Facebook Is Crazy…But Then Again, So Am I

So, I Facebook.  Many people do.  But there are many people who don’t.  They think Facebook—that putting your entire life online for the edification of others—is a completely crazy thing to do.  Maybe it is.  I don’t know.  But many other people (and some of the SAME people who think Facebook is crazy) also think that the act of creativity is crazy.  And sometimes, it is.  Sometimes I’m up all night with ideas that are positively foaming over in my brain faster than I can write them down.  Sometimes I’m incredibly depressed that there ARE no ideas.  Sometimes I ask my husband to bring strange things home from work, like clothes that will fit my cat.

And he actually BUYS these things.  Now THAT'S crazy.

And he actually BUYS these things. Now THAT’S crazy.

 

Sometimes I get so involved in whatever I’m creating that I make messes in the house, drink juice straight from the carton, forget to eat and sleep, and have to be told that it’s time to shower.  And that’s just WHILE I’m creating.  After I finish whatever project it is, I have to “get it out there”, which involves being open to criticism, and praise, or, worse than either one, just being ignored and disregarded.  Being successful at creative pursuits means you have to share it, and wait for the response, which makes you scared and happy and proud and depressed and all sorts of things that, depending upon their intensity, make you crazy.  Plus, a lot of people think that allowing yourself to be that vulnerable, well, that’s crazy too.  So, I’m crazy, Facebook is crazy…it all works for me.

And the reason I’m “on” about this today, is that I’m beginning a small “thing” on Facebook.  I already use it for promoting my blog, and my photography business.  I use it for a few personal, family things as well.  But it is mostly for business.  However, I’ve decided that that stupid “status update bar” needs to be filled with something more than what I had for supper, or how my husband’s toenail fungus is really disgusting (it is).  I’m putting some actual WRITING in there.  Not necessarily every day.  And not about ANYTHING specifically.  Just about some experience I had, or idea or concept that became clear to me.  See, I can be notoriously thick.  In fact, I feel that much of my days are spent saying “Wha?” as I walk around in my own little mental world.  But suddenly, and with no warning, my brain light bulb will activate, all 15 watts or so, and I will “get” something.  Or I will experience something with new eyes.  So, I’m trying to record those fleeting moments because I think, somehow, that is where the true gold of my creative life really lies, and I record them, at least in part, on Facebook.

So, here is this morning’s post.

I took the dog out into a cold, gray morning, bare branches above and dull ground underfoot. We go to the same corner of the yard each time, and while she does her business, I always survey the parts of the property that I can see. (Not that we have an estate or anything–we have a modest home on a modest lot, no biggie.) For some reason, as I was looking at two evergreen trees in the backyard, I spied a small “sparkle” through the branches, just for a moment, but bright. I’m sure it was caused by a streetlight shining through the boughs from a block over or something, but it didn’t really matter, because, instantly, I was transported. It was, for a brief but interminable moment, as if I was in the yard during a full-on June evening, with the warm sun just gone under the western horizon, the grass thick under my feet, and the air alive with bugs everywhere. The whole world positively seethed with life, and the sparkle through the tree branches that I had spied back in March was just one of about a million other sparkles from lightning bugs doing their mating dance in the muggy Iowa night. I stood there, in the summer-that-wasn’t and breathed in all the life that was-soon-to-be, and it was wonderful.

 I love all seasons. I can find beauty in every single time, something to appreciate, something to enjoy, and it is one of my few really great qualities in my large collection of rather human ones. Winter makes me feel like I’m resting, giving my brain a break from all the riotous color and activity of the other seasons. For me, it is a necessary balance. But, I’m ready now, for flowers peeping and mown grass and lightening bugs calling busily through the purples of summer evenings.

 Then, the dog gave a tug on her leash, and I was rushed back to Iowa, March 2013. The clouds hung low and unremarkable. We headed back inside.

Now, this isn’t Salinger or Hemmingway or Stephen King (I WISH it was Stephen King!), but it is me, and it is completely what happened to me this morning when the dog was doing her “thang” on my hard-as-winter-bones yard.

Sophia

The dog.

Not terrible.  And it felt good to write.  So, there it is.

I’m under no illusions that I will elevate Facebook, or get rid of the Harlem Shake memes, or the sometimes awful political bickering that goes on there.  I’m just going to reach out to people with me, and who I am.  That’s it.  And really, that is ALL art.

Facebook is a great place to get your work in front of people.  It is maybe NOT a great way to actually gauge how good your work is (depending upon who reads it), but it is super for just “getting it out there”.  So, whether you are an adult or a kid or a kid-like adult, just put it out there, and be human with others.  And if someone else puts a bit of themselves out there, read it, look at it, appreciate it, knowing it is maybe a very important part of that person.

Later, Gator.

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.

A Break For Snow Angels–The Redux

Tomorrow, I’m back on the Soda Pop Valentine book, but today, I need to make a quick post about my new “old” book, Snow Angels.

1a

 

Its a story I wrote several years ago–actually, it started out as a bit of verse I wrote for a Christmas card, along with a photograph I took of my kids making snow angels in the yard.

27a

I went to the trouble of writing the verse, which happened in about 10 minutes–it literally wrote itself–and then designed and printed the cards, but for some reason, I never got them mailed out.  However, I always thought it would make a nice book.  Then, a couple years later, during a very snowy winter, I decided I would write and illustrate a complete book over the course of a month.  Snow Angels, Edition 1 was born.  It was 12 pages long, and the unique thing about it was that I did the WHOLE book from scratch.  That’s right–I didn’t have it printed.  I PRINTED IT.  From beginning to end.  I created “page pockets” and stuffed them full of photos of winter scenes and other little goodies.  I put them all together and made my entire family crazy.

29a

That’s us….and we were CRAZIER than normal.

See, they were my labor.  We turned the entire kitchen into a book factory.  We trimmed, we spiral bound, we ordered pages and stuffed the pockets and packed them all.  And wow…the book was great, but WOW, IT WAS TEDIOUS.  My family would make maybe 30 books a day.  They loved the book, but hated making it.  And I knew, that even though it was a cute book with a lot going for it, I was never going to be able to mass-market it, because I simply couldn’t make enough of them and stay sane.

Sanity is important.

So, from the beginning, I knew I was going to have to rework this thing.  And I finally did.  Luckily, last winter, we had one really freaky snow in an otherwise snowless winter, and I took my boys out to one of my most favorite places in the world–Waubonsie State Park in Southwest Iowa.  The snow was one of those that stuck to every twig on every branch on every tree.  It clung thickly to everything.

17a

 

It was magical, beautiful, like a crystal-encrusted wonderland.  And I took loads of photographs.  And it occurred to me….why not rework Snow Angels with some additional pages and some additional photos.  Then, I would outsource the printing and get it out there in a big way.

A year later, the project is done.  And it is different, yes.  There are no pockets, or stuff filling the pockets.  But, there ARE more pages, a more complete story, and visuals that will knock your socks off.  And I’m going to post many of the things that were in the page pockets of the old version of the book online for free download, so that content isn’t lost.  But if you are one of the few that purchased a handmade Snow Angels book, well, you are the proud owner of a collector’s item.  And you can get it here, right now!

So, here is my advice when coming up with a “cool idea”…

1.  Make sure it won’t make you crazy-nuts to execute.

2. If it does make you crazy-nuts, you must charge more for it.  But realize, you may not sell ANY if you price it what it is actually worth.  In which case, see Rule #1.

3. If a project isn’t working the way you thought, don’t be afraid to rework it.  Change the format.  Add to it.  Make it more enjoyable.  Make it more sellable.

4.  Sometimes, it is okay if a project just remains a personal thing.  I have many book ideas and many stories that I have loved writing, but that, for one reason or another, just won’t work as a commercial, for-sale item.  That’s fine.  I still love those things.

5.  After you make your changes, execute it.  Get it out there while the project feels new, while you are still excited about it.  Then, promotion is easy AND fun.

So, here is the link where you can purchase my book Snow Angels.  It will be available on Amazon in this version soon.  And coming after that–a Kindle version.

Tomorrow–Soda’s Valentine.  Can’t wait!  Nearly finished!

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.

 

Luc Calms All My Fears….

I was on tv this morning. For like 6 minutes. And for those of you who are on tv all the time, I know this isn’t a big deal. Fine. And for those of you (like me) who aren’t on tv all the time, let me assure you, it isn’t a big deal. Or, like most things, it is only as big a deal as you make it.

Let me tell you how big a deal I made of it over the past two weeks. Two weeks was all the lead time I had for this little appearance. My friend Jared (founder of the kid’s band, BETWIXT that collaborates with me on great school presentations and other creative stuff) arranged this appearance for us on a local (Omaha) morning tv show that has replaced Regis and Kelly now that Regis is gone. So, there are these two Omaha tv people that do this show, called The Morning Blend, which is a blend (get it?) of all sorts of Omaha light news and human interest stories.

The timing was great for me, because I’m just beginning to publicize Buck’s Rodeo, my new novel, so yay! The tv station sent me an email asking me for lots of info including talking points that had to be returned a week before the show, and I did that little piece of homework pretty well. I emailed it the day it was due. Good enough. I also planned to email up some illustrations from my books, but that one slid by. Oh well. I decided to print canvases of my illustrations and actually bring them up to the studio. They could be set decor for the band.

Mission Accomplished

For the first week that I knew I was going to be on tv, it really meant nothing to me. I would look at the calendar to schedule photography shoots for people, and skip March 26th because I would say to myself “no, have to be on tv for that one” and then I’d schedule on another day and promptly forget about the 26th.

Cue the spring time change. Spring forward. Sounds so cheery. Right. For me, it’s a spring detour to sleep loss hell.

I remembered 8 days before the show that I wanted a new dress. Now, I am NOT a big shopper. So, I decided to find it online and have it shipped. Ok, so, after mulling it over for a few hours on a few different sites, I picked out a dress that I thought was suited to my body type, was colorful and fun, and wasn’t expensive. Bam. Ordered that baby. Delivery looked to be 4 days before the appearance. Alright. Shoes I have. No issues there.

Nope. No problemo with the shoes.

So, I have lots of things going on in my life during this time period. LOTS of photography work to accomplish. Lots of homeschooling to do. Lots of dishes and laundry and dog walking and breathing and sleeping and all those other things that we do all the time . Hair. I had to figure out my hair. Then, stroke of luck, I was chatting socially with my hairstylist, told him about this tv thing, and he offered to get up at 5:30 in the AM(ouch) and do my hair for this. ALRIGHT. I was cruising.

So, there we go. Clothes. Shoes. Canvases of illustrations. I didn’t really have anything else to do except survive my workload until the day of the deal. Unfortunately, my psyche didn’t quite see it that way.

First of all, sleeping over the past two weeks has been impossible. (thank you stress and TIME CHANGE.) I’m laying in bed with talking points running through my brain. All the stuff I can cram in 6 minutes begins to jumble itself and reorganize into craziness. My photography workload seems to get deeper. Consequently, I get tireder. Add to that the not-sleeping thing. Starting to get crabby here. The house gets messier.

This is my desk. I didn't have the courage to show you the rest of the room.

I imagine it is probably because I am turning into a walking zombie due to sleep deprivation. Wednesday, the dress isn’t here. Kids aren’t picking up the slack around the house, and the hubby has his own problems—inspectors have shown up at his job, and he’s working 12 hour days with an hour commute, so he’s basically eating and mostly sleeping when he’s here. Time change doesn’t bother him. Okay. Disaster is starting to loom, at least in my brain if not in reality.

Sleeping like a baby....

So, fast forward a few days to Friday last. My dress STILL isn’t here. It is coming UPS. It has to either get here on Friday, or it won’t BE here in time for the show because UPS doesn’t do Saturdays, at least not in Sidney, Iowa if you just pay for the cheapest shipping. Okay. I am starting to feel the first flutters of fear. Tired fear. No. Rephrase that. Exhausted-why-in-the-world-did-I-ever-decide-to-publish-books-and-be-a-mom-and-a-photographer-all-at-the-same-time-oh-and-I-have-to-be-on-television-in-three-days-and-I have-NOTHING-to-wear-fear.

Saturday was a wash. I felt like I was swimming in molasses.

Yes. I'm swimming in this. MMMMMMM.

I had a list of things to do (I am a list-compulsive) but couldn’t STICK to the list. Running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Thinking of alternate wardrobe ideas, none of which thrill me. Then, hey, I find out UPS decided to deliver it to the Post Office on Saturday instead of driving two blocks to my home and dropping it off here. Since we have a PO box, the dress is here. Okay. I’m feeling mildly better. But TIRED.

But, I realize I don’t have jewelry. Seriously. I don’t wear much jewelry except for my wedding rings. I buy art supplies and camera stuff, not sparkly stuff. So, I call my husband to pick up some cheap bling at a store in the town where he works. I describe it in miniscule detail because I want what I want, and he doesn’t pick out jewelry because I never ask him to, and I see how he dresses, so I figure I better be exact. (Luv you honey.) I am starting to panic a bit about the talking points. Am I going to sound stupid? What if they ask things that aren’t on my list of talking points? What if my dress is too low cut and I look like a hooker?

Hooker?

What if I look old? (I am.) What if I look fat? (I’m not, but I sometimes think I am, and the tv puts on 10 lbs.) What if I look like an old, fat hooker? Wouldn’t it be better to look like a young, thin hooker? Or, and this one is the most important—What if my subject matter just isn’t interesting?

Sunday, the day before the tv deal dawns. I feel calm. I slept well. I focus. I work. I print canvases. Stretch ‘em. Talk to Jared and TJ–the band BETWIXT. Finally. This is how it’s supposed to be. I feel nervous anticipation, but no dread. My talking points are lodged firmly in my brain. I try on the clothes and shoes and accompanying undergarments. Not bad. I have a glass of wine before bed.

Ah.....

I sleep. I get up. My hairdresser does my hair and it is awesome. My dress is pretty good. I don’t feel too fat or hookery. My shoes are great. We are on time–actually early. Everyone gets there early. It is a small tv station–this is Omaha, after all. But, it’s gonna be fun. I think. They tell me I will be on toward the end of the show with the band. Okay. There are other people on the show too. A guy talking about hard drives and how they fail. Good deal. I had that happen to me once. Another person talking about college basketball championships. Fair enough.

And then, there was this guy. THIS guy. This guy was the headliner.

http://www.omahamorningblend.com/videos/143824776.html
Now, don’t get me wrong. Being GaGa’s ex-boyfriend and writing a book called The Drunk Diet is great. More power to him.   I haven’t read the book.  It could be a transformative read. It might very well be better than mine.  The title is provocative.  He most definitely has more money in the bank than I do.    He was there with his mother and his aunt.  He said “hi” to me in the hall.  (I am an idiot.  Until after the show, I had NO IDEA who the hell he was.  Pop culture FAIL.)   And believe me, I don’t think I’m all that. But, after seeing him and watching his interview, inexplicably, all my worries melted away.  And then, it was all good.

 

To see MY interview, which I have decided NOT to watch to protect my fragile sanity, click here: http://www.omahamorningblend.com/videos/143306866.html