Note from Marzipan: Good morning! Today you all get an extra special treat – a guest post from my mother, the love artist. I asked her to post here to get a little well deserved attention for the kickstarter campaign that she’s created in an effort to finish her memoir. I assure you, she is deeply talented, and I thought that her experience of putting herself out there to pursue her art was something that would resonate for many of us.
I am a flamboyant person. I repeatedly make the large gesture. Of course, I don’t see myself that way ~ a serious, shy child prone to fantasy, a serious introvert who spends a lot of time alone ~ but I am seen as someone larger than life. I guess I just can’t help it. From birth, I felt an urgency to reach out, to tell the truth, to share my story . . . even if it hurt, even if it scared other people, even if it got that far under their skin.
I am currently in the midst of synthesizing at least 3 separate memoirs into a novel. This is pretty much a life work. Definitely the last 10 years. I decided, a little bit before the New Year that I would make my own writer’s retreat to finish the book, at least get a honed, workable draft so I could move past a personal hurdle: getting it to an agent, asking to be taken very, very seriously. I have been published a bunch of places: magazines, journals, anthologies ~ mostly waiting to be asked by my generous writing friends, playing it shy ~ because I actually felt that way, believe it or not ~ not being able to ask for that kind of attention. Feeling guilty for taking my place at this table I felt so continuously, and borderline excessively, drawn to.
I got the great idea, from a friend, to throw myself a little Kickstarter campaign to be able to afford the time to do this. For those of you who don’t know what Kickstarter is, it’s a “crowd-funding” website, where anyone can contribute just about anything (starting at $1) to an artist’s project, a way for the many of us to fund each other’s dream. I launched my campaign on January 2. It currently has 3 more days. If the entire goal is not reached, the project isn’t funded. It’s been a roller coaster.
The real roller coaster has been this: I didn’t realize when I made my little video & put up my chapter excerpts that I was launching a huge prayer and, NOT ONLY THAT, but that I was opening myself to a little psychological surgery, some of the more excrutiating kind, the kind that cuts to the bone, the kind that hurts. I got myself a little hate mail, just a little bit here & there, the kind that said “How dare you ask for time for a deeper process?” “It sounds a tad self-indulgent don’t you think?” “It is unseemly to ask for money on Facebook,” among other things.
Whoa . . . I mean nobody likes hate mail and it is not surprising that it stung, but it was surprising how much I took it to heart. I hate admitting that. As an old boyfriend used to say, when I said mean things to or about myself, “Whose voice is that?” I am so grateful (to myself most of all) that I had the resources to shake myself out of that self-deprecating trance, even though it was crazy hard, and pick myself up by the proverbial bootstraps and march myself BACK to the computer and, not send hate mail back, thankfully, but write personal email after personal email to all the people I have loved and supported through the years, to all the people who have believed in me, to all the little tendrils of connection. I spent time on Facebook, just flipping through profiles, looking at pictures of friends who were attempting large and small miracles of their own and sending love. I even pledged a few dollars here and there to other Kickstarter campaigns. I couldn’t help myself.
I have spent my whole life LIVING a certain truth ~ that I am an artist. I have sacrificed a lot of security and comfort in this belief. As I said before, I couldn’t help myself. I have a hard time ignoring my heart and I knew in my heart that this was my best, most authentic voice. My family, my children have also felt these sacrifices. I was going to say that they ‘suffered’ these sacrifices but no, that is the old ‘how dare you voice’ speaking. My girls are all strong, vibrant, educated, beautiful, opinionated vessels of love operating to great effect in the world. Gorgeous.
The other night I was at a dinner for a collective of female poets, many of them well-published, many of them with university jobs. We were there to help each other, to support each other when the process is hard, when we are afraid, when money issues creep up and we can’t write. I spoke of my Kickstarter campaign and the doubt I allowed to seep in when I heard the (okay, the very few) complaints. A woman stood up and said to me, in the most authoritative, no bullshit voice , “Above all, you must remain an artist.”
I know this work is my best gift to you. Absolute. Word. Take a minute. Do what you must. I am doing what I must and I believe in each and every one of you.
Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.
If you are interested, you can read excerpts from the Memoir and check out the kickstarter campaign here – there are a couple of awesome new perks in the updates. I would be extremely grateful if you shared this with your online communities. xo