LESSONS FROM THE FUNNY PAGES: Big Dreams SHOULD Be Scary!

No, I’m not running out of ideas for other ‘Lessons’ series I’ve started. It just seems like lately, lessons are everywhere!

Today’s insight came this morning while reading our wonderful local newspaper, The Press Democrat. I always save the comics (In color! Every day!!!), crossword and Dear Abby for last–like dessert. There’s also not just one word scramble but two: JUMBLE, and a new one for me, SCRAM-LETS. (I can’t find links to these, sorry!!)

The mini-lesson about these word scrambles is, I used to work really hard to solve them. I had a couple of logical, methodical strategies for attacking them. I got really good at it, too. Until one day, I wasreading up on why those CN Y RD THS? thingies on Facebook are actually easy to read. (Turns out our brains automatically fill in missing vowels and out-of-order letters, as long as the first and last letter are in the right places.) I realized word scrambles are similar. I could identify almost every scrambled word by simply glancing at it. The mini-lesson? Quit trying so damn hard!! (see example below)

The big lesson, though, was buried in the SCRAM-LET, which usually features a wise saying or adage with the last word or two missing. These are so easy, you can actually work backwards–figure out the missing word, fill out the letters to the word clues you have, and discover the missing letters in the unsolved scrambled word. (Why is explaining it so much harder than simply doing it?!)

Today’s adage was, If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not BIG ENOUGH.

Yeah, yeah, I thought as I finished. Dream big. So trite.

And yet……

The things I’ve been worried about as I go to sleep at night, the things I worry about as I start my day… They all involve taking the next steps to rebuild my artist reputation out here on the west coast.

They are all about starting over. Only this time, knowing how much time and energy that’s going to take.

Even worse, they’re about worrying that this time, it’s not going to work.

If I approach a gallery, and if they accept me, and I give them the best of my current work, I worry that I won’t have any more good ideas in me.

If I sell an item online, I worry that the buyer, not having seen it in person, won’t like it.

If I pitch a column to a new magazine (because I think I’m being slowly ‘let go’ from my current gig, and no one wants to tell me), I’m afraid I’m not good enough to get another gig.

Part of me just wants to kick myself. ALL artists worry about running out of good ideas. ALL artists worry that, like Hollywood, we’re only as good as our last movie. Er…exhibit/show/column. ALL artists worry that somebody is going to be disappointed in our work.

But the rest of me knows we never learn a lesson for keeps. (Well. Not me, anyway.)

We need to learn those lessons over and over, practicing them, internalizing them–until our work habits are so solid, we finally learn to believe in ourselves. Til we know truly, in our hearts, that one setback will not break us.

Even then, life can kick us back to the starting line. A family crisis. A health issue. Losing a job, a cross-country move, AND NOT BEING ABLE TO FIND THAT TUBE OF RAW UMBER PAINT I KNOW IS IN MY STUDIO SOMEWHERE!!!! (Sorry about that. Once again, I have to go buy a replacement for something I KNOW is somewhere in my studio…..)

So I’m going to make an appointment to visit the gallery that’s expressed an interest in my work. I’m going to send a pic to a new customer who’s ordered from my online store, of the exact piece I’ve made for her. And I’m going to submit my images to a big art tour coming up this fall.

If I fail? Well, there’s always another opportunity. There’s another chance next week, next month, next year.

And I must remember that other life lesson that’s so hard to learn:

Sometimes, in order for a new door to open, an old one has to close.

P.S. A few people have contacted me, asking where the heck my online store is. My Etsy shop is dormant for the time being, but my shop at Bonanza is still open. http://www.bonanza.com/booths/luannudell

My goal is to replace “sample images” with individual images of each piece of jewelry. And hey–maybe I could start, like, today!

A sample 'hard-to-read text" (NOT) as found on Facebook.

A sample ‘hard-to-read text” (NOT) as found on Facebook. And oh! Notice it spells ‘without’ wrong!

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