Coming Out of My Cocoon

Butterflies leaving their cocoons
 
I’m preparing to leave my cocoon. . .my creative cocoon that is.
 
See first photo below.
 
I’m excited and scared.
 
Excited because I want to share my work with you. I want it to strengthen our connection and inspire us to go on a journey together. One that I hope leaves us with a new thought, or feeling, or point of view.
 
Scared because sharing means opening myself up to judgment, including rejection. Sharing means putting my dream of being a published author whose work touches many to the test.
 
Last time I left my creative cocoon as a singer/songwriter, I learned some valuable lessons. Thought it’d be useful for all of us caterpillars, soon-to-be-butterflies, to hear them.
 
1) Once you let your work go, people will put their own spin on it. For example, I wrote a song about a woman dying of lethal injection as a way to condemn capital punishment. (Gonna Get Mine) To my utter shock and horror, some folks decided that my song glorified suicide. WTF, I thought. (If you’re curious, you can find the lyric for the song  here.)
 
At first I wanted to explain my message. “No, you’re wrong. It’s about this.” Then I realized that part of making art is allowing others to do what they will with it. Even if it means their interpretation results in them not liking what you’ve done. (It sucks when this happens, but it’s part of the deal.)
 
2) Commit to ignoring both the positive as well as the negative reviews. You can’t free yourself from others’ opinions unless you let go of ALL of them. (This is once your work is out there and can’t be changed. I encourage you to allow a trusted group of friends/colleagues to critique your work to help ready it for submission, or its launch into the world. I wouldn’t dare leave my cocoon without my peeps feedback!)
 
3) This is the one truth I resisted for quite a while–no matter what you do, if you don’t have luck, you won’t make a living doing what you love. Unfortunately luck can’t be controlled, dammit! Prepare all you can because luck thrives on preparedness, but ultimately your fate is not in your hands.
 
So wish me luck as I spread my wings and fly over to some publishers and agents, to see who will give my graphic novel a home.
 
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED BY PUTTING A PIECE OF YOURSELF OR YOUR WORK ON THE LINE? SHARE WITH US by posting your story here or on my author Facebook page.
 
PLEASE FORWARD THIS LETTER TO ANYONE YOU THINK WOULD ENJOY IT.
 
Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
Monarch Butterfly wings
PurpleMonarchWings

Posted in Empowerment, Self-Acceptance by with 1 comment.

Lyrics For Gonna Get Mine

Gonna Get Mine, By Anny Rusk

 

They strapped her in

blood drained from her face

She tried to smile

I tried not to faint

Each tick of the clock

sounded like a blast

They put in her I.V.

said she’d go real fast

 

I saw the poison spread

like ink in a water glass

Before she went cold she said

 

CHORUS:

They say when you die

you’ll find peace of mind

Well I hope they’re right, I hope they’re right

They say when a bell rings

an angel gets wings

and tonight when the last bell chimes

I’m gonna get mine

 

Used to believe

an eye for an eye

You cut someone down

you become the sacrifice

Not so cut and dried

when before your eyes

You watch her writhe

as death breathes in her life

 

What point has been made

through this retribution

Any souls saved, anything changed…she prayed

 

CHORUS

 

If it could bring back

just one little lamb

I could wash her blood from my hands

She looked like an angel, peace on her lips

She had flown, flown away, gotten her wings…..

 

The victim’s family

said a swift amen

Thought their hearts would heal

thru an act of revenge

 

The poison spread

like ink in a water glass

Before she went cold she said

 

CHORUS

 


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Asia Kicked My Butt

Turns out my vision of myself as an intrepid traveler is a load of water buffalo sh*&

Water Buffalo

Visiting a place as a kid, then returning three decades later, pushes you to face how you’ve changed in a way that everyday life doesn’t.

When I was a kid I spent 3 weeks in China. I jumped around the Great Wall in 100 degree heat, drinking hot tea and barely broke a sweat. I wore short shorts and sundresses without a lick of deet.  (Back then there was no talk of Dengue Fever and all of the other stuff mosquitoes can give you.) As long as I didn’t drink the water or eat raw food, I was invincible.

This time in Asia the triple-digit wet heat turned me into an exhausted, spacey, puddle. I trudged around covered head to toe, and the little bits of me that poked through my clothing were slathered in Deet. I was anything but invincible.

annyTunnel

Me coming out of Chu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh.  (Didn’t need my hat down there.)

I was disappointed in myself. And sad. Where was this kid who was gonna stay in a yurt and drink yak milk in Mongolia?  Or hike in Bhutan? When had I turned into such a wuss?

To drive home the point, I was shown a true intrepid traveler, my cousin Jen. She shimmered while I sweat buckets, jumped up staircases while I trudged up the steps, and adored the food. She was perfectly at home in Vietnam. I started calling her ‘lotus flower.’  (FYI: my husband has always called me his “Delicate Mountain Orchid.)

lotus flower

On day 13 I just couldn’t face the heat anymore.  I licked my wounds in our air conditioned room while Jen went on a bike ride through the countryside.  I thought about Anny the kid.

Sure she could do more than I could, but she wasn’t really an intrepid traveler either.  She refused to use the hole-in-the-ground public toilets that stunk from 100 yards away.  (Even today there’s no guarantee of a western toilet in Beijing.)  She hated the food too.  So much so that she ran to the McDonald’s in Hong Kong just to get a taste of home. (She never ate at McDonald’s in the U.S.)

She needed less creature comforts than I did, but she would only bend so far.

My husband and some Slack buddies asked me why I was beating myself up. (Jen had already assured me that I was a trooper.  “You came all the way here.  Only two other people have visited me since I moved to Beijing. Most folks just don’t want to deal with the foreignness of Asia.”)  Many of my Slack mates said they didn’t travel much, or at all, because it was too challenging for them.  My husband said there were plenty of places he wouldn’t visit because he didn’t want to deal with the weather, or the bugs, etc.

My first reaction was to feel sorry for them.  Oh, you’ll miss out on so many wonderful adventures, I thought.

And then I realized that was what was fueling my self-loathing. I was gonna miss out on some of those adventures too.  Asia had forced me to see my limits.

Turns out I don’t want to stay in a yurt, they’re called gers in Mongolian, or trek up a mountain in Bhutan.

I’m still a little sad about that.

But writing this letter to you has reminded me that I take adventures everyday. I fight bacteria as Estrogen, the superhero hormone, in my graphic novel. I fly over Dreamspree town while hanging onto the arm of a Rowena in my fantasy novel.  As a writer and reader I visit distant lands constantly. I am an intrepid traveler in my own way!

And I’m grateful for that.

What have you learned about yourself through your real or imagined travels? Let me know by replying to this letter, or post your suggestions on my Facebook page, or tweet me.

Purple Passion of the Fortnight: A SuperTree in Gardens By The Bay, Singapore

Purple Passion of the Fortnight: A SuperTree in Gardens By The Bay, Singapore

 


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Green Tea Flavored Peace

Amid the chaos and concern about getting ready for my trip to Asia, I realized I needed a refuge. Something that would blow away the worry cloud that was hanging over me. 

Since I had Asia on the brain, I wondered whether an Asian tea ritual might do the trick.

First I looked at Vietnam because that’s where I’ll be spending most of my time.  Vietnam seems to have only one kind of tea ceremony–and it happens during a wedding.

The bride and groom present cups of tea to all four of their parents, one at a time.  In return, each parent offers a tip or two about how to create a happy marriage.  (Wonder what happens if one or both of the couple’s parents are divorced.)

Nice idea, but not what I was looking for.

In Japan,  people study for years to become Way of the Tea masters.  The actual ritual is considered a performance,  lasts for hours, and takes many forms.  The point is to appreciate the beauty of the ceremony itself, the food, the surroundings and the guests.  Contemplation seems encouraged, but not required.

Though I’d love to partake in the Way of the Tea as a guest,  I didn’t want to make performing tea rituals a career.

Then I read about how Thich Nhat Hanh turns drinking tea into a mindfulness meditation.  

Drink your tea slowly and with appreciation, as if nothing else matters.
“Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.
Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy.
If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the
future, {like mosquito bites and Dengue Fever},you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of
tea.
You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone. 
Life is like that too.”

ThichTeaQuote

I’m off to drink in some green tea flavored peace.

Where do you go to take refuge?  Is it a real spot, or a visualization in your mind, or a memory, or?  I’d love some more suggestions. Let me know by replying to this letter, or post your suggestions on my Facebook page, or tweet me.

Purple Passion of the Fortnight.

Purple Passion of the Fortnight.

 


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