I couldn’t resist adding in a graphic for this post on blog-hopping: a green tree frog which settled itself very comfortably onto the settee on our back verandah when we lived in Bowraville, mid-north coast, New South Wales, Australia.
I was invited to take part in a blog hop by Tammy Vitale, a gifted, creative friend of mine who lives in the US. It works like this: last weekend Tammy posted her blog hop details
and then she invited three more people to post a blog hop the next weekend, with each of those three inviting three more to take part. And I’m one of the three.
It’s a bit like a pyramid scheme only the blog hop is positive as it helps people rather than ripping them off. It’s a great way to tell people about your writing and also to spread the word about fellow bloggers. It’s why I love the blogging community so much – because people are so generous, supportive, friendly and, last but not least, so interesting in the subjects which are covered.
So here are my responses to the questions posed to blog hoppers:
What Am I Working On/Writing?
At present I’m working intermittently on writing my book as blog: The Crazy Crone – Living a Wild and Adventurous Life. Friends have urged me to write a book because I’ve done lots of different things, visited a fair few countries, and then had a huge transformative shift in my late ‘forties when I changed direction and moved into art, crystals, teaching and spiritual development. I have made various attempts at writing about my life – what I’ve done, experienced and learned – but none of it felt right.
Then someone commented that my blog was my book and I was off and running. I like the flexibility of writing in a blog format because I can head off into the highways and byways if I feel like it, and I can add whatever photos and art I want to which you can’t do in a book. I am taking my time with this project, as I have fibromyalgia and need to temper myself so I don’t overdo things.
My other passion is this blog. I started off when I was back in Australia with social commentary and a few rants and raves, mainly on social justice issues. Then towards the end of last year, I did an on-line course of creating images every day to reflect the 22 Major Arcana in the Tarot. It opened me up to different ways of working with art, and this fed into another on-line course working with selfies and surrealistic images. On the coattails of this came the Art Every Day Month November, run by Leah Piken Koladis, and suddenly I’d switched into digital art and was off and running.
All my art is based on photographs I’ve taken wherever we’ve lived. In the digital era I’ve taken far more photos, always of nature and never people or real life. although the exception is photos I’ve taken of ancient and historic sites here in North Cyprus. I also re-connected here with my deep affinity for nature in all its forms – scenery, plants, birds, animals, stones, water, mountains – which I’d forgotten since childhood. I have been able to communicate with rocks, stones and crystals since the mid-1990s, but here I realised I can connect with the devic energies in plants, trees, landscape and so on, and reflect how they wish to be presented in art I create.
I now post virtually every day, with digital art images and with commentary on how I created the images, and sometimes I add links to videos or poetry which seem to complement my art. It’s as if finding out how to create digital art – with Photoshop, Corel (computer programmes) and BeFunky, PicMonkey, FotoFlexer and Pixlr (on-line programmes) – has suddenly opened the floodgates for all the images that have been floating in my head through my lifetime have suddenly opened and I am passionate about creating art every day. It’s an obsession but a good obsession, I reckon!
How Does My Work/Writing Differ from Others of its Genre?
I have to say that I have no idea how to answer this as each person’s approach to writing and art is unique to them. All I can say is that I write from my heart, I work on posting positive, uplifting images and words, and I am committed to honouring my integrity with the words and art I post, to speak my truth, walk my talk, and talk my walk. For years I strove to do work which met with people’s approval. Now I write and create art which wells up on my imagination, and I answer to no man or woman in what I create and pour forth.
Why Do I Write/Create What I Do?
I read a novel once where one of the characters asked a woman if she could give up her art if someone offered her a million dollars. She said no, and then realised by her answer that she was indeed a committed artist. I feel the same way as a writer and artist.
Words have poured out of me since I was young. I remember creating a newspaper for my aunt when she gave birth to my cousin, and I was around seven years old (I know it was around then as I said she’d given birth to a 7 stone girl instead of 7lbs!). I remember writing stories in primary school and for the 11+ examination in England. I loved writing and communication in every way possible. But I never realised I had a gift. I had little self-esteem and self-confidence until my late ‘forties and really under-estimated the quality of my writing. It was only when I had an astrology reading that I realised in my natal chart were all the indications of someone born to write, but to write about life from the perspectives of my own experiences, as I have Mercury (the scribe) in my First House (Libra) which relates to me and my life. Because Libra is so strong in my chart, I aspire to write about beauty, creativity, the lovely things of life, esoteric life and images, and love itself.
As for art, in November 1995 when I was forty-eight, a psychic predicted I would attend a short art course and start drawing colours and shapes for people. I thought she was barking mad and I’d done my dough as my art in grammar school had been utterly pathetic and I’d drawn nothing since I left at 18. I simply didn’t see myself as creative in any shape or form. But I saw a weekend mandala workshop in early 1996, went with a friend, and I started creating art because I found I work with symbols rather than real life. Since then I’ve worked with art pencils, pastels, acrylics, non-precious stones and glitter (the more the better) to create different sorts of art until I arrived in North Cyprus in 2012. I felt no urge to create art here, which was frustrating and mystifying, until I did the on-line courses that I described above and found that digital art is my passion at this stage of my life here in the Eastern Mediterranean.
How Does my Working/Writing Process Work?
When I’m writing, I just wait to see what pops up in my head and what interests me on that particular day. As with art, I just work very intuitively – to see if I feel drawn to create a blank canvas or work with a photo I’ve already taken. Then I fiddle with images until I get an “aha” moment when I know I’ve created the final image.
One thing I will confess to doing – very politically incorrect – is that when I got my Kindle, apart from more serious books I enjoy like poetry, etc., I started reading detective novels, humorous detective novels, romantic detective novels and all sort of light literature because it enables me to switch off from the real world. When I’m reading these e-books I do so at two levels – one is reading the story, the other is working on creating writing or art posts. It drives my husband nuts because I’ll suddenly stop reading, stare into space, as I mull over what I want to create next, then go back to reading. He thinks I’m off in La-La Land, and he’s probably right!
I also have developed a profound respect for this sub-culture of women writers who work so hard to produce various sorts of novels and really are not taken seriously as their work is lumped under “chick-lit”. Some of the novels are awful, it’s true, some are passable, but some are very funny, some are really well crafted, many tackle social issues, and I am just simply impressed with the number of women who write, often with little appreciation or respect because of the “chick-lit” label.
I’ll wind up by thanking Tammy Vitale again for her invitation to take part in this blog, and also extending thanks to the three who agreed to take part: Lorrie Bowden, Irene Skov Hansen and Amanda Smith. Information on all of them will be in my next post. Enjoy – these bloggers are absolutely terrific!