“Artists are people who are not at all interested in the facts—only in the truth. You get the facts from outside. The truth you get from inside.” --Ursula K. LeGuin

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Stop Sharpening Pencils

When my daughter and I were traveling across country, we stopped at a little restaurant in New Mexico where the waitress loved us up so much we were practically throwing tips at her.

While I remember that waitress, and I know we tipped her abundantly, I don’t remember the food.(Unlike the Easter dinner we had at the Anasazi Restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico where we had the best dinner of our lives so far. There Content was King.)

#Marie Foleo, whose B-school course I am taking, admonishes her students not to offer discounts or place their items on sale. 

Customers who are always looking for the lowest prices, and the best deals, will abandon you when times get tough. They will go to someone with a lower price. However, Foleo says, give away a lot of stuff, information, or service/love, such as the waitress in New Mexico gave us. We remember her to this day, and that was over ten years ago.

You will be contributing.

Yes, we want/need money to live on, but above that we want to make a difference.

You might have noticed that the sites you are apt to sign up for have already given you tons of good advice or information.

I think back to Tony Robbins—everybody knows him, right? I have gone to events that were not his; he was simply one of the speakers, yet he gives so much of himself on stage that you are apt to go into overload. The first time I heard him speak live was in Portland Oregon over twenty years ago. I was so jazzed when I came out of that auditorium that I didn’t feel the ground beneath my feet.

Online Tony’s abundance of free information is there for the taking. When I saw the free Netflix documentary,  #“I am Not Your Guru,” I was sold.

After more than twenty years of knowing who he was, and being awed by his knowledge, and ability to move people, I plunked down my money and bought a plane ticket—and got lost.

But not permanently lost.

What kept me from his events for so long?


I was afraid of getting busted. I was afraid of walking on fire. It was too expensive, all those, but it was my life on the line, as is yours.

Sometimes you just have to grab your own running shoes and get going.

Anyone attempting to expand their horizons, whether it be a new artistic endeavor, a new business, or changing one’s life pattern, runs into fear.

 Steven Pressfield, in his book, The War of Art, calls it “Resistance.”

Resistance doesn’t want us to do this. It doesn’t want us to do that. Instead of doing the work we were born to do, we procrastinate, we watch television, play with our cell phone, have a new love affair,  drink, take drugs, tell ourselves we couldn’t do it anyway, who are we? You know all those things that keep us from our true calling.

Why do we sharpen so many pencils ( figuratively speaking) before sitting down to the keyboard?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dear Writer

Bookish daydreams

You know how it feels, don’t you, to sit down at the computer/typewriter and have a Muse sitting beside you whispering in your ear?

You know that it isn’t only you who are doing the work.

You know that there are unseen forces at work. So you can’t really take credit for it. (Perhaps when the writing stinks, the voice is saying, “Ah ha,” you weren’t listening.” )

You were trying to please the masses, your audience, your customer.

That’s not your job—unless that’s what you want to do—we do need to make a buck from time to time.

The greater calling, however, is to do the work—your work, what your are meant to do.

No more sharpening pencils, washing dishes, shingling the roof, sit your butt down on the chair, place your fingers on the keys, and listen.

Now type.

You’ll write crap—that’s okay, you have an ongoing relationship with the Muse, the angel, the still small voice. But you are persistent. You are doing the work.

You are an artist.

Oh, there are hacks out there, and you’ll get pulled into that trap from time to time—you’ll try to please the audience, to follow an established route, to listen to the gurus, without remembering that you have one sitting on our shoulder.

And then you’ll stop. You’ll listen, “Do the work you were meant to do.”

Write it down/ paint it/write the music/ create/cure cancer/build the next great gizmo. Do what you were sent here to do.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Who Needs Another Blog?

Who needs another blog, another novel, or another non-fiction book?  

You, writer, aren’t perfect enough, smart enough, educated enough, skinny enough, fat enough, or rich enough.

Perfect, smell, smell. You are enough. Keep doing it UNTIL.

Who needs another person blowing their own horn?

If you have a horn—blow it

If you think the world doesn’t need your product, think again.

You are the only person with your take on the world and the people in it.
Think  of  Oprah Winfrey. If she had said, “The world doesn’t need another talk show, Phil Donohue has that sewn up,” we wouldn’t have gotten her contribution. (And that lady just might be the one to overturn the next Presidential election. In my dreams.)

This morning I listened to #Steven Pressfield, a novel, non-fiction and screenplay author. #Marie Forleo interviewed him specifically about his three non-fiction books, The Art of Work, Do the work,  and Turning Pro. He self-published Turning Pro saying he wanted control of his own content, his own book cover, and to make $3.75 a book instead of 30 cents.  His publisher would not allow him to give away copies. His response? If I give away 1,000 copies, at least I have my book in front of 1,000 people.

Give it some thought.

 In a conversation with my friend June about what I was writing, she said, “A spinster, a retired school teacher?! That won’t fly.”

Oh, but June, one is never too old for romance and for living an exuberant life. Wonderful June discovered that when she moved into a retirement complex and fell in love with a widower.

We never know the ramification of our lives do we?

When I told June the opening line for a sequel, to Song of Africa,  “You killed my mother you low-down son-of-a-bitch.” She said, Hallelujah! You have been too nice.

But then June had not read my books.  

(She has macular degeneration.)