ME ‘n’ SETH AGREE!

Seth Godin wrote a great post about the value of donating to charity auctions.

Here’s what I wrote almost eight years ago.

And here’s what Seth wrote today about how to raise money better.

I’m in awe of this guy. Because he just connected all the dots for me, from 2006 to today.

Recently I’ve been donating to little causes. They come to me from the Upworthy website. I can pay $3, or $5, or even $50 to support the people and causes that are dear to me.

More and more causes are asking a lot of people for a very little bit of money. Micro-funding or crowd-sourcing is a simple, effective way to make life better for those who need it desperately. All it takes is telling their story.

It also lets us tell ours.

I don’t believe my artwork has to be a “bargain” or a “deal” to serve a cause.
It diminishes me.

I believe making our art plays a teensy part in making the world a better place.
I believe encouraging others to find their place in the world, makes the world a better place.
I believe serving vs. helping….
Encouraging vs. advising….
Listening deeply vs. telling….
Is what lets others move forward.

Thank you, Seth, for letting that be enough to make me participate.
I don’t need the tote bag. I just need the act of giving to be simple.

I just need to know that sometimes giving just a little, can actually change a lot.

DUBLIN LAKE (revisited)

I took a quick road trip Friday. I hadn’t been to Peterborough in quite awhile, even though it’s only 18 miles east of Keene. I was delivering some new work to the Sharon Arts Center, so I had a great excuse to muddle around a little.

I’d just reached a point of clarity and peace with our upcoming move. Some of my fears were huge–Would we find a new circle of friends? Will people in California like my art? Will I find another studio as amazing as the one I have now?? Others are plain silly. Will we find another place to study tai chi? (Yes, Santa Rosa has at least eleven tai chi studios. Which is ten more than Keene, and we only need one.)

What did this remind me of??

It was a foggy day, so white that when I got to Dublin Lake, I couldn’t even see Mount Monadnock from the highway, which runs along the lake on its northern shore.

Shades of gray...Mt. Monadnock just beyond Dublin Lake, from Rte. 101, looking south.

Shades of gray…Mt. Monadnock just beyond Dublin Lake, from Rte. 101, looking south.

The mountain was less than a mile away, behind a wall of white fog, so this seemed really eerie. And beautiful. This is one of my favorite views in New Hampshire, one that never fails to put me in a state of awe and gratitude.

The fog created a sense of agelessness, as if I and the road had become unhitched from time. And as I drove by the waters, I was reminded of a post I wrote back in 2005, in July, on a day much, much warmer than this chilly November weekend. A moment when I was blessed to see how silly so many of my fears actually were.

And so today, “something old”….

DUBLIN LAKE

When my children were babies, there was a spot on Route 101 that used to terrify me.

It’s a majorly curvy section around Dublin Lake which nestles at the foot of Mount Monadnock. It’s an absolutely beautiful spot. But the curves can be tricky to negotiate, especially in winter. And the water comes right up to the side of the road.

Rte. 101 runs right alongside Dublin Lake (or Pond) for a mile or so.

Rte. 101 runs right alongside Dublin Lake (or Pond) for a mile or so.

I would drive by at night in the dead of winter. I would imagine me losing control of the car, going into a skid, and swerving off the road through the ice and into the dark water below.

I imagined terrible scenarios of me struggling to get my babies out of their car seats, forced to make terrible decisions about who to rescue first. I would lie awake at night trying to figure out if I would have time and the strength to get them both out of the car, and wonder whether they would survive the icy waters.

It used to paralyze me.

Later, of course, as they grew older, drives past that lake tended to be more about yelling at them to quit kicking the back of my seat and not to spill their juice on the floor.

Last weekend, my husband cajoled me into going for a dunk in that same spot. We parked by the side of the highway and scrambled down the small incline to the lake. Soon we were standing in ice cold water up to my knees.

That’s right. Up to my knees.

That horrible stretch of water that haunted me for years is only about 18 inches deep.

As I lie awake nights now, listening to the fearful voices in my head, I wonder how many of those fears are also only 18 inches deep.

YOU DON’T NEED PERMISSION To Have Your Heart’s Desire

Sudden thoughts on a Saturday afternoon…..

Someone came to my open studio a few weeks ago. I don’t know the person–I know where they work, but I don’t know anything else about them. They’d never seen my studio before.

All I know is,when the person came in, I felt they needed something.

I don’t know why, I don’t know what. It wasn’t a scary, try-to-fill-my-infinite-black-hole kind of need. It felt a simple, healthy desire to have a little room (or a big room, like my studio!) to make stuff, too. A little room. Or a little time. Or a little courage. Or a little permission.

I thought they looked….wistful. (Sorry, I can’t explain it any more than that. Vague stuff, I know!)

I gave them something–a totem animal necklace–and explained why they needed to have it.

It turns out they have a creative dream, something they want to bring into the world. It’s tiny right now, and new, it’s sudden, it’s exciting. I saw a picture, and I agreed.

We talked a little. I encouraged them to just try. Just do it and see where it takes them.

I know it takes me a thousand words to get a simple idea across, but here it is:

Whoever you are out there in the world, reading this, know that whatever is in your heart, you should do it.

You don’t need the world’s permission to have your heart’s desire.

You don’t need to be politically correct to live your dream.

You don’t even have to know what you want to be happy.

You don’t need to please anyone else to make what you want to make.

You don’t have to do it full-time.

You don’t have to be a “professional”.

You don’t have to get an art degree, or do shows, or enter competitions, or get gallery representation.

You don’t even have to sell it if you don’t want to.

All you have to do is get it out of your self, and get it out into the world.

And here’s another tip, if you do decide to make stuff and sell stuff:

Sales don’t necessarily mean you’re making the right stuff. Consequently, lack of sales don’t mean you’re not making the right stuff.

Money, fame, recognition, prizes don’t always mean you’re on the right path. In fact, these things can clutter up your vision if you’re not careful. (For example, every year at the Sunapee air, why do I wish for a best booth award? What does a booth award have to do with my work, with what it means to me, and what it means to other people??!)

And nobody can define your “success”, except Y*O*U.

So today, just go make something. Experiment. Play. Make it better. Give it to someone. Or keep it for yourself, if you want.

You don’t need anyone’s permission, except your own.

Do you need more encouragement? Here’s a wonderful poem by William Stafford…

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now?
Are you waiting for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day.
This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life –

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

William Stafford

TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY!

Okay, I’m cheating a bit. This is a duplicate post from our Keene Art Tour website post for today.

Hey! I had to write four five articles today. (Ack! I just remembered another one!) Something had to give!

Seriously, if you’re in the area, come on by. If you’re not, pass this on to someone who might like to visit. I can almost guarantee they will not be bored! :^D

Check out the little Keene Art Tour contest hosted by The Keene Sentinel–win a sweet little prize!

Also, a surprise for you… When we drew up our brochure and map, Robert Seaman had bowed out of the tour. When we found out why (he’d moved, and no longer had a public-accessible studio), why, we got him back on as fast as we could! Unfortunately, by the brochure was printed without him.

Bob is a congenial and talented artist, and we treasure his presence on our tour. So when you visit Luann Udell at Stop #7 on the tour, you’ll also see Bob Seaman and his beautiful paintings! (Inquiring minds will want to know where the heck Luann found room in her visually-dense studio for him….)

Bob not only paints, he’s also known as an exemplary teacher at the prestigious Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough.

Stop in to meet both artists–both create many items well under $100 for your delight or for distinctive gifts for the holidays. Talk to Bob about his classes, browse through his prints and more affordable work, or take home an original work of art this weekend. Watch Luann make jewelry, perhaps even a piece made especially for you! (Also check out the prize mentioned above…)

And if you’re STILL not sure, take a virtual visit to Luann’s studio right now!

Beach sculpture II by Robert Seaman.

Beach sculpture II by Robert Seaman.

Sea Glass IV by Robert Seaman

Sea Glass IV by Robert Seaman

Bear Clan: Shaman's Dream fiber wall hanging and sculpture by Luann Udell

Bear Clan: Shaman’s Dream fiber wall hanging and sculpture by Luann Udell

New "ancient glass" jewelry by Luann Udell.

New “ancient glass” jewelry by Luann Udell.