The Longing To Perform, To Get Published, To Sell My Artwork

I don’t want to be famous.  I can’t think of a worse lifestyle.  Even fame on a small scale, like that of local celebrities — news anchor people, resident sports stars, etc. — seems awful.  I don’t want people to recognize me in the grocery store.

But I long to perform, to get my novel published and on sale in the bookstores, to sell my jewelry and belly dance costume items.  I long for people to read this blog and my blog for kids, Get A Klu.  Why?  Because I want to communicate.  I want to share.  I want to connect with someone as they receive the gifts that come out of my deepest being.  I want to give.  I create sparkle and shine because I can’t help it, but I sell it because I want to brighten the lives of others.

I want to be known, but not famous.  I want to communicate.  I want to give.

I hope I sell something today.




Talismans and Icons

A talisman (from Arabic طلاسم tilasm, ultimately from Greek telesma or from the Greek word “telein” which means “to initiate into the mysteries”) is an amulet or other object considered to possess supernatural or magical powers.

An icon (from Greek εἰκών eikōn “image”) is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism. More broadly the term is used in a wide number of contexts for an image, picture, or representation; it is a sign or likeness that stands for an object by signifying or representing it either concretely or by analogy.

For years, I’ve gathered objects around me that have meaning and power.  My own art and the art of others.  Pebbles collected off the beach of Iona when I went there for a personal retreat.  A fountain that spills water out of two terracotta pots.  An Uzbek tea set that I received as a gift.  My office/study/dance studio space is filled with them.  And for some reason, it’s time to tell their stories.

On the same bulletin board with the calendar for my writing stickers, there are two objects that inspire me daily.  One is part of an ad ripped out of a magazine and given to me nearly ten years ago.

My best friend taped it on my bedroom door when we were flatmates in Scotland.  “Enjoy the exciting life of a published writer.”  Those are prophetic words to me — I WILL enjoy that exciting life one day.  I WILL get published in the real world, by a real publishing company with a real editor. I WILL find my books on the shelves of Barnes & Noble and the local independent bookseller.

The other is a scrap of paper with a quote from Angela Cartwright, in which she says, “I call myself an ‘unruly artist’ to remind me that letting go is a big part of the process.”  Have I been unruly enough lately?  Have I splashed with abandon into the pool of my artistic endeavors?  Have I experimented with anything?

Tomorrow I will work on my novel some more, and begin summoning the courage to send out a query letter to a certain agent soon…very soon.  Tomorrow I will be an unruly artist and experiment with cutting gauntlets out of supple black leather.

Tonight, I will go to sleep as the fresh night air wafts in our windows.



The Neighbors Must Think I’m Crazy, But It’s Just My Inner Child At Play

Me and Klu were busy just now takin’ some photos for his blog, Get A Klu.  In order to get the photos he wanted of him looking at the place behind the trellises where we saw the baby bunny this morning, I had to do some crawling around and crouching in the bushes around my neighbor’s patio.  Wilbs came along too, so we might have looked a little unusual.

I used to feel a little sheepish about people seein’ Klu out in public, but now I just let them think I’m crazy.  Cuz I know it’s just my inner child at play.


Cynthia (and Klu the Bear)

An Odd Sense of Let-Down

I was driving home just now from my belly dance practice, and I felt an odd sense of let-down.  Not strong enough to be called loss, but almost. As I drove, I tried to sit with the feeling, as Jolene always used to tell me to do. To feel it. To stay there.

I feel this feeling often in the moments just after I’ve stopped doing something creative. When my writing session is over for the morning. When I have to leave my jeweler’s bench because it’s bedtime. When belly dance practice is over. When I have to leave the magic and return to the real world.

Here’s the magic. Here’s Fáinne , the student troupe of Anam Cara Dance Dance Company, recently performing at Elevation 2010. We put in hours of time on rehearsals and costume-making and practicing individually, and then we created magic that night.

Here’s the magic. Here’s Klu the Bear’s blog, Get A Klu,and the knowledge that a small tan bear (my inner child) and his friends are delighting a lot of people.

And here’s the magic. Here’s my online shop, Magic Carpet Dance Arts, where total strangers occasionally buy a piece of my artwork.

But then it’s time to cook or go to work or clean the toilet, and I have to step out of that place of magic and imagination. And I feel that odd sense of let-down.

How do I learn to hold the magic in my heart until the next time?

Making Declarations Using “The Creative Entrepreneur” By Lisa Sonora Beam

I used to be part of an intense evangelical/charismatic Christian community, and we spent a lot of time making declarations. We made declarations about the nature of God, such as “God is love.” We made declarations about ourselves: “I am loved. I am beautifully created and wonderful.” I used to get kind of, well, very sick of it at the time, because why did I need to keep saying out loud these things I already believed?

Later, in a completely different context, my counselor, Jolene, made me say things out loud (sometimes loudly, even) that were true about me. More declarations. I am a strong woman.  I am powerful.  I am a volcano.

And dang it, there’s something in the concept. Declaring what I know is inside me, in order to give it space and power to expand.

And now I’ve come across an amazing book for creative, artistic types who’d like to make money from their art.  It’s based on the concept of visual declarations. The book is The Creative Entrepreneur, by Lisa Sonora Beam.

I bought it without realizing that it was a workbook, and I was very cranky when I discovered I actually had to DO something. Exercises. But they’re working. I’m declaring. I am a creative entrepreneur.

I’m declaring the things that come easily to me, and the things that don’t.

I’m declaring how the parts of me fit together, and which ones are strong and which ones need tender development, especially in terms of business skills.

I’m declaring my five-year plan for my writing, my art, and Magic Carpet Dance Arts.

I’m declaring my mission for my business.

If Amazon hadn’t fired all their Amazon Associates in Colorado (but that’s a whole nother story), I’d have a button right here for you to buy the book. But I trust you’ll track it down if you want it. 🙂

And now I must go paint another panel of fabric that will be turned into a temple skirt something like the one in the picture at the bottom.

My little buddy, Klu the Bear, always signs his blogs with some variation of, “Love, Klu the Bear.”  Somehow it feels incomplete not to sign this grownup blog of mine.


Cynthia the Creative Entrepreneur

I Will Be Vending on August 28th!

Hey Denver friends, come and check out my jewelry, belly dance costume pieces, and other items!

When: August 28th, 1:00-5:00
Where: the D-Note in Old Town Arvada
What: a flea market for belly dancers

This will be my first vending experience, and I’m excited. But I’m also extremely glad I’ll have my Anam Cara Dance Company sisters with me.  (The event is like a yard sale for belly dancers, so some of other dancers from our troupe is going to be selling their used pieces on the other end of the table from me.)  I know I’ll be nervous to have people actually handling my artwork and then walking away from it.  I’m an artist, and artists have thin skins!!!!!! Those pieces are my babies. Scary!!! But I trust that a few of them will find homes where they will be loved.

Feel free to do a little shopping beforehand at Magic Carpet Dance Arts.

I Didn’t Get A Sticker Yesterday

I didn’t get a sticker yesterday, but I’m going to get one this morning. So there.

Back in 2006 or so, I was working my way through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. One of her themes is that your inner artist is a child, and you need to love it like a child. Give it room to play. Treat it gently, and with lots of laughter. Somehow from that, I started giving myself a sticker every day that I had a writing session and worked on my novel. Stickers were fun. Stickers made me happy. Stickers gave me a bright, shiny record of my accomplishments and progress on my manuscript, and my inner artist felt pleased.

I’ve been giving myself stickers for most of five years now. On a bulletin board right by my desk hangs a calendar that gradually fills each month. Some months I’m consistent with my writing and the calendar gets bright and shiny. Other months a lot of it is blank. But the stickers add up, and so do the pages of my manuscript.

I had to be out the door yesterday by 7:10 to get to a doctor’s appointment, so I didn’t get my normal writing time in the morning. I even took my notebook along to the appointment, and worked for about 3 minutes in the waiting area. Sometimes waiting rooms for the doctor or dentist can be places of great productivity for me. (And besides, who wants to touch a magazine that a hundred sick people have sneezed on?) But they called me in quickly yesterday. So I didn’t get a sticker.

But I woke up this morning at 4:15 and couldn’t go back to sleep. So I’m gonna get my sticker.

It Came To Me Complete

I’m on the final edit of the novel I’m writing. In fact, I’m more than a third of the way through the final edit, and it’s only been a few weeks since I started reading once again from the beginning.

When I realized this, I was immensely surprised. The end has always seemed so far away. But now it’s not.

This novel came to me complete. And through all the struggles and slumps and bursts of creative energy and times of being blocked, I’ve reminded myself over and over: This novel came to me complete.

By magic. Through the power of goodness.

Back in 2005, I was living in Ayrshire, in Scotland, one of the most beautiful places in the world when the sun is shining. One evening, I was on a walk from my flat out to this 1400’s castle, called Portencross.

The evening sky was pink and lavender and soft blue. Colors in Scotland are vivid — so fresh and sharp and strong. The grass was green. The sand of the beach was terracotta and pink. The water of the Firth of Clyde was blue, blue, blue.

As I walked, an idea for an entire novel, complete with three separate story lines, flashed down to me from the sky. The impact of the inspiration was so powerful I gasped. I’d never in my life had an experience like this. Frantic to remember it all, I ran all the way back to my flat, telling the story out loud to myself and the sheep I passed so I wouldn’t forget it before I could write it down.

I’d never been an idea-woman before. My creativity had been an intermittent trickle. I’d been writing stories and novels and parts of novels for years, but plot ideas had been a scarce commodity. I’d feared as I finished one project that I wouldn’t have any more ideas, ever again.

So why did this story appear from the skies, as a gift? I have no idea. Why do we receive any unexpected, undeserved thing? Only because there must be goodness in the universe. But in the years that have followed that moment on the road to Portencross Castle, I’ve learned to shelter and nurture my gift story. When the writing was difficult, the plot convoluted, the feedback from my critique group negative, I’ve told myself: It came to me complete. I know the ending is in me, because it came to me complete. I know I’ll find my way with this certain character, because it came to me complete. As a magical gift.

My wonderful counselor, Jolene, set me on a path of painting to unblock internal logjams. One day, when I needed to be reminded that my novel was a magical gift, I painted this picture.

It hangs now near my desk, reminding me of the gift of this novel, coming down like a magic carpet out of the sky.