End of Year, an opening and a closing.

One door opens as another closes
One door opens as another closes

As so it fades… 2015 closes and 2016 opens up with new possibilities. Attitude must rule, for the magic of change and possibilities are only available when you first dream, then think, and follow with doing everything you can to start the engine and keep it running. Yes, I know, at times it is very hard to keep going, to keep the steam puffing, and even not to stand in front of it and block its way, but…we all know that does no good. I have to keep reminding myself,  I’ve got to at the very least keep chipping away at the big dreams, now and then take a big bold whack at it, close my eyes and JUMP. I suggest that to everyone, the choice to stay static or chisel and jump so… why not!?

As 2016 is peaking its head around the corner I am hopeful that this will be the year that my giant revisions of my book may be in the background and that finally I am on the right track. This book looks nothing like where I started and I’m ok with that, it’s a prosess I keep telling myself-Hope so! It is now a book for the “wee ones” of 2-6 years and it is called  Awesome (at least right now that is the title!) It still features Fuddles, the feather that spreads awe and wonder on planet Earth. That is who you see above but that is not an illustration from this upcoming book. The plan is that Fuddles will be on a farm in a sequence book. In the meantime, Fuddles is peaking out the doors into 2016. He does indeed look a bit shocked, maybe a wee bit scared, but time will tell the whole story.  Temporarily that’s all I will reveal. Partly, because it is very much still a working copy, and partly for I am just not ready to “put it out there” yet.

I am not one for resolutions, especially public ones, but I will proclaim my intent for this to be the year of my first book to finally come to be!

Meanwhile….Merry, Bright, Treats, and Joy …Happy New Years

 

What do Civil Rights, the Blues Music and Poverty all have in common?

The answer is all in the new book featured below.

I am very pleased, and proud, to announce that my friend, Ray Uzanas, book Faces and Places of the Deep South is now out, published and fantastic!

Why is this on the Botanical Beauties and Beasties blog you may ask? Well, it’s for two reasons. The first is that it is truly a lovely book, quality in all ways. The second is that I was personally involved by doing all the book design, layout and cover work. We are both very pleased to be able to present it and share it!

The words from the author are as follows…

In “Faces and Places of the Deep South,” Raymond Uzanas takes the reader on his 2015 journey through America’s rural south where he visits towns mired in poverty and those infamous for their role in the civil rights movement of mid-20th century America. Uzanas explores the vast Mississippi Delta that gave birth to the Delta Blues sounds; traveling to its smallest desolate towns as well as to Clarksdale and its annual Juke Joint Blues Festival.

Interviews and shared stories with people he meets resonates across racial and economic lines as he profiles the lives and times of today’s Deep South. It is a book mostly about the people–what Ray calls the human wealth of the region. His photographs capture and convey the mood and character of the land and its people. Come along for a ride through a half century of southern history.

You can purchase the book at Amazon or Blurb, or if you are very lucky you can see it/read it at a few select local Libraries.  FYI, the book is costly as it is a high quality, 120 page, full color “picture book” filled with beautiful images as well as amazing stories of civil rights, the extreme poverty and life in the generally unknown Deep South, and the great Delta Blues Music originating from the Deep South. Incidentally, Ray does not mark the books up, the cost you see is truly the raw cost of printing each book and of no profit to the author. If you are interested in purchasing one, the Blurb site is a little less money than Amazon  (since Amazon adds some for themselves.)

The link for Blurb: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/

The link for Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Faces-Places-South-Raymond-Uzanas/

We both hope you get a chance to enjoy the many Faces and Places of the Deep South.

Changes: “Life is a series of surprises.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

First I was going to write about a topic that has been fascinating me since I heard a TED Talk  called How to spot a liar” by Pamela Meyer. It’s about trust, deception, and our society’s propensity for lies. It’s compelling, and I recommend using 18 mins of your life to listen to it. However, I moved on to topic #2. That was to be Clutter – Clear the clutter, clear the mind. Goes with new beginnings and one of my favorite topics-Letting go! Although those words and thoughts take up a LARGE portion of my mind these days, it was too much, too complex, and more than I wanted to share in words. Therefore, it was shelved for “later.”  Topic #3 was intriguing when I wandered over to  the word of Friendship. However, as I sat down to write I changed my mind again and indeed the topic I have settled on is CHANGE. Particularly , change with Botanical Beauties and Beasties.

The Quote below is from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays and Lectures. “From a layered and immeasurably insightful 1841 essay titled “Circles,” exploring the pillars of personal growth and how we can learn to stop resisting the very things that help us transcend our self-imposed limitations.” I found it on a site I read regularly called Brain Pickings. Click for the full story.

Every ultimate fact is only the first of a new series… The new statement is always hated by the old, and, to those dwelling in the old, comes like an abyss of skepticism.

[…]

In nature every moment is new; the past is always swallowed and forgotten… Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit. No love can be bound by oath or covenant to secure it against a higher love. No truth so sublime but it may be trivial to-morrow in the light of new thoughts. People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.

Life is a series of surprises.”

Surprise # 1:  I might have mentioned to you I am changing the tag line of the business. I am thinking about simplifying things across the board. In life, and so in my business as well. That means change. The tag line has been “Live Kind. Live Green. Live Creatively .” When I do shows those words will continue to serve my story verbally and I still believe in them wholeheartedly. However, I have been thinking for a couple of years now, If the world were to be a bit more “evolved” then Live Kind, Live Green would be one and the same. If we are to truly live within Kindness, that translates  into kindness for self, others, and the world around us, including the planet we all share. So, in the hopes of evolution of us all, and in the process of simplification…. the new line is …. are you ready?…. drum beat please…. Kindess. it's always the bottom line.

As for the third part,  i.e. Live Creatively …Well that most surely continues. Creativity comes in many forms and sizes mostly as words, images, motions and thoughts. We (society) need much help if creativity disappears. For me it is important that I utilize my creativity often, when I don’t my mind gets (even more?) muddled. My thoughts are far enough off the beaten road at times without adding any extra curves! But, I’m also glad about that-without those thoughts, ideas, and imagination the Botanical Beauties would never have been created, launched or shared in any manner. I hope we all agree that would be a shame.

The next step is to figure out to keep moving forward and what’s up next. New paths are ahead, changes are ahead, but I am not clear yet on what, when, where, or how. I continue to work on learning the how, and simultaneously, trying to do (!) the writing and illustrating of  my children’s book. The book has totally changed recently. I will share the New Book when I get a better grip on it.

If anyone has any solid ideas about good marketing, or paths to follow for the Botanical Beauties and Beasties, by all means, please speak up! New crossroads, new thoughts, new directions are indeed what I am looking for!

Surprise #2 – Well, time will tell.

 

Zoie and Kindness

Words…2015…a Golden rule?

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it -honestly, and tell it as best you can. * I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” – http://www.brainpickings.org/2012/09/28/neil-gaiman-8-rules-of-writing/

Writing … A new year, new words, new possibilities, new horizons. I spend much time thinking, and talking to you, those who are kind enough to read these post, about moving forward and letting go of the “goo ” of our lives. I don’t think that will really change, for I still believe it to be of prime importance to most of us. I mean, after all, we all have “goo “-some of it is icky and sticky, some is stubborn, and some even mushes over into the good goo compartment (yes that exist too!) When I started this blog, many years ago now, I wanted to write and hide in the third person voice of a Botanical Beauties character. I never really figured out how to do that and as the years evolved the writing has become more and more personal. It is cloaked loosely from conversations and thoughts with/from friends and life snippets-I often write in reflection to my own days, occurrences, and obviously from my opinions and from my heart.  It often feels very exposed and vulnerable.  “Life is full of interruptions and complications”-a line from the movie Love Actually seems to fit here. In the movie they are referring to actions/reactions; however, it also seems true for these thoughts, and so words, sometimes they too feel like interruptions and complications. Later in the movie the words are “A mans got to do what’s a mans got to do…” and love triumphs. A good thing, for in the end, isn’t it all really about the people in our lives, the interactions and experiences we share with them? And so, circling back, writing from the heart seems like the right thing to do.

book-cover

As 2015 begins, another year of horizons beckons, more words, more experiences. A big personal milestone for myself and The Botanical Beauties will be the reality (finally) of my first book. Since the very first art/craft shows I did, as I stood there and told the ever evolving story and message of the community of The Botanical Beauties & Beasties, people have asked-Where’s the book? Followed by, You need to write a children’s book.  So, with much trust in the “universe,” and a whole lot of hope, this will indeed be the year of the written word, THE book, MY book.  (See image above of the cover)  I wrote it with honesty, and have told the story the best I could. I followed the rule from above.*  … As a life rule, a writing rule, an interpersonal rule, Neil Gaimans words are ones that I like the sound of. I would like this to be my “golden rule” for 2015. “Do what you need to, Live honesty, Live the best you can, Live with assurance and confidence” …add into that, take the chance, jump in with both feet…Let’s  hope it ALL turns out well and brings the Botanicals (my alter ego?) out to new paths, journeys, adventures and happiness.

While I’m at it – I wish the same to ALL of you too! Again quoting the end of Love Actually and The Beach Boys“God only knows where I’d be without you.”  I totally agree.

Just in case……you need to see the movie ending again.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEQPXDGRaEk&list=RDiEQPXDGRaEk&spfreload=10#t=27