The last time I felt *this blocked* in terms of writing was in 2009, when I was just coming down off of several years of dealing with addiction in one of my kids. There were several things at play – the stories weren’t mine to tell, I didn’t know how to talk about how was feeling without feeling like a big fat whiner, I had no idea how to navigate what I was experiencing in my usual way (blogging/writing) while respecting the privacy of my kid, and I was emotionally exhausted. Thankfully, I found art journaling, and I was, eventually, able to crawl my way out of writer’s block through that gorgeous new tool in my tool box of “ways to deal”.

I still have art journaling, and it is still everything I hoped it would be, It keeps me in the flow of creative expression. It is a way for me to meet myself on the page, to deal with stuff, to investigate what’s going on in my inner landscape.

But I am, once again, having difficulty writing. Blogs. Newsletters. Poems. Even my written journals, as private as they are, are suffering from dusty covers and lack of attention. All my stories seem inextricably linked with other people, and talking about it all is just not comfortable. Yes, I have the right to talk about how it is impacting me, but there is no way to talk to you about how it’s impacting me without talking about the backstory.

Rock & hard place. Check & mate.

I was talking with the lovely Lisa yesterday, and I laughed (a bit hysterically) over how difficult I’m finding it to craft a newsletter these days. For those of you who don’t run your own business, I’ll let you in on a little secret – your newsletter is everything. If you aren’t sending a newsletter, you aren’t selling your stuff, and if you aren’t selling your stuff, and like me, you don’t have a nice comfy second income to rely on or a partner to catch you when you fall apart, you don’t eat. You don’t pay your rent. You are hooped. Screwed. Fuxored. No list, no tacos. Hence the hysteria in my voice as I said:

“What am I going to say? Life is hard, and a lot of it sucks balls, WAH WAH, and I can’t really talk about any of it but hey. I’m mostly okay, I guess. *Shrug* Oh, and BUY MY STUFF!”

Heh.

After some thinking and journaling and other forms of personal work, I realized that what I most need right now is to be in service in areas of my life wherein I feel like I actually have some kind of positive impact. I want to do something useful. I want to hone in and focus on those areas of my life where I *do* feel like I have some modicum of control.

This is one of those spaces. My newsletter is another.

After consulting with my tribe on Facebook, I’ve come up with a way that I can stay in touch with you without feeling like all I ever do is say “Hey! How ya doing? I’m hanging in there, barely, but hanging in. OH AND BUY MY STUFF.”  I could skip the personal stuff altogether, and just say HEY BUY MY STUFF, but, I get those emails, and I know we’re all subscribed to the same lists, so I know you get them, too. I admit that I don’t mind them so much because I’m in business for myself, so I get it, AND I don’t have a whole lot of time and attention to give to much more than the headline, but when it comes to my own dispatches from the dark heart of my studio, I like to do things a little bit differently. I like to ensure that a) every opportunity I have to connect with you includes something personal – because we are in this together, and I know you care – and also b) that every opportunity we have to connect is a two way street.  I already do this to some degree. Every single newsletter I send out includes an invitation to hit reply and tell me how YOU’RE doing. I love those replies, and I read every one. I cherish the warmth with which you receive me in your inbox. I love that you hear me, and in response, share your own stories.

I want it to be more, however. I want to serve you more directly, and because I am finding it absolutely impossible to talk about my private life, I want to open up this space, in partnership with my newsletter, as a place where you can ask anything you like, and I will answer in as much depth as I am able.

I want to do this once a week, which means there is no way I’ll be able to answer everyone’s questions, but I’m hoping that there is enough overlap in the line of inquiry that whatever question I answer that week will have some value for you.

So, here’s the deal.

I will send out my newsletter weekly from here on out. If I have nothing whatsoever to say about my life, that’s okay, because I will include a link in each newsletter to a post in which I answer at least one question I have in my file o’ questions. You will always, without hesitation, hit ‘reply’, and ask whatever it is that’s on your heart to ask. If I genuinely can’t answer – for example, if it is outside of my area of expertise, I will use my Googlefu and see if I can’t find a resource for you that will, at least, be a good beginning for you. If I can’t answer because the question is too personal, or would require me to talk about things I just can’t talk about right now, I will respond personally and let you know that’s the case. I know you guys, though. I know that your questions will be well thought out. I know that you will respect my privacy as I navigate the waters I must currently navigate, so I feel absolutely no trepidation as I extend this invitation.

Sign up for the newsletter. Hit reply. Ask away, and I will do my best to answer.

Dispatches will go out every Tuesday from here on out. Every dispatch will include the usual BUY MY STUFF invitation that is necessary to my livelihood, but it will also include a link back here, where I’ll answer away in as much depth as I can.

In Other News

In case you were wondering, you are not the only one that creates things you hate. I’ve been struggling lately with imposter syndrome, and everything I touch seems to turn to crap. I know that it’s a mirror into my own muddled internal landscape, so I’m being gentle and kind with my inner artist about it, but she keeps producing stuff like this:

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And while I know some of you will love this, and think it’s gorgeous, this isn’t working for me. The palette is all off, and the background is too busy. It took three hours to make, and while I *tried* to love it, I just couldn’t. Just. Could. Not. Even.

I won’t even show you the catastrophe that happened when I tried to use a chipboard book as a journal. Nope. Some things are not meant to be shared, and that monstrosity is one of them.

This happens, though. It happens to all of us. I like to tell myself that it means I’m on a growing edge (which is true). I like to think that I’ll struggle a bit to reclaim my voice from the quagmire that is LIFE RIGHT NOW and I will go back to feeling really good about the things I make, but in the meantime, I wanted you to know: I struggle, too. I get blocked, too. Motivation is sometimes hard for me, too. And I do not always fall head over heels with everything I make.

Confession is good for the soul.

And just so that I don’t leave that eyesore all alone up there with no remedy, I’ll share this:

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I LOVE this. It started as a blind contour drawing, as taught by Erin Faith Allen in Metamorph, and became this astonishing spread. It makes me drool. I want to kiss it and hug it and call it George.

So, there’s hope. Always.

Love you,

Effy

P.S. Sign up for the newsletter. :)

P.S. Again: BUY MY STUFF

 

 

 

Before You Go

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P.S. If you believe white privilege isn't a thing, that we are a post racist society, that 'the wall' is a good idea, that artists should shut up about social justice and stick with posting pretty things, or that gay people are going to hell, please don't join this list. I'm definitely *not* going to be your cup of tea. Thank you!

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