Monday, April 18, 2011

I've Got News!!

My PHOTO EXHIBIT is all set up and ready for viewing at Heska's Sugar Shack and Coffee Co. in Mentone! Heska graciously allowed me the use of a whole wall to place some large framed prints, and barring sales (a very good thing!) they'll be there till May. It's really exciting, and yes, a little intimidating. After all, sitting in the 'gallery room' with a bowl of homemade soup, looking at MY pictures on the wall instead of someone else's? Wow. I'm grinning like an idiot, with clam chowder on my chin. I chose a variety to display for this first showing: some of my favorite Grand Canyon views, bee photos (of course) and a couple wonderfully soothing beach scenes from my trip to Costa Rica. And a zebra.
For those of you who can't make it out this way, here are some samples.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dear Buddy,

 You were the best dog a girl could ever want. When I close my eyes and remember our life together, I laugh, I cry and I wish with all my heart I could give you just one more hug. I wouldn’t even care if you licked my nose and breathed your doggy breath in my face.

Standing in our yard, I picture you leaping into the big old tree and climbing high, looking for cats or birds or just a good perch to jump down from and startle an unsuspecting visitor. I watch your stubbly tail wagging as you poke your head thru the gate beneath the Beware of Dog sign and lick a little kid’s sticky hands. I feel the breeze whoosh by my legs as you tear past with a stuffed animal – trailing fluffy white ‘guts’ across the yard as you spin around with the joy of it all.
 I think of the times that old Tom waited for you behind the kitchen door, swatting your nose with his paw when you poked your head inside. You ended up as old friends, lying in piles of autumn leaves together or sitting up in the tree. I know you missed him when he was gone.
Holidays were great with you around, it was so fun at Christmas, watching you tear open presents and wear bows on your head. And remember the Mother's Day pedicure? You brought out the silly in me when I needed it.
 How many times did I dress you up for Halloween? You’d hold so still for a photo in your doggie Superman cape, or my cowgirl hat, or motorcycle scarf and cap. Even the Barbie wig and sparkly necklaces lasted a long enough for a pictures…then off you ran, trailing pink beads down the driveway.

I’m laughing as I remember how you always cheated when we raced. You would take off running at “Get Set” and never wait till “Go!” I think that’s a good way to live. Just take off, don’t wait for someone else to decide when you should go. I’m glad we had so much time together. I’ll miss watching you sleep, your feet chasing after an imaginary rabbit and the little yips of excitement as you dreamed. You could do a ton of tricks, and always found me when we played hide and seek, even when I was in the bathtub. I will probably cry every time the ice cream man comes down the road, remembering how you’d watch for him and prance around while Papa bought you a Sundae bar of your own. Was it thirteen years ago I sat with you in my lap, comforting you on New Year’s Eve when the noisy celebration scared you? Falling asleep together, sitting propped against the washing machine on the back porch till three in the morning.

You were always there to bring in the mail, or the kitchen trash can, or just carry something around for the fun of it. You sure loved leftovers, didn’t you? You could open a carton with ease and everyone who visited knew to bring you a doggy bag. Bet you’re the only dog that knew how to recycle his empty French fry container!

I loved coming home and finding you up in Papa’s lap, both of you sitting outside in the back yard, soaking up the sun.

 I can’t imagine not seeing you waiting at the back gate in the morning, butt wiggling, mouth full of kibble that you would toss to the ground, an offering that never failed to touch my heart. You were a comfort when I was hurting, an inspiration when I needed cheering up and a friend always and forever. I hope you find adventure where you are, birds to climb trees for, rabbits to chase and the memory of a girl who loved you to keep in your angel heart.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Out There

It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not.  Unknown
Read it again. Powerful, isn't it?
I've come to the point in my creative endeavors where I have to do that most terrifying of acts: Share--with strangers.
See, one day you realize you have a story, a book, a photograph that is as polished as a shiny red apple and ready to give to the teacher. Your mom loves it. Your husband loves it. Your granny loves it. But sending it off into the world of chew-em-up-spit-em-out publishers? Out there? Scary. So many times in my life I've stopped right here. Fear of rejection? Fear of attention? Maybe even fear of sucess? The truth is in the quote above. I've never thought of myself as a"Writer" or "Photographer".  It is difficult for me to claim when someone asks what I 'do'. Yet, when I occasionally dredge up the courage to say it, I am bombarded with enthusiasm and interest. If I could bottle that positive feedback, it would be awesome. I'd take a swig every time I hesitate over that "submit now" button. 
Here's the interesting thing. I was working on this blog before going out of town this morning. This evening, as I decided to complete and post it, I noticed an email from  the magazine I daringly submitted a short story to a couple months ago. Heart pounding, I opened it.  "Sorry, not what we're looking for." Rejected. I waited for it to hit me--the crushing weight of failure, the depression, the need for a gallon of coffee ice cream. Hmmmm. Nothing. Hey! It didn't feel that bad after all. Tomorrow I'll send it out again.  And the ice cream can just hang out in the freezer until I have something to celebrate. 'Cuz I'm a Writer and a Photographer, and we never give up on following our dream.

"Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth."
Katherine Mansfield, Writer, 1888-1923