Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Lessons Learned.........the saga of Heliographica

Almost a year ago, five women writers and myself were in the throes of elation celebrating our upcoming release of "Pink Jasper - Gems from the Journey", published through Heliographica. The book represented a collaborative birthing of the writings of six women who had never personally met, but through this project have formed lasting friendships.

Today, I received the following email from "Team Heliographica":

Heliographica will be cancelling it's operations.

As a traditional title- your rights revert back to you.

If your title made it through production and is in print through Ingram it
will remain in print
until late August and in December after we have
received royalties from wholesalers payment will be made to you using the address we have on file.

Note: You will be able to place bulk orders for books through July 31st, but
effective immediately our website will no longer take sales.

We regret to be sending you this notice and wish you the best of luck with
your writing.

Team Heliographica

I have to say that this really didn't come as much of a surprise. There have been problems all along since the publishing of Pink Jasper. Difficulties getting orders, lack of communication and bumps and disappointments all along the way. We fared much better than some authors though, whose sagas can be read here .

As I think all this over today, I know that this book has been a wonderful journey for me. I met some great women who I laughed and cried with, I cut my teeth on the craft of writing, I learned volumes about the publishing industry, and I have a book on my bookshelf that has my name on the cover. Pink Jasper has opened doors for me, and I know that even as one door closes another will open someplace else.

I don't know the future of our little book. I do know that those who have read it, loved it and I hope that it has blessed them in some way.

This morning I relayed the information to my oldest son that the publisher had gone under and I couldn't get anymore books, and then I jokingly commented "so, no Oprah." He buttered his toast, shrugged, and replied "So, you're only 40 something." I looked at "Mr. Wiser-Than-Years", smiled and said "You're right - try again!".

Never let your dreams die.

(PS - I still have a few copies of Pink Jasper kicking around if you are interested in buying it. Could be a collector's item!! ) * o

Sunday, June 25, 2006

From the Past

While cleaning out some stuff, I came across an old notebook with the following entry written in May of 1994:

I'm sitting here on a cloudy Sunday morning, dishes piled in the sink, kids watching TV, floor in desperate need of vacuuming, Charlie tugging at me. I should be getting ready for church. Instead I'm scribbling away in this notebook, asking myself why do I want to write? I come from a family tradition of writing. My mother writes poetry from time to time. Both of us enjoy buying journals and notebooks with their crisp clean paper, anticipating filling them with wonderous thoughts and then piling them up, forlorn and forgotten on dusty shelves because our lives are just too distracting to write. My favorite time in school was always the beginning. Not just for the starting over, but for the thrill of new notebooks. I loved the first page, eagerly anticipating the first notes to be jotted down, always neatly with appropriate headings underlined. September held the promise of new beginnings, it was fresh. Of course, by October this freshness would wear off. By now the notebooks were familiar, the promises a little jaded and school was always the same. I'm still a stationary "junkie" in September. I've even bought notebooks and scrapbooks under the pretense of doing something for the kids but it was really just to relive that thrill of crisp, clean pages. Notebooks can also lead to writer's block, because I have always had that feeling that the first page should be perfect and with a clear purpose. But life is not the crisp new page in a notebook.

So here I am, twelve years later. I still love new notebooks, but I have conquered the expectation of a perfect first page. I've learned that writing is the continual action of putting pen to paper, or connecting fingers to keyboard. And I still buy scrapbooks and notebooks, but I happily own up that they are for me - no hiding behind the kids - and I'm quite content to get messy in them! * o

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Blogging the Creative Journey

My blog has been listed at Creativity Portal's "Inspiring Blogs" section!! Cool!

Also, I can't seem to "escape" Harper Lee - check this out... * o

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Synchronicity...or something like that

"Dear Oprah,
Do you remember when you first learned to read, or like me, can you not even remember a time when you didn't know how?" Harper Lee - "O" Magazine, July 2006

I often have these weird flashes of synchronicity, when something I'm musing on suddenly starts appearing everywhere. (Wish I could manifest money in the same way!)

A couple of weeks ago, in our writer's group, we got to discussing how some authors can continuously put out great novels, over and over. We marvelled at the talent and drive to turn out books year after year - and not just the "formula, crank-em out books" but well written literature. And then we pondered over the writer who writes just one great novel in their entire career and then disappears from the bookshelves. For example, Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird. A classic, much loved piece of literature. An only novel. A reclusive author. One wonders - is that all they had? What happened to them? Where are they now? and so on (much like my musings earlier on Susan Kay and Phantom). I even recall asking, "is Harper Lee still alive?" I suppose one can always Google the answer to that, but really it's more fun to just ponder it.

The conversation was relegated to the recesses of my mind, pushed back by more urgent thoughts like "what the heck I'm I going to make for supper?" and "who's turn is it to go to the city this weekend?". Last Friday it was my turn to be in the city. I was standing in line at the grocery store, blankly gazing over the magazine headlines - "Angelina's baby not Brad's", "Britney and Kevin in trouble" yada yada and "O" Magazine caught my eye. Maybe it was the lovely sunny yellow outfit Oprah had on, or those eye-catching article headlines, or face it, I was bored and thought it might give me something to browse through at lunch, but I ended up throwing the magazine in with the groceries.

At lunch, I was flipping through the pages looking at the "Oprah-endorsed" reading list when I flipped to a letter from Harper Lee. There she is, in bold black and white print with large signature scrawled at the bottom of the page. Apparantly, Harper Lee is very much alive and writing to Oprah.

It's a fabulous letter, not just an endorsement of reading, but a glimpse of the passion for books. The kind that get sucked up into your soul while reading. The kind you hate to put down. An ode to those of us who always seemed to know "how" to read and don't remember how we learned. A poignant look back at a time when books ruled as entertainment. Or, as Harper Lee writes, "Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books."

On Sunday, my youngest called out "Mom, To Kill a Mockingbird is on the movie channel!". I wish I hadn't been in the middle of a "do or die" cleaning project, so that I could have sat down and watched it.

I'm still pondering why some authors will pour themselves into only one book, and never seem to touch the printed page again. And, I can't help thinking, Ms. Lee after years of silence - why Oprah??? * o

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Calendar Pages

This page in my art journal was inspired by one I saw on Zura's blog.

Calendar pages are fun, easy to do and a quick way to journal your month. You can glue things onto the day's entry, or sketch or just write some quick notes.

In retrospect, I should have made this a two page spread, with more room, which is what I'm planning to do for July.

You can see more calendar pages at this website. These ones are very artistic and fun! * o

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Buck Stops Here

This morning I happened to glance out the far side windows of my office building and just got a glimpse of antlers meandering past. I was standing there, doing one of those double-take, "did I just see antlers?" kind of musings when someone yelled "hey! there's a deer outside my window!" Quickly, we all ran to the windows (obviously, a slow day) and there was this beautiful buck making his way around the side of the building towards the front. And then, following at a casual pace behind, a doe!

The two wandered across the front lawn and into the brush on the other side giving no mind to the excited gawkers at the window.

One of those perfect moments in an otherwise ho-hum day. * o

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Pentecost and Trinity

Last Sunday, at Church-in-the-City, they had a presentation of liturgical dance in celebration of Pentecost. It was the first time I had seen a liturgical dance, and I found it both simple and graceful, fluid and moving.

So naturally I had to somehow record it in my art journal.

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday, and I'd like to share this beautiful Celtic prayer from Esther De Waal's "The Celtic Way of Prayer":

I am bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who purchased me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
In friendship and affection.

Wishing you fluid, graceful and simple Sundays. * o

Monday, June 05, 2006

Finally, the gluebook page

Craziest thing - I have to import scanned images into my iPhoto program, then export them back out again as jpeg's in order to have Blogger upload them....

Anyway, here is the gluebook page I did for the art journaling course.

As you can see, you glue all sorts of scrap paper that make up your day to day life. No particular order, rhyme or reason. And they can be quite messy.

So, why do it? I guess the point is to free yourself from the rules of what the page is supposed to look like. As in, the first rule of creating is to throw out the rules.

Now, go glue some junk mail in your journal right now! Have fun and get messy! * o

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I've been trying to upload images so I can show you a gluebook page I did for my art journal class, but for the last 3 days all I get is an error message when trying to upload! ARRRRGGGH!

In the meantime, if you haven't visited there before stop by The Creativity Portal - tons of resources and articles to get even the slightest of creative juices flowing like a river! * o