I’m a perfectly good carrot that everyone is trying to turn into a rose. As a carrot I have a good color and a nice leafy top. When I’m carved into a rose, I turn brown and wither.
— Mary Pipher

I went to a writing conference round this time last year and I came back depressed and dumbfounded.  It was put on by a small publishing company and it was there I realized that my writing didn't fit in any of their boxes.  What I was doing was different and weird.

I didn't write for a month.  Not a word.

After I got over the strange looks and rhetoric about how self-publishing (blah blah blah) is not the way to go, I gathered my wits about me and grabbed hold of some courage too.

I embraced my weirdness.  I embraced my mind and the wiry way it worked.  I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and continued on my own path.  

Art is what we call...the thing the artist does.

It’s not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes art is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something human.

Art is not in ...the eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist.
— Seth Godin

It was messy and nonsensical, but it suited me well.  I grew in confidence and became more diligent over the year.  By the time summer came around I was all hot and bothered.  I felt antsy, ready to put my story out in cyberspace.

Fear, however, drove me underground.  Thoughts kept spiraling through my head..."No one will read it.  No one will care.  No one will get it."

Then Nancy Belmont put up her courage wall on the Avenue in Del Ray.  I walked past that thing every day and read the words both my neighbors and strangers wrote on the board.  It moved me to tears.

I knew I had to launch my story project.  I was afraid to undress my heart, but I was ready, too. So, a plan went into action.  "Somewhere over the Black Narrows" became tangible and real.  

I wanted others to be inspired to share their write, paint, dance and brew up their own art.  We impact each other when we are open and honest.  Life change happens when we are make ourselves vulnerable.

Through this project I hope to raise awareness for Alzheimer's disease.  This is just one story and though it is very real to me, it is fictional.

Every victim, caregiver and family member has their own experience when confronted by Alzheimer's.  Every one of them has a story that is uniquely theirs and it is real.

I hope that we will talk about this in Del Ray, in Alexandria and all across Virginia.  I hope that the small talk in our town sends a wave of conversation across the nation.  We must speak up and speak out.  We must have courage.

You’re time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other peoples’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
— Steve Jobs

Seeds are planted deep within our hearts.  

Something stirs inside to make us move, make us act.

What do you wish you had the courage to do?  

Take the first step, write it down.


Artists, if you aren't following Seth Godin's blog, please do so now.  

Writers, Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird has been a sweet oasis for me.