Monday, October 30, 2006

Houston Quilt Market

Here are a few of the Dick & Jane designs I created.

I have been so busy! I just returned last night from the International Quilt Market in Houston. It's a huge wholesale trade show event of the year for quilt shops and other quilt and fabric business people from all over the world.

There was an estimated fifty-thousand people roaming around nudging one another, elbow-to-elbow, viewing the newest and latest quilts and fabric.

I really enjoyed my time there. I also happily bonded more with the folks in the New York City office who I met and worked with last month. That was a treat in itself. Getting to know them on a more personal level outside of the office. They are all such wonderful folks and I felt as though I have known them for a much longer time.

And besides that, it was particularly fun for me because my own fabric pattern designs were being showcased. It was so encouraging to see the company I work for being so well-known and so popular at the Quilt Show. I felt so proud to be a part of them. It was a dream come true for both of us. They got the license for Dick and Jane and I got to put it all together. It was fun taking the artwork and recreating it into something new and then finding it later being transformed onto fabric.

I so hope it is a success for them.

It was an amazing show. I found it inspiring to see so much talent and creativity under one gigantic roof. It didn't feel overwhelming. It felt very comfortable. Though I felt a bit out-of-place among quilters ... (I don't sew or knit)... I did feel in-step with the pattern designers. And as I looked from one end of the George R Brown Convention to the other end ... through all the many people down the long aisles, I thought, "I am exactly where I am supposed to be right at this moment."

I really believe that.

I know I have said that before, but it's like a boomerang. This belief doesn't wander far from my thoughts. It keeps returning to me over and over again. That I am at the right place in my life. And that feels really good.

Tonight, I am feeling ultra creative. Here it comes again. The vague feeling that I'm about to embark on some really wonderful creativeness. For a large amount of the day, I felt as though I was sitting in a waiting room, waiting for this incredible idea to erupt forth. My thoughts are swirling around inside my head at a very fast pace, yet hardly visible and just beyond my reach. I can't keep up with it. I want to quiet myself long enough to explore what's there so I can grab it when I see it. But alas... there is housework to do and my suitcase to unpack and bills to be paid and ringing phones to answer and I'm enormously tired and Halloween is here and there is not enough time in the day to be still and invent my creation.

Obligations have made me feel so guilty until a quiet voice inside me said, "You are doing enough."

I am doing enough. I am doing all I can. I am doing the best I can. And I need to believe in that voice. I want to believe in that voice because I want to trust myself, my intuition, my spirit, my creative side and the power of my thoughts.

The time to create will come when it is ready to come.

So tomorrow when I awake, I will just keep my regular pace and believe in the dream.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The leaves are turning

I love this time of year. The temperatures soar near the 90 degree mark and I love having picnics in the wine country. I spend most of my weekends here. Taking in the sunlight because I know in another week we will have less of it.

This weekend, I didn't have anything planned, which was a nice surprise. I trimmed tree branches, mowed the lawn and pulled weeds. I went on outdoor picnics both days and stared out onto endless vineyards, listening to laughter of others who had the same idea of relaxing picnics in the wine country.

This is my home.

Its so beautiful this time of year. And, all I want to do is be outside in it. So. Off I go.

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air." ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Don't be so hard on yourself

If you made a mistake today. Or you're feeling like a failure of sorts, please don't. We all make mistakes at one time or another. Things don't always happen the way we have dreamed them to be. Even pyschics get it wrong some times.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Charles Schulz

I adored Charles Schulz. Did you know that precious, unassuming man always had his personal phone number listed in the telephone book?

For five years, I lived in an upstairs apartment drawing every day about my life and feelings and insecurities and daydreaming of becoming a comic strip artist. I would be drawing and then stop and look out my window and send my wishes and hopes and dreams across the park and roof tops. Never knowing, that one of those roof tops I stared at was the roof top of Charles Schulz's art studio!

He and I lived in the same town and it wasn't unusual to see him out and about from time to time. But there was a moment, where our lives crossed and I will never forget it for as long as I live.

I was in a book store flipping through some Calvin and Hobbes comic books, when he gently tapped me on my shoulder and suggested I buy a Peanuts book instead. I looked over at him, gasping, recognized him instantly.. blurting out, "Hi Mr. Browwwn!"

I was wearing a t-shirt with my own comic strip on the front and pointed it out to him, saying he was my inspiration. And being so nervous, I jumbled up my words and expressed I wanted to become a comic stripper because of him.

He smiled and seemed to connect with me and invited me to his studio a few days later.

It was a dream come true.

He gave me a tour and showed me his latest strip he was drawing. He pulled out an unknown, not-yet-published Mutt's comic strip and said, "Patrick McDonnell will have the best strip out there" and I felt warmed that I was seeing all this before it went to print.

He spent a great deal of time looking through my comics and spoke kind and hopeful words to me about them and offered suggestions. Though I arrived there in such a cloak of vulnerability, his kindness wrapped a woolen blanket around me and warmed me to the bone. I believe he recognized parts of me in him and felt a kindred spirit between us.

He personally sent my rough comics out to his syndicate. He even called me a few times. Left messages on my answering machine that I still have on cassette tape. He wrote a couple of notes to me of encouragement. Gave me an autographed book called 40 Years of Life and Art. And, if I wasn't so bashful and if I believed in myself more, who knows what would have happened with my comic career with the help of Charles Schulz? I know he wanted to help me. That's the way he was.

I certainly don't have any regrets today of what happened then, because I'm exactly where I want to be, and I no longer carry the same dream of drawing a comic strip as I once did.

When he died, my heart broke. I went to his Memorial Service and sat up on the left-hand-side of the balcony and cried my eyes out. Santa Rosa felt more empty.


About a year after his death, I was showing a friend his studio.
"I don't think this is a good idea, Shawn", she said.

"Oh, c'mon. We'll just peek in the windows."

I pulled into the driveway at One Snoopy Place and the electronic doors swung open and let us through. We parked near the front door and peered into the windows and his studio still looked just like it did when he was alive. I was thrilled!

"Look over there! That's his drawing table!" I shrieked, pecking the window with my finger.

My friend was still nervous, looking around. "Isn't this private property? I think we should leave now..." she said.

And as we got into the car to drive out, the electronic doors didn't open for us.

We were locked inside the gate!

We called Security. They couldn't help us. Their contract ended two weeks earlier and they didn't know who had the code or key to let us out.

It became dark and cold and we sat in my car with my engine and heater on to keep us warm while my friend had that look of "I told you so" on her face.

After a couple of hours, headlights from an oncoming car blinded us for a moment as it drove up through the electronic gates and they opened for us. I darted out as quickly as possible never looking into the oncoming car. I'm sure if I did, I would have seen a face of an angel.

Back at home, she and I talked about our experience of being trapped inside, but it wasn't a scary experience.

We actually felt comforted and safe being there locked inside the gates. Which isn't surprising, really.

Because he was comfortable and safe.

And the world is different without him in it.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Rewriting Burt's autograph

I'm just a kid spending the weekend at Napa's Silverado Country Club when I glance up from collecting lost golf balls when I see this mustached man who recently caused a stir, posing nearly nude in a centerfold. I feel dizzy seeing him in real life. He and his girlfriend, Dinah Shore are chatting with James Brolin about appaloosas when I asked him for his autograph.

I am giddy with excitement when he scribbles his name down for me, but am horrified by what I see. His name isn't legible at all. The kids in school won't believe that I actually got his autograph!

In my childhood brilliance, I rewrite his name over and over again until I write the way I imagine his signature to look. I carry his autograph inside a sandwich baggy to protect it on my way to school to show my friends. They stand around the tetherball pole staring at his neat penmanship with envy while his real autograph is wadded up in a heap of rubble inside the garbage can.