Category Archives: painting

follow the wandering muse

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During my longer-than-planned break from this blog, I’ve been insanely busy with my writing as well as the starting of a business I hope to have for the rest of my life.  

My new project is called “Follow the Wandering Muse” and you can see the website HERE.  It’s a blog filled with writing prompts, adventure prompts, writing tips and travel tips, and the promise of much more to come.  It’s for writers who travel, which is different than travel writers (people who write about traveling while doing it).  

I realized recently that I needed to somehow combine my passion for travel with my passion for writing.  And I checked online, I looked everywhere, and I couldn’t find any website designated to writers that happen to travel, or use travel as a way to inspire their writing.  Everything was for travel writing itself, or just writing, or just traveling.  If anyone does find something similar to my new blog, please feel free to let me know, as I always want to be aware of sister sites to be sure I can keep my own content fresh and unique (like my post about writing from the point of view of a monkey🙂  

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So, right now, before you do anything else, go and check out my new site!   And get ready for workshops, writing retreats, a book of writing prompts for writers who travel, an Etsy store where I plan to sell things I sew (like great shoulder bags and belt bags for writers who travel and want to stay minimalist), and someday I’d like to have retreats on a Wharram catamaran as well as a “follow the wandering muse” tiny house on wheels that I can rent out to solo writers looking for a tiny house retreat in various locations.  

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Big dreams here, but I’m used to having big dreams (and usually making them come true)!  Wish me luck.  And before you go, try this simple prompt to get yourself writing:  

Open your door.  

Step outside.  

Walk until you find something you love.  

Sit down.  

Write.

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for those who’s passions are divided…

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A friend recently emailed me about feeling like she is pulled between two different directions for life work and graduate school.  It reminded me of my own experiences during my 20’s, and I feel like this is something many people must go through, so I want to devote a post to how I came to decide between my art and my writing.

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I grew up writing poetry and drawing, because my mother used to write poetry and she did a lot of sketching, toll painting, and craft projects that made me really inspired to do my own things with pencils, paint, and pens.  I loved English and Art throughout High School, so when I went to college, I double majored in both English, with a writing focus, and Studio Art, with a painting focus.  The first job I got after college was painting a mural of a sunset and a Robert Frost quote.  After that, I painted a handful of murals in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, North India, Kenya, and Key West.  I also taught mural painting to primary school children in Dun Chaoin, Ireland (which was even more fun than painting murals).  You can see these murals on my author website HERE.  I am most proud of my experiences teaching mural painting in Ireland and of the Key West mural, but during all of these projects, I was always writing poetry, memoir, or fiction on the side.

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I was doing a lot of smaller paintings while living on the west coast of Ireland from 2005 until the end of 2006.  It was during this time that I wrote the first draft of my memoir of Animal Care in South India and the life of my dear friend Ann, who I lost to colon cancer in 2005.  I’ll always love that magic that happens when I sit in front of a wall or a canvas and just paint.  Or the magic of travel photography, which I also dabbled in, but I never developed my ability to edit my photos after taking them.  I just loved taking great travel pictures, which made me more of a snapshot photographer than a real photographer.

Anyway—it was through the writing of my memoir of stray dogs, and through the poetry I was perpetually writing about my romantic relationships and my relationship to the world, that I came to realize something important:

I might LOVE painting and photography, but I also LOVE writing.

So how do I choose which to devote my life to 100%, knowing that the “runner up” would probably only get 30% of my attention henceforth?

I decided on the writing because I read my words and I looked at my pictures, and I saw that I was a much better writer than I was an artist/photographer.  I also needed to write far more often than I needed to paint or take pictures of things.  And that’s what prompted me to apply to Goddard College for my MFA in Creative Writing, instead of going to art or photography school.

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So what I’m offering to you with this post, if you are thus “undecided”, or “balancing between” two passions, or three passions) — do the following:

1.  Seriously critique your work thus far in those fields.  Answer this question honestly—which thing do I do better?

2.  Think about your NEEDS.  Ask yourself—which thing do I need to do more often?  Which thing can I live without, and which can’t I live without?

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Don’t think about money, or which would be easier to devote your life to, because we aren’t here to sit back and take it easy.  We’re here to follow our passions and go on adventures—right?

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