Photography. Something that I must always do, along with writing.
The thing is, I want to write creatively, but sometimes it’s really hard to think about writing a novel or a short story – especially when I’ve started writing, photographing, teaching and doing admin stuff full time, plus tutoring, trying to write freelance articles and keep up with this here blog.
It’s utterly and sweetly fulfilling. Y’all I’m deliriously happy.
Soy feliz. Con muchos sueños.
Sometimes my creative juices flow out and I need to refill the reservoir, though, and the brain power to try to sit down to an epic novel just doesn’t happen.
It’s all about balance, and that is a never-ending process.
I was saying all this to Melanie when she said, “I’ve got it! Do your photography and put stories and/or poems to your images.”
Aw, nuts. Why didn’t I think of that? But Melanie, thank you for the idea.
With that, I’ve been working on my Zazzle store. For the past few weeks, in fact.
Interestingly, it’s a lot like writing freelance articles: you research keywords, post a product, and leave it.
Would you believe I have continued to have sales, even though I hadn’t updated my store since sometime last year?
That’s a powerful motivator: when something you did before still makes money.
But, there was a part of me that was like, well, I have a few hundred products. How many does it take to make something besides a few dollars?
I have no idea. A lot. I’m thinking at least 10,000 before you start to see some real income.
Lots of Zazzle Products
But, in the interim, Zazzle has added SO MANY new and fun products.
Remember that poll from last week? The most popular one was the “Seashells on the Beach.”
I spent the better part of this June summer day creating products with that image.
And, I came up with a poem to go with it.
Here’s the background:
I really was walking on the beach one afternoon with husby. I had my camera with me and started taking photos, as I’m won’t to do.
But, after 12.5 years, I’m still hopelessly in love.
Our beach trips always serve as a way to center ourselves and regroup.
And inspire both of us.
A Love Poem
Finding that perfect seashell is one in a million
Just as I have found you.
Waves of water rush over my heart
Waxing love, my blood pulses vermilion.
Sweet nothings I whisper in your ear,
Like seashells that carry ocean sounds,
Words of love fill our hearts,
Whisperings of bliss – do you hear?
Sunrises and sunsets, we live them together,
Shared hearts and minds grow as one.
Like the sea shell in beautiful colors and hues,
You, like they, are my treasure.
With that poem, I made a greeting card and even a wine gift box:
Yes, I spent the last week at the Outer Banks. I didn’t even (gasp!) bring my laptop with me. (Well, given that my laptop I brought last year promptly died after being at the beach….) I went on a technology-fast because, really, after working on a computer for most of my days all day, I wanted to give my eyes and brain a rest.
I like to do this at least once a year – or, well, I’m making it a tradition to now do technology-fasts. But, I DO try to take a beach vacation once a year. For a girl who was born and raised in the mountains, the ocean is a nice departure from “lo normal” (or, that which is normal, as the English translation).
Though I’ve started a new job, it’s not going to keep me from writing or photography.
I bought a special notebook just for the beach because I knew I’d be doing some writing.
It led me to think the following:
1. I need to keep writing articles for HubPages. It is the one place that I can write about Spanish stuff, teaching, use my photography skills, art skills, and much more.
2. But, I also need to diversify. What if HubPages went kaput or something else happened? Yes, well, that means I have to keep posting my photography on Zazzle. Oh, darn. I have to be creative. Did you see that postcard up there? 😉
3. I need to plow forward with creative writing. It’s an outlet. And practice for my memoir. One day, one day I tell you, I will publish that thing…or something else. I found out you can publish short stories on Amazon. Who knew? I don’t mean books – I mean you can actually publish a tiny short story by itself. I suppose it’s not that crazy-sounding given that Amazon is a huge book marketer for all sorts of platforms. But still.
4. This one came to me this morning – yes, after getting back from the beach: I need to keep blogging here. Every time I think about ‘I should get rid of this website and do something with my own name and domain’ I find that I have new followers and I get encouragement from friends to not do such a thing. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised that, after not checking back here for the better part of two weeks, I had two new followers. I interpret that as a sign. I’m into signs, you know.
5. I need to revamp this website. The blog and design will stay. I just mean I need to add RSS feeds to my hubs again, put my Zazzle store back up, and other maintenance. I’m just going to accept the fact that I’m wacky and have a wide variety of interests and I don’t have time to maintain four specialty sites (one for my Spanish stuff, one for photography, one personal and one for writing – who am I kidding?). Welcome to Cynthia’s zone where you might find me talking in Spanish, sharing photos, hubs, or blogging about things that move me spiritually. Good luck not getting lost. 😉
And here’s a little fun for having read this far:
Here are some beach photos I snapped. Which is your favorite? The one with the most votes will become my next Zazzle product.
I was over at my friend Bill’s blog – I call him my Big Bro because our roads intersected nearly three years ago and we had many similarities in our life journeys, and he became a friend and mentor to me – and he had this quote in a recent post.
If you’ve read my blog for awhile, then you’re probably familiar with my journey of the past couple of years.
But, there’s another aspect to it: the dark and the light.
In Darkness, Look For the Light
It was June 2012. My student loans were paid off, and I wasn’t happy teaching public school. I needed creativity and autonomy in my life. I lined up another job but it wasn’t an absolute certainty. Feeling comfortable that I had a bit of savings and knowing that I usually landed on my feet, I leaped.
Each time I had leaped with my heart and not my brain (though it would reluctantly be forced along for the ride), I always ended up on an adventure far away from where I had started. Or where I intended to go.
And so it was that the “other job” fell through. A mild panic ran through my veins that day in September when I knew it was too late to try to secure any kind of academic job. I’d have to make a go of writing – I had enjoyed the autonomy and freedom of freelance writing anyways.
Until I had to do it full time, for money, and no longer “just for fun.” The computer screen, once a window of possibility, became a window of dread: of feeling like I had no choice but to chain myself to my digital prison and go for broke.
And you know what? I did go broke. My spirit felt like it broke. My logic broke. My ability to feel like I was contributing to humanity broke.
I was a directionless arrow. Broken, trampled, muddied by the challenges of life. Yes, I loved to write. But no, I couldn’t eke out any creative juices. Those juices were reserved for survival.
Not only did I not feel like I rose to the challenge, I felt like I had failed myself, my husby, my family, my society. I withdrew into myself. I didn’t go out much, feeling secure in my four walls. I had cocooned myself as if to insulate myself from the atrocities of life.
For a long time, I searched my heart, mind and spirit and finally the Universe to tell me why. Why, when I had jumped in 2012, so full of hope, did I land somewhere in 2013 with a thud? The days all served as a landing platform, but full of shards and unforgiving rocks.
I’d lost my mojo.
A Teahouse Encounter Leads to Enlightenment
Until one day at the beginning of 2014. I was sitting at a teahouse with a friend. I had been telling her that I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I’d enrolled in graduate school and I was terrified that I wouldn’t find a job. Or that I’d have to go back to teaching public school where my sensitive spirit had been crushed and drained my love of teaching…
There at the teahouse, sampling my first-ever cup of matcha, I happened to see a pile of rolled up quotes in the corner. I unraveled one.
I have no memory of what it said.
But I remember the feeling it gave me. Suddenly, I was sitting there with my friend and all my senses went on high alert. My tea went from acceptably sweet to dry and bitter. The voices of all the patrons blurred together in an endless echo of words spinning into snippets of tales hovering in the stuffy air. The dim lighting seemed to amplify into spectral brilliance.
That moment of sitting with my friend, of untying a little ribbon and unwinding a little paper quote, of watching the sky burn through the light and end in darkness – from within I felt a sense of warmth, as if my own body was generating a light.
And I knew.
I knew the reasons I had to go through what I did.
It led me to unwavering grace.
Instead of focusing on what was wrong, my focus shifted to everything that was right.
I smiled at my friend, realizing that I needed to give her a smile. As a present.
I felt a renewed sense of purpose, of knowing what I had to do: keep going. Use my gifts. Serve humanity.
Keep moving forward and things would come together.
And they did.
But my spirit had to be broken. It had to die – at least a part of it did. Perhaps my creativity did, too.
There was no funeral.
Just an awakening.
Knowing that Day of Suffering #37 + Day of Suffering #92 = Renewed purpose and direction on Day Whatchamacallit.
So I could find my light.
Hello, world. Introducing me: the girl that is changed forever.
My lesson to share? That when you’re going through hell, keep going. There really is truth to the idea that when you encounter difficulties, they’re there to mold you into a different version of the same person.
But also that you can’t be afraid to leap. You might land, or you might flounder, but all of it will make you better in the end.
I started a poem last December, right before I had experienced my own light.
Ironically, it was like a premonition.
Do you believe in premonitions?
Warrior of Light
Standing up, holding my shield,
Holding my sword and cutting across thick, turbulent fields
I am a warrior of light.
Marching to the top of the mountain,
Turning and stalking the sun,
Syncing to its wavelength, strength and motion
I am a warrior of light.
In the ugly darkness threatening to possess my soul
Tearing at my heart as tar and coal
I erect my shield, calling to the north, east, west and south,
I am a warrior of light.
When the earth is troubled and my friends are few,
And negativity pools around me like the gas of dry ice,
I remain to myself steady and true:
I am a warrior of light.
Armies of foes they stalk me, spitting and spiteful