My word for 2015 is GIVE. A friend of mine challenged me a few years ago to pick a word and set myself up to honor that word for the entire year. I have been doing this for three years now, and every year has ended better than it started. After a year of so much soul searching, planning and running around stressed, this year seemed like the perfect year to do none of that. I have my long term goals still, but how about a year of giving. I’m not selling anything. I’m not trying to get anything. I’m just going in and giving it my all. The best things in life aren’t planned (or so I think). They just happen when they are supposed to happen. Maybe if I do all I can do and just give myself to the creativity process, something better than I could ever plan will emerge. Or not. Either way, it’s a wonderful way to spend a year.
So now I’m working on training myself to write. Write well? Maybe that’s to come. For now, just write. Doodle along with it and try and get my fingers and paint brush moving like a picture book writer. Here’s where journaling comes in handy and why I wanted to share it with you. Working on a piece of art for framing is very different than writing in a journal. You don’t have to share it. If it’s really bad you don’t have to throw it away, just turn the page. Keep it, and look back on it in a few months when you want to see if you’ve come any further. Journaling is great. It’s also a wonderful way to try new things. There is no need to share a journal, it’s personal. I promised you I would share though. Mostly to keep myself accountable, but also because you are here and I want to give you a little insight into me. You’ll get to know me a little better this year.
This page was the first in a new journal I bought for myself in the new year. It’s a good size, perfect for sketches and good paper for watercolors as well. Strathmore, Visual Journal- 140lb Watercolor paper, 9×12. I’m using this one primarily for writing prompts. I am finding them to be so helpful. I sit down at my desk and just go blank sometimes, so a writing prompt is a given word or phrase that helps you get started.
There are so many resources for writing prompts on the internet. I hardly know where to begin. I almost dedicated myself to a project of writing seven picture books in seven days. I probably would have stuck my head in the toilet by day two. Though I was intrigued by the challenge, and seriously considered it, I figured baby steps were a better way to go. I mean, I’ve got to keep this going for at least a year. Two day burnout is a bad way to stay motivated.
The little girl in this sketch is me. Well, me at three. Bowl cut and all. I don’t remember much at that wee age, and maybe I don’t even really remember this, but my parents were so good at taking home videos and watching them with me that I feel like I can remember what it was like to be three. I remember living on a military base in Seoul, Korea (where I was born and adopted), and always having plenty of friends to play with. I remember the playground by our apartment, merry- go- round, swings, and tree house. My Dad used to give my Mom the video camera to film from our balcony, while he came down to the park and pushed me and the mob of other merry-go-round leaches as fast as we asked. Mostly, I remember the sandbox. Hours of time would pass in the sandbox. Life was good.
The one memory I think back on and laugh about is this little green dress I adored. It was a soft cotton, white with the most beautiful emerald green watercolor flowers scattered in every which way. My mother told me later, when I was much older, that I would never EVER wear pants when I was little, even to the sandbox. She was always afraid of sand getting in not so great places for a girl, but I was three and I was going to wear a dress. THAT green dress in particular. It would get thrown in the hamper, and I would go fish it out and put it on. It was my favorite.
The writing prompt I followed was this…
When I was ____ years old, my favorite _________ was ___________. I remember the time I ________________.
Give it a go the next time you get stumped. I was pleasantly taken back to a very happy place indeed.