Friday, November 30, 2012

Sleepy Toon

When hubby and I first started dating, we made each other mixed CDs. I know! Isn't it just so cute?

Anyway, one of the CDs that he made me contained this song. I'd never heard it before, but as soon as I did, I was hooked on it. For weeks, it played on repeat in my car. I just imagined myself dancing to this at some street fair, my skirts and hair flying in the wind.

It's such a wonderful song by a band that's not well-known. So, I thought I'd share it with you all. Something new to tickle your ears, my lovelies. Without further ado, I give you "Sleepy Toon" by Wolfstone.

Well, I hope you enjoyed and I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Nightmare Should Be Over: Dealing with PTSD

♫ And though the nightmare should be over
some of the terrors are still intact
I hear that ugly, coarse and violent voice
and then (s)he grabs me from behind
and then (s)he pulls me back ♫

The lyrics above are from a song by Meat Loaf called "Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are." 

Those lyrics strike very close to home for those of us with PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can happen for a myriad of reasons. Basically, it boils down to a person being exposed to stress where they feel that their life or safety may be in danger. If this happens often enough over a period of time, the body and the mind can be effected long after the stressful situation has passed.

For those of us who have survived abuse or trauma, our lives can be ruled by the effects of PTSD. We avoid certain places. We alter our habits. The most seemingly innocent things make us uncomfortable, scared, or even (in the cases of war survivors) violent.

I am not the first of my family to have PTSD. My dear father's father killed himself by carbon monoxide poisoning when my dad was 18. My dad found the body and tried to perform CPR on a body that had already gone through rigor mortis. To this day, the smell of car exhaust fumes in a confined area makes my father sick to his stomach. It reminds him of that horrid day and brings up all the emotions associated with how his family fell apart, after that tragedy.

 My father at 18 years old

In the case of having been abused either by a parent or lover, after one gets away, they may unconsciously put themselves back into a different abusive relationship. And a person may do this because that is what "feels normal" to them. I know that's what I did and it took some real inner work to break that cycle.

Throughout my life, my mother was severely psychologically and emotionally abusive to both my father and I. There was physical abuse thrown in there, as well, but it happened less frequently. My mother controlled what we ate, how much we were allowed to sleep, what clothes we could wear, almost every aspect of our lives. She accused us of "crimes" we didn't commit. She spread rumors about us, lied to us, stole from us and generally made our lives miserable. If her whims weren't satisfied, we paid the price. 

My father and I even developed our own sign language to communicate with each other so she couldn't hear us. It got so bad that she even manipulated how my father and I could even speak to each other. And, when we did speak, she pitted us against one another.

When you're a person who is trapped, living with a crazy-making person like my mother was, you almost develop a sixth sense. Other abuse survivors I've talked to have this sense, as well. This extra sense is the ability to read the energy of a room. You learn this as a survival trait. If you can "sense" when your abuser is mad, even before seeing them, you can try to preemptively soothe them or maybe steer clear and avoid their wrath. 

To this day, I notice very small modulations in people's speech, tiny differences in the way their face moves that may indicate either anger or sadness. When I think someone may not be 100% on stable mental turf, I still try to almost instinctively soothe them. Living a life on the edge of distaster with an abusive person made me hyper-aware of changes to my surroundings.

It wasn't until I was 27 and my parents got divorced that I realized how bad it really was in "The House of Unending Hostility." Once I got some physical and psychological distance, I realized how badly she had effected both my father and I. Five years after their divorce, my father and I still talk about it, we still try to process those years and we still sit in disbelief. Yes. It did happen. No, we're not crazy and we're not making it up. It really was that bad.

When an abused person gets out and then goes back to what we think is "normal," the cycle is incredibly hard to break. When I left college at age 20, I moved in with a boyfriend who turned out to be an abusive alcoholic. For 2 years, our electricity got turned off periodically, but there was always whiskey and beer in the refrigerator. 

Living with him was a dark time of high drama and he literally tried to killed me, once. There are times, still, in my nightmares, when I can still feel his hands around my throat, feel myself losing breath and see the world going dark.

And now I still believe (s)he never let me leave
I had to run away, alone

So many threats and fears, so many wasted years
before my life became my own

Now that I haven't spoken to or even been in my mothers' presence for 5 years, I can see how bad it was. Now that I can begin to distance myself and reflect on the relationships of my past, I can begin to heal the wounds and scars that they left.

The day before Thanksgiving, I went to the store where the abusive alcoholic boyfriend was employed while we were together. I haven't spoken to him in 9 years, but I live back in the town where he and I lived, together. It's hard. There are businesses I refuse to go in because of the association with him. There are people I am afraid to talk to, even though I'd like their friendship, because I'm afraid that information about me will get back to him and I'll have to run for my life across state lines, again. It's irrational. I know this. But that's how PTSD works. The fear for your safety is so ingrained that it turns into either fight-or-flight or complete shut-down when the memories are brought back up.

Through counseling and medication, I've come to accept that the abuse that has happened to me wasn't my fault and that I don't have to let those past traumas rule me. I can begin to retrain my brain to remember that I'm no longer back there, in those situations. I am safe. My daughter, Pookie, and my hubby are my reality, now. 

I haven't completely been able to forgive the perpetrators for their actions, but I've begun to challenge and beat the fear.

Today, I went to his store. I hadn't set foot in there for 9 years. I used to take him his lunch every day. He brought home dinner from this store. I walked in there, so many times, with a smile plastered on my face, yet afraid that someone could read on my face what was really going on. He had made it very clear that, for office politic reasons, it was important that I impress these coworkers by being a "dutiful girlfriend." I was terrified of displeasing him. I was petrified that they would see through my eyes and down into my heart, all the way down to my wrenching desire to be loved and the desperation I was experiencing.

I parked The Visionary Van outside and I looked up at the store's sign. Even 9 years later, just seeing the logo of the store made me want to run, to pass on by, to avoid. Deep breaths, I thought. Deep breaths. He's not here. He hasn't been here for a long time. None of the people that work in there would probably even remember who he was. I talked myself into walking across the parking lot, opening the wide glass door and going into the store. You're safe, I told myself. 

Still, I found myself glancing at every employee, ready to run. See? They're not even wearing the same uniforms. It's okay. You're just a customer. Look around.

As I browsed the store, I noticed that the various departments weren't even laid out in the same manner that I remembered them. That helped. Making my way through the new layout, I wandered down aisles. To any on-looker, I was just another customer perusing the shelves. But, inside, this was monumental. My heart wasn't pounding in my ears. My feet weren't backing away. 

You don't own me anymore, I thought. You're not going to live rent-free in my head anymore. You can't hurt me. See? I am strong. I'm getting over all the crap you beat me down with. I'm not angry, anymore, and I'm not scared. I will not let this rule me.

I looked at Christmas gifts for my Precious Pookie. Amid all the colorful softness of the toy aisle, I felt so thankful that I had come so far. I had the little girl I had always wanted, but never thought I'd have. Holding a stuffed lady bug, silky soft and sweet, I just knew that Pookie would giggle with delight when she saw it. In that moment, my eyes welled up with tears of joy. To come full circle and to stand on the exact same cream and brown tile floor, so happy, where I had once stood and been so sad and scared, my heart broke open and I wept.

I wish that, when I left that store, that it was magical. I wish I could tell you that I walked back to The Visionary Van with my fist raised to the sky in victory. I didn't. I wish I could tell you that I fell to my knees and thanked every god that ever was for helping me on this road. I didn't. I just walked back to my purple minivan.

That was it. Plain, simple and innocuous. No triumphant music gave any clue to the world what I had just stared down. Memories. Past. Fear. Helplessness. To any observer who doesn't know my history, who doesn't have these memories or this heart that was crushed by people who professed love, the title of this blog post would have been, Today, I Browsed Christmas Gifts In a Store.

Dear souls, as you go about your lives, please occasionally try to remember this. That person who just cut you off in traffic? Maybe their sister just died. That lady who was three cents short for the ice cream? Maybe she just faced down a personal demon and was rewarding herself. (Psst! That was me!) 'Cause we don't get theme music rocketing down from the ether at significant moments in our life. We're just people going about our day and living. We're just little beings, trying to make the best of the hand we've been dealt. And, in my book, that's worth a little ice cream, from time to time. 

 My father (today) with his awesome girlfriend and my daughter, Pookie

Lovelies, this isn't the end of my story or my struggle, no. This Earth-shaking day was only one step in a process. Coming out the other side of trauma and abuse can have a happy story that follows it. No matter what you've gone through, your story can continue past fear. It can continue past pain, past betrayal, past hurt and lies, negative self image, anger and the urge to run away.

And maybe your path will take you far away. To mountains and oceans. Maybe you'll be known by a different name. And maybe, just maybe, the road will wind and bend you gently back to the town you started in, to friends and family that will sing triumphant out-of-tune songs with you while passing the chocolate syrup.


Whatever you're facing, my dears, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

My heart goes out to you and joins with yours.
I send you hope and serendipity.
Love to all,


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Monday, November 26, 2012

Doodlers, Unite!

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about a fun approach to start working in your sketchbook called Zendoodle or Zentangle. You may ask what the point of this is, just having fun with drawing. "I'm not creating 'serious art'!" you say. "I'm just muddling around."

As it turns out, this "just paying around" in your sketchbook has great benefits for all of us. See: this video.


I'd like to take this one step further. Not only is "doodling" considered inappropriate in the work place, but in the realm of "serious art," it is looked down upon. The world of serious, professional art has a high level of critique. "Why did you use that brand of paper?" "What did you mean to invoke by using blue, here, instead of (say) yellow?" "Is this a cultural commentary?"

In fact, outside of elementary school (and even in there, some times) the art of play, of puttering around, of being absentminded or creating just for the joy of doing it is looked down upon and I have never understood why.

At our most fundamental levels, we are mammals and all mammals engage in play. Not only as children, but as adults as well. It facilitates social connections keeps us physically and mentally sharp and releases hormones that increase our sense of well-being.

"Playing around," both in your sketchbook and in your life has nothing but 100% positive implications and effects upon you. I encourage you to step outside of your box, your rules, your thoughts of "I wanted to draw a horse, but a horse doesn't look like that," and let yourself play. Play in your sketchbook, play in your life. Let go of rules and "should's" and "can't."

Let us free spirits, us joyful beings, us doodlers and muddlers and dreamers unite and spread the word. Rigidity and sternness break. Flowing and merriment endure, enliven and invigorate!

Keep playing, my dears. And please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All,


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Friday, November 23, 2012

Goddess Leonie: Inspiration Woman with Freebies!

During my late-night web browsings, I came upon this woman. Leonie Dawson. Upon browsing her site, man this woman is cool. Can I just be honest, here? She's become one of my idols.

Leonie Dawson is the creator of, one of the longest running creativity, spirituality & business blogs on the web.

Leonie is a writer, blogger, retreat leader, globe-trotter, visual artist, mama, and vessel of wild creativity & sage guidance for the 20,000 Goddesses who orbit around her virtual altar each month. Her strategic musings & practical wisdom have been featured on Problogger, Tiny Buddha, spirituality magazines like Goddess, Spellcraft, Life Images and Spheres, and in three of SARK’s best-selling books on creative fulfillment & freedom.

Purposeful, passionate & unendingly prolific, Leonie published her first book at 22, held her first art show at 23, began leading women’s circles at 23, created her first retreat at 25, launched the Goddess Circle — a subscription-based women’s community for creatives of every color — at 27, and has guided 4,000 women through transformational Circle experiences over the past 3 years. She’s also released 5 e-courses — including her signature workshop for entrepreneurs, Become A Business Goddess — 4 meditation kits and 2 workbooks into the digital ether, building a multiple six-figure business in the process.

Leonie has walked labyrinths in the moonlight, wept atop mountains in the middle of a storm, danced with a baby in an old cow shed as a Filipino tribal chief sang, and once married herself in a public commitment ceremony — witnessed by goddess maidens of honor that she’d met on the Internet.

No stranger to praise, applause & offerings of gratitude, Leonie has been called an “illuminated creator,” “inspiring, wise and oh-so-talented,” a “healer, guide and sacred teacher” — and she’s here to help you bring your soul-stirring dream into reality, and become the Goddess you were born to be.

Ho, this woman is neat. I hope to meet her in person, some day. Personally, I snagged her 2012 Creating Your Goddess Year workbook and I love it. I found this video which shows you all that's inside it. 

Aren't you excited to work with it? The new 2013 one was just released with 2 separate editions. One for life and one for business. You can bet your booty that I've got both. ;-)

One of the things on my Christmas list, this year, is Leonie's book. Entitled 73 Lessons Every Goddess Must Know. I've pointed it out to hubby numerous times, saying, "Want it, honey. Want. Pleeze?"

I don't know about you, but what sold me on this lady and everything she's doing was her Freebies! It gave me a glimpse into what she was doing before I committed to buying anything. Now, I'm hooked. Her poster, "How to Be a Goddess" is the Desktop wallpaper on my laptop.  

Whenever I'm feeling down, confused or just looking for a little support, there's always something on Leonie's site or YouTube Channel that catches my eye, seems to fit and gets my creative juices flowing. Take a look around there during the weekend and see if you don't feel inspired, as well. Her optimism is contagious!

I also want to tell you about one last thing. Leonie's 2013 Create Your Incredible Year Workbooks. Oh my, honey pie! The Create Your Incredible Year In Biz + Life workbooks are DIFFERENT. They are powerful catalysts of change that not only inspire a new direction but make you feel good about yourself and your work at the same time. They call out your highest potential, and your ability to make it all happen. It uses simple yet powerful techniques to help you not only dream your biggest dream and set your goals, but to actually MAKE THEM HAPPEN too.

Many miracles have been made from using this workbook. You’re going to read the words of women who’ve been using it every single year and swear by it for making their new years their very best ever. It’s something I use religiously – and I’m constantly amazed when I review each year’s at just how of my dreams and goals came true.

This woman, her videos, her art and her products are truly amazing. I would absolutely never, ever endorse anything I didn't adore and Leonie Dawson is it. I can't wait to meet her in person and chat about spirituality, business and mama-hood (one of my dreams).

I hope that you can find as much inspiration from Leonie as I have.

Dream big! Live bigger!

As always, my lovelies, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All,


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Friday, November 16, 2012

A Healthy Dose of Narcissism eg. Evita

When you're trying to create a one-person movement (aka trying to market yourself and what you do to an audience), there's something in a person's personality that is always 1) criticized and 2) required. And that thing is a healthy dose of narcissism.

Ah, yes. Take a page from The Diva, herself, who made her place in the world through sheer grit and talent.

One of my friends who shall remain nameless offered this opinion about blogs and bloggers:

"blogs=ballooned sense of importance. you don't need your own entire damn website. that's what FB is for. see: (his FB page) speaking on behalf of the blogees, nobody gives a shit about your cats or what flavor coffee you prefer. if we did, we'd probably ask you about it. we didn't ask, so don't tell. here's an idea: write in a journal, then the only person constantly lambasted by your every waking thought is you. this goes out to no one personally, just a musing. you could call it my first blog entry, if you like. PFFFFFFT."

For some, I can see how this opinion might hold true. It also may just be that the blogs this person is reading aren't catching his interest. To each their own. But I would like to use this quote from a man who is round-about poking fun at what I do to make a point. 

When you put yourself out there, when you lay yourself out on the line for public view, not all the opinions about your work will be supportive and nice. That's okay. Everyone has their own perspective. When I receive criticism, I always try to put myself in the person's shoes. Maybe your critic is just having a bad day. Maybe they're jealous 'cause they, too, are a repressed creative and can't find the courage to put themselves out there. Or maybe the medium you're working in just isn't their style. That's no reason for me or you to quit what we're doing. It's no reason for us to not be "High-Flying Adored."

For instance, personally, I don't read romance novels. I don't like the genre. I find them trite and repetitious, but I'm not going to go around criticizing people who either read or write them. I know there's a big market for them, so somebody's gotta be reading. They're not my personal style, so I just leave them be. Some people, instead of leaving be what others like that really isn't harming anyone, they feel the need to lash out. It's okay. It's not personal.

The criticism above was not aimed at me, personally. It was said, however, by someone who 1) knows I have a blog, 2) knows I have access to where this was posted and 3) said "yes" to my putting some of my stickers in his shop for his customers to pick up. Do I take offense to it? Nope. Do I have hard feelings toward the man that said it? Not one bit. He's always been nice and jovial with me. He just happens to have an opinion that runs contrary to mine. No big deal.

It would have been very easy to take this criticism personally. I've put creative efforts out into the public in the past and, when they weren't met with 100% favorable opinion, I took it hard. Very hard. For a long time, I stopped making my work public. But then I realized that, no matter what anyone else said, that I and what I was doing was pretty damned cool. As the song says, "Sometimes it's very difficult to keep momentum / if it's you that you are following."

Not everyone may agree with me, that I'm awesome, but that's okay. Not everyone thinks Madonna is awesome, but she's still rockin' after all these years.

So, sometimes, in the face of negativity, it takes a healthy dose of narcissism to look in that mirror and say, "Know what? Screw them! I'm pretty damned neat and I'm not gonna stop doing what makes me happy!" You could call it other things: self esteem, a thicker skin, or any of the myriad of other expressions. 

None of the picture of Madonna as Evita, here, are mine. They just illustrate my point so perfectly. For me, there is no more inspiring movie to watch when I'm feeling glum about criticism than Madonna's role in the movie-musical Evita. The catchy songs always seem to reflect some aspect of what's going on in my life at the time and I can say, "I'm just in 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall'" or "It's just 'Peron's Latest Flame.' There's still a lot of story to go!" And that gives me the fortitude to push on.

Evita may not give you the kick in the pants you need to keep yourself going. That's all right. The movie Frida is also a great and inspiring one. Whatever you need to do -- watch a movie, put on some music and dance that negativity away -- do it! Your creative work is way too important to abandon it over someone's opinion. Chin up, babies. Forge on. Launch your own "Rainbow Tour" and bask in the glory when it comes.

"Stand back! You oughta know whatcha gonna get in me / Just a little touch of star quality" 

Until next time, dears, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012


So, I don't have a "work desk" per se. My apartment is small and I don't have a work desk, yet. Though hubby does have one planned to build me, so here's hoping.

To participate in WOYWW, I'll show you this. My workspace is not a desk. Confession time -- most of my creating is done in bed. That's right. I write my blog in bed, I paint and draw in bed, I sew in bed. Everything. Mostly, my creative time is late at night while my Precious Pookie and hubby are sleeping. Three cheers for long hours of uninterrupted time to focus!

An unconventional WOYWW, here you go!

First off, there is my bedside table.

Here you see my Bath and Body Works lavender vanilla pillow mist, lotions, my "geek stick" jump drive, colored pencils, a cowrie shell, my medications, fruit and grain bars, a pocket knife, a nail kit, my large cup of hot tea, my water bottle of iced tea, my Prismacolor pencils, a bag of sharpies and my box of creativity reference books.

Second, how I keep everything organized:

Here you see the shelves above the nightstand and my bulletin board. In the black binder are completed writing prjects. The green binder is projects for the baby next to my sketchbook. The brown container is full of jewelry I have made. Next to that on the shelf is tape, a mini muffin tin that I mix paints in, tape, headphones and thumb tacks. On the bulletin bard are blog post topics, daily to-do stuff and mail I need to address.

Finally, my awesome shelves that hubby made me this week:

On the top shelf is fabric and other "to mend" projects. The middle shelf is painting supplies and business cards. The bottom shelf, I have already described.

So, an unconventional WOYWW.

Disorganized space for the win!

What does your work space look like?

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I would like to take this moment to welcome all my new readers in the following countries:

Cayman Islands
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
Hong Kong
New Zealand
Saint Lucia
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States

And the list keeps getting longer and longer. I am so inspired and encouraged by this. Thank you, everyone!

No matter where you are, I hope that you're chasing down your creative dreams. I hope you're living the life you've always wanted to live and are rejoicing in each new day. I hope that you're filled to the brim with the possibility that each dawn brings us and with the peace of knowing that you're not alone in this world. We're all here to make our lives better and grow as people and that transcends any boundary line.

So, welcome to you all and I send you a great big hug! I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you and sharing in this journey, together, that we call "a creative life."

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Hustle" aka "Marketing"


Living an independent, creative and free life requires a fair bit of what I call "hustle," which is known in the actual and real business world as "marketing." Now that may sound like a daunting concept to you, but think of it this way. Unless you know me, personally, my marketing has reached you. You've found me and you're reading this. Take a look at all the countries that people live in who read my blog. Impressive, isn't it?  All of these readers, including you my dear friend, can be attributed to my hustle regarding this blog.

*insert self-congratulatory pat on the back here*

The word "marketing" is one of those big, scary, business words that intimidate the sometimes shy, creative temperaments of artists like me. It's an intimidating word like "deficit," "revenue," "optimized," and "consultation clarity meeting." It's one of those words that, honestly, makes people like me run for the hills. "Ah! Scary professional thing! Don't understand! Too intimidating! Let the suit-wearing people deal with those words and just let me play with art and create nifty stuff!"

And that's fine, if you feel like that, when I use official-sounding business words. I used to feel exactly the same way. But I quickly learned that, right now, I can't afford a P.R. person or a savvy personal assistant or any other suit-type person to take care of the "fitting crazy little me into the actual, real world" duties. I'd either have to learn how to do them, myself, or be like Henry Darger who's impressive body of work was not discovered until after his death. In short, if you don't share your work with the world, honey, it's gonna take a long time for the world to recognize that you're doing anything, at all.

 One of Henry Darger's paintings

Personally, I'd like to be alive to hear when someone either likes or hates my creative projects, so that left me no choice but to tackle the big, bad, normally-reserved-for-people-in-ties jobs, myself.

Let me explain to you some concepts and what I mean.

Basically, no one knows that this little corner of the internet called "Visionary Bri" exists unless I go out and tell people that it's here. Every time I make a blog post, I visit a few key sites that I've found and post the link there so people can come and look around.

As I go about my daily life, I have stickers with my blog address on them that I won in a contest from PrintRunner and I hand out the stickers. My website is also on my business cards which I hand out, as well. If you don't know me and I happen to come across you, chances are good that either one of  both of these things will be given to you.

Any time you go out and actively tell people about what you're doing, letting them see your face and directing them to where they can see more about you or your product, is called "active marketing."Attending seminars, joining committees and rubbing elbows with like-minded people. In internet world, "(a)ctive marketing campaigns are designed to drive traffic to a site immediately. Often times, active campaigns are paid placements that only drive traffic so long as the ad is running and once completed, traffic begins to dwindle immediately."

"Passive marketing" is simpler, but some thought has to be put into it to maximize its efforts. Any billboard you see, any sign hung outside a business, any radio commercial you hear, any link you see is passive marketing. You make the initial effort to create a marketing plan (commercial, sign, etc.), but you don't have to be there every time someone sees it. In internet world, it is placing an "ad one single time that produce(s) sales for five continuous years. Customers stream in to your company saying they remembered the ad spot you ran years ago and they still felt compelled to work with you and your organization. Too good to be true, right?This is exactly what passive campaigns are designed to do."

Once you know 1) who you're trying to market to and 2) what would be the optimal venue for your advertising, marketing is pretty easy. It doesn't have to be a huge multi-million dollar campaign, but it certainly can be, if you have the money to throw at it (which I currently don't). Think Super Bowl commercials. So much money spent on one commercial and who in The United States can forget the donkey that wanted to be a Budweiser Clydesdale?

Once you understand the concepts, marketing is easy!

To start out, scope out the 'hood like a thief in the night. Start out right where you are, either at your computer or your home town. Start off with friends. If people know who you are, first, the chances of them being interested in what you're doing is higher. Do you know any local merchants who might let you put your business card or a flyer up in their store? Ask them about it. Always ask. The worst that they can say is "no."

You can search the internet to find communities of like-minded people and I'm always in favor of this because I can do it late at night without having to get out of bed!

Now, I am lucky enough to live in a town where there's a university and it's pretty sizable. People overlook universities, but they offer a substantial population of all kinds of people who would be interested in what you're doing. Plus, there's a new crop of them coming in every August, so take advantage of that if you can.

One of my marketing schemes that I came up with (and you can feel free to steal if you like) was my little marbled boxes. First, I cut the bottom off of a graham cracker box so that I had the bottom plus about 1 inch going up the sides. Then, I took some computer paper, took out my marbling kit and marbled some paper.

I then glued the marbled paper to the boxes with some plain white glue and affixed a little sign.

See the pretty marbled paper?

"Please Take One" finished Marbled Box with stickers

So, I made 2 of these little boxes. I put them in my purse and I hit the streets of my town. My first stop was my local university. I had to park The Visionary Van and walk for a bit, but it was okay. I used to attend this university back when I was younger, but it took some doing for me to find the "free for all" bulletin boards where you can post anything you want. Eventually, I did find one, though. I took two thumb tacks and stuck the box to the bulletin board at about eye level. Now, the little box sits there, waiting for people to find it.

Did people look at me funny, walking around a campus looking a bit confused on a Sunday. Yes and no, but I did spy some college boys checking me out, so I don't think my presence was entirely unwanted there. ;-)
I also took a box and put it in the local "when I was in school here, I spent more money here than I did on tuition" coffee shop. It's got a different name, now, and is under new ownership. But there was still a place for local people to put business cards and the like.

Marketing isn't all that hard, once you break it down. I encourage to come up with your own ideas to get your work out there in the public eye or steal mine. Maybe you won't be able to make a living off your creative work, yet, but it's better to give people an opportunity to be interested in you so that you can work on making a living at it.

Keep creating, my dears. Don't shy back from telling the world what you're up to and don't wait 'til it's "perfect." Get out there and show 'em what you're made of!

And please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

A Fresh Look at an Ordinary Day

It's Monday and that means that it's time for this week's "working with your sketchbook" exercise.

No matter what kind of art or creative expression you want to pursue, the best place to start is right where you are. Right here. Right now. Wherever you are in the world, right where you are at this very moment is perfect. And your best subject matter to mine will come directly from your life. You can fantasize about other worlds or other lives or draw inspiration from many different places, but the best and most authentic art was created from the artist mining their own life.

Let's start with the most basic thing that I can think of, your daily routine. Let's think about your daily routine and how you can depict it in your medium of choice. I want to stop you for a second. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "My daily routine? Isn't that boring?" 

I want to tell you that, first off, you are an interesting person. Whether you believe it or not, you are fascinating. All art is merely a process of discovering, uncovering and revealing parts of yourself to the world.

In this entry (or more, if you feel so inclined), I would like you to both words and pictures. Try to make your descriptions as much "yours" as you can -- meaning your original words and pictures. Sometimes song lyrics will come into my head, so I jot those down, as well. I really want you to get into your senses in this exercise. Get into your body. Get into your emotions and your memories. Dive deep and notice any details or flights of fancy. For example:

Generic: "I wake up in the morning and I have coffee."

Original: "The first thing I am aware of as I emerge from the world of my dreams is the comforting feel of jersey cotton on my skin. Soft and feeling like home, I smile as I hear a familiar giggle. I smile with knowing and open my eyes see the fresh, peaches and cream face of my daughter. Her blue eyes sparkle me into daytime-being as her Papa encourages her to play the "uncover Mama" game. The first sound I hear is her giggle which must be what fairies sound like when they're born. The comforting smell of freshly brewed coffee, its' Arabic scent of earth and fire, wafts to me from my bedside table where hubby has placed my morning cuppa, made with French Vanilla creamer to my tastes, perfectly. It's each morning that I start the day, joyful and with the marrow-deep knowledge that I am blessed."

My Pookie's "just woke up" face

See the depth, the freshness? Really take a look at your life. In your memory, slow it down and notice the details. Sure, everyone knows what a fresh cup of coffee smells like, but no one knows what a cup of coffee smells like to you. Experiment with this. Write your day and illustrate it with pencils, pens, marker or paints. Add glitter or stickers. Be spontaneous and make it fun!

Mine your own life for your original experience. Don't worry if some of your descriptions sound funny or absurd. Watch the movie Dead Poet's Society for the scene where Robin William's character gets Ethan Hawke's character to focus in on the detail of a picture in his mind. "A sweaty-toothed mad man"? Yes. It's poetic and spontaneous. Don't edit out these little gems. They will give your art power and originality.


If you feel like sharing, please feel free to post some what you've come up with in the comments. I'd love to read them.

Until next time, my lovelies, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Stroke Out! What It's Like to Have a TIA -- Episode 1

This is one lady's experience of having a stroke. I love this video and she talks about how the brain works as she is a scientist who studies the brain. She also speaks about how our brains work to turn our dreams into reality. Please watch this. It's well worth it!

When I saw this, I cried. The strokes I've had were like this, but not. Now, the story of my first TIA.