28 November 2010


Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. A quick Skype phone call home on the big day to listen to the familiar cheer of my family setting out to eat and then walk, or nap off, my favorite meal of the year.

The cliche pops up before I can stop it: There are no words to describe....  how it feels to long for home.

Is there something you long for that seems to be out of reach sometimes?

This has been a year of learning curves, so I am grateful for you. Grateful for needs met, for the power of and energy of common causes like #girleffect. Grateful for the chance to explore and ask questions, define and redefine, for conversations and simple pleasures.


16 November 2010

The Girl Effect

At 12 years old, I was writing stories and poetry, illustrating my notebooks with doodles. I was thinking about my first crush and spending hours alone daydreaming. I never had to think about birthing a baby once I hit menstruation, raising a child through my teen years, nor not being able to attend school. I had choices. My family encouraged my independence. 

I'm a mother to a two-year-old girl. A lot of the time I think about how important it is that I just stay alive for her, that I don't die before I am forty like my mother. I delight in her joy, her freedom, her exploratory curiosity.

Sometimes I don't know when to speak up. Speaking up takes courage. Sometimes I don't know when to wait and let something pass. Knowing when to stay quiet takes authenticity. This past February, I wrote about Medine Memi, the young girl buried alive in Kahta, Turkey, and the female Turkish writers and journalists who combat honor killings through their words and questions. 

Keeping girls and women in the center.  Not looking away even when it is tough, and finding solutions. 

That's how I envision The Girl Effect. And I'm proud to be part of Tara Sophia Mohr's The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign

Authenticity and courage, two words kari m. said applied to my blog yesterday. After all the voice lessons, worries over the language of mothering, and awkwardness of standing out as a foreigner abroad, authenticity and courage seem something I aspire to. The fact that I can aspire, though, is a result of the fostering of independence that I was raised to believe was my right.

I only want the same for every other girl in the world.

>>There are now more than 40+ other bloggers in Tara Sophia Mohr‘s Girl Effect blogging campaign. You can add your own blog post and follow #girleffect tweets on Twitter to join in!<< 

12 November 2010

Essential words & Quiet drawings

Paintings take up wall and storage space. Image files, as I discovered this week haunting my backup files, take up vast amounts of virtual space. Years of making paintings, illustrations, and drawings, and I have thousands of images stored.  Originals. Duplicates. Different scales and formats.

I'm aware of the outpouring of images I have to share vs. the amount of words that will fill the 'Writer' pages of my revamped website. For art, there are slide shows options and collections of visual projects. I write every day, but such a small percentage of it surfaces. Writing files and folders multiply as I add lines and paragraphs here and there like I would shade a drawing. All those words to reveal just the most essential few. 

Is there something you quietly pursue knowing it will take shape later?

A fantastic conversation with Maggie Sutrov in Maui will be making it's way to my Art is Dialogue podcast soon. Sometimes a conversation is the best way to bring those sketched out, typed out ideas to life. Enjoy her lovely quiet drawings in Markings, her live, hand-illustrated story.

Markings: Of drawing, horses, and art from our earliest times.
by Maggie T. Sutrov

05 November 2010

Learning curve

Several times a year I take on projects that are more than I can handle. I make sure that they are outside of my area of expertise, and keep me up late at night problem solving. Like writing a book in August and revising it while redoing my website and this blog at the same time.

My dreams as of late have been preceded by images of navigation bars, widgets, and CSS code, or snatches of dialogue from a story that I feel is emerging slowly compared to the gusto with which it was born over the summer.

In order to make myself feel better and ensure more procrastination, I downloaded these fantastic essential (free!) story outlining worksheets and checklists from Karen S. Wiesner's From First Draft to Finished Novel and am printing all 50 pages. The sound of the printer is soothing, and it offsets my guilt about paper and trees and all the ink I'm wasting. Not to mention the printer I have uses cartridges only available in the US, so it requires serious finagling to refill them.

A new job teaching (screaming!) English to grade school and middle school kids has me way out of my comfort zone, too.

Are there projects you take on that you know are worth the steep learning curve?