my parent’s life. I think I am angry at both of them. My dad for his alcohol issues and my mom for telling me about them.

I remember asking my dad every single morning when he’d be home that night, and  my mom getting annoyed with me for asking her every single night, if she was worried if my dad wasn’t home when he said he’d be. I remember feeling sad and confused and angry that she was annoyed but feeling that it was my fault and I was just a weird kid that worried too much. I wish I could have understood enough then, to realize it wasn’t my fault and to tell her that she was the reason I was worried. Actually they both were!

Now, I hate the knowing that anyone is annoyed with me, I hate feeling worried and guilty, and today I know exactly what and why I have those buttons and I am working on them. I know that I react more quickly to certain triggers that someone else might just let go.

I wish I could go back to find that little girl and make it okay. I think just by giving myself a break and realizing some of those things have made me really melancholy lately. I wish I’d figured everything out sooner. But better late than never. Right? I guess I could have turned out a lot worse. I guess the message I want to share here is…  If you have worries, and we all do. Share them with another adult. Not your kids. Spare your kids. Let them have their childhood.

 

Those Unconditional Followers


 

I haven’t been terribly supportive in my blog world lately, or any other part of my life right now, because  I have been trying to prove that I can make a living in the art world  again. I plan for this next one, to be one of my most successful shows yet!  I have given myself a time limit to prove to myself and my husband that I can once again, make this “running my own business thing” a success,  and the deadline is quickly approaching.  I have really been working hard in trying to re-build my customer base.

artist studio

You see, I was pretty spoiled a couple of decades ago. I had a rather nice following of customers. I did my shows and made good sales,  finally, landing at one show called Sugarplum (Festivals)  ( sugarplumfestivals.com ) that made all of the others seem to pale to the magic that they created in every way. And so I have signed on again to do almost every one of their shows. I have also moved into a little local shop called Reminisce and have had a booth there for a year.  And just recently reopened my Etsy shop called Dianes’s Designs by Diane. Though as life happened and I slowly stopped doing shows, I slowly lost that “Once Upon A Time” long ago following. Since my customers  couldn’t find me anymore, except for a handful of loyal ones that I still am in touch with and are excited for me to re-enter this part of my past and still boost me up by reminding me of their loyalty.

That also has happened here, on my blog. I noticed the less I write, the more I am losing a lot of my readers. I once tried to write daily, and to keep up and support other writer friends. And notice that there are those sweet readers that pop right back up and support you unconditionally as you write. And then there are a handful of writers that do the same. Regardless, if you have ever supported their writings, they always support you, and then the others that  just stop supporting you if you don’t support them. Though I have shared before that I really started writing here, to basically write my book and my poems….  and to find a place to store my words… but I began kind of getting a charge out of realizing people found me somehow and began reading what I wrote. Just like when someone would purchase one of my paintings or cards, seeing that someone else liked something that I wrote and commented and followed me was a little (for a loss of a better word) addicting.

 

To be honest, what you put into anything is what you get out. Period.  work, writing, hobbies, friendships, relationships, when you really think of it that is how life is. Right? Sure there are those priceless friendships that can start right back up,  where you left off without guilt trips or expectations and those are to be treasured. And other relationships such as maybe familial ones, that are unconditional, but even those will fall away if you don’t nurture them a little. So in my business I must come up with new designs and verses for my cards. And here on my blog, I need to check in rather regularly. I do intend to continue my book series that I promised  (in my last post) that I would continue to work on and I will! But I wanted to let my facebook readers know that I will not be posting my book posts on facebook so if you are interested, please follow me and you will be notified by email when I post a new post and those will be included there. Though I will post other blog posts on facebook, just not my book.

I would like to take this time to stop and thank all of you who are reading this now, because unless you are a first time reader, I know that you are one of those faithful readers who inspire me and comment and continue to unconditionally follow me whether I deserve it or not.

Have you written your synopsis yet?


writers trash can

I think that when I finished my book I knew that I just had the bare bones. A writer friend of mine edited a few of my pages and then another writer friend did the same, but I didn’t want to waste their time, and I knew that I’d be changing things, several times before I’d consider it worthy to be read as “finished.” Or at least that is what I told myself as I only gave them a few pages at a time. I think that it is scary for most writers… because when you finally offer it up as a completed, you are putting yourself out there for the real critiques. You are now saying… I think it is good enough, not… this is still a work in progress. You imagine that raised eye brow reader thinking…”REALLY??? She seriously is done?”

And right now, I know I’m not. I am not even hiding behind the pretense of really thinking that I have told the whole story and now am just editing the grammar. I know that the whole story is not really there yet. It’s getting there but it still is not there.

reading on the floor

Someone recently asked me if I’d written a synopsis of my story. An outline so to speak of my intentions. What I’m trying to convey. Why I even felt the need to tell my story. I think that when I penned the first word several years ago and now, sit here today, a lot has changed in the way of technology and social media, in just the last decade. And so my story continues to evolve, even sitting on the metaphoric back shelf.

However, I do believe that if I am ever going to seriously put this one to bed I need to sit here and write this.

Though this book is presented as fiction, 90% of it really happened. The other 10% was just necessary fluffing and primping. But as I introduce the main character… Keri, she is my vessel that carries me through this project.

woman typing on bes

My goal from the start has been to make others aware of abusive relationships and the blur that keeps us asking… Why did she stay so long? Why doesn’t she just leave? In my story it is important to understand the chronological emotional pull that draws each of us in. All in very different scenarios. And yet to hopefully have even if just one person see themselves in the pages I have written. To maybe have an AHA moment and save themselves.

For anyone interested… I will continue my journey through these pages. “My little work in progress” so to speak. But I have learned that in the world of blogs… if you write 800+ words, you begin to lose your audience… and I do want feedback along the way. So for now I will  just say… To be continued. But I will come back and finish this. I promise.you-are-a-writer