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Sorry I couldn’t think of a better title! I am done with the art book questions that I was posting from. The rest of the questions and things to do in there have to do with coming up with a business plan for my art which I currently don’t have the mental energy for right now!

But a new book I began three weeks ago is called “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.

I didn’t look at it too closely when I picked it up at the library. Also, if I want to finish it, I’ll probably have to end up buying it since it is a 12 week course in recovering your “artist self.” But I honestly had no idea it had to do with “issues” that many recovery programs have to deal with. UGH! I’ve been through all of that already. But unbeknownst to me, I think I needed a refresher course and didn’t realize it. For instance, there are some things she says to do that I have been doing which are helpful. But this week she says not to read for a whole week! Sorry! Not gonna happen! I guess it is so a person can get more in touch with their senses?? So I’m just doing the other stuff in the chapter. I read a lot, and I could never just NOT read! So instead of criticizing her methods of recovery, I am picking and choosing what I want to do. The daily journaling which she calls “Morning Pages” is helpful. I had stopped journaling for awhile, so it is nice to be back at it. It helps me keep things in perspective. The other thing she says to do is go on an “Artist Date” once a week. That’s working out well, because my kids are doing a gaming day with their friends in town once a week, so that is the day I do my artist date, too. Also, it is on Tuesdays which is the same day I was already having a day out for myself during the school year. 🙂

So here’s a little more of my background that you may or may not know. I honestly hate talking about this stuff, but it’s where I’m at right now, and if it helps someone, GREAT! I went to a 12-step group for years when I first quit drinking and doing drugs in 1987. Well, actually, I didn’t go right away. I started about a year and a half later when I realized I wanted to go to counseling. My counselor at the time encouraged me to go to one since at that time I was still married to a very active alcoholic, and we were still hanging around with the same friends.

I began going to church that year, because God called me to Himself to save my soul. But of course that decision also created conflict with my first husband. I kept going anyway; I enjoyed it. Then I found a 12-step group that was for Adult Children of Alcoholics since most of my problems stemmed from being raised by an alcoholic dad and a co-dependent mom. Wow, did that set me on the very painful road to healing! I stayed in that group for a year or so, but being in church at the same time and growing spiritually, I felt I was receiving more healing there than in the ACA group, so I left the group. I tired of hearing people talk about the same things and people in their lives but not seem to be trying to make changes in themselves or their lives. It felt like listening to all the unfruitful complaining in my home of origin. I began to feel suffocated. Leaving the group was one of the best decisions I made at that time. I also stopped counseling for awhile, because at the time my counselor was a woman, and I never felt I could fully trust her. I always thought that was strange since most of my issues had to do with men! But I soon discovered why, and I won’t go into it. Another day, another post perhaps!

In about 1989 or so a full-time counselor came onto the staff of the church I was attending. By that time I knew I needed help working through some tough stuff that was coming up for me emotionally. I stayed in counseling with Bert on a regular basis until about 1993. Then I met my husband I’m married to now, and I began going back every week for a couple of years. I was terrified of a new relationship. I wasn’t sure I ever really wanted to marry again. But when we began dating, and we became serious, I asked him if he would go to counseling with me. He did and with no hesitation which amazed me. Bert loved him, and he thought we were developing a healthy relationship. My husband worked through a lot of my crap with me.

He is still working through my crap with me. After almost 20 years of marriage, having two teens in the house now, and seeing changes peeking around the corner when the kids begin college, and his retirement is looming on the horizon, I am suddenly feeling terrified again! We also have other changes that are coming in about a year that I’m not sure I’m going to like, but I think our lifestyle may change quite a bit. Hopefully, it won’t be as stressful as I am anticipating, though. I hope it will be for the better.

I guess that’s what this is all about. I really hate certain changes, especially ones I have no control over! Trying to get my art out there for others to hopefully buy is a desire that is getting pushed to the back burner for me now. Fear of rejection? Yeah, I admit I have that. It’s how I felt during the art show when people just glanced at my work and kept going, not even commenting on anything! I honestly wasn’t expecting a lot that day, but I was hopeful that it would be a better experience than it was. However, there were much more experienced artists there who are well-known and selling their work. I am just not sure I want to even try to do things that way now. A guy I met said he’s gotten work just from having some of his pieces hanging in certain places, not necessarily galleries. But he has his contact information along with it, and people call him to inquire about commissions. I think that is what I may try. So that means I have to pick what I think is my best work and take them with me to some places. A guy at church gave me a business card of a bed and breakfast place nearby that is run by a nice lady. He said she might be interested in hanging some work there, but he wasn’t sure. I never called her this week, though, because I got preoccupied with this recovery crap!

Okay, it isn’t crap, but it feels like crap! 😉 I just haven’t thought about some of the habits I’ve fallen into as not being so great for me. Well, that’s not exactly true; I’ve thought about it, but haven’t done anything about changing them! So facing these issues has stirred up feelings I have not wanted to feel and issues I have not wanted to deal with, but it’s time. I feel stagnate in my growth these days, and that is not a good place for me to be.

I may or may not share some of my journey with you, but all I know is I have to get back to drawing and painting again, because it helps me channel all this negative energy into something positive. Hopefully, I’ll have something new to show you soon! Obviously, I needed to write on my blog sooner than I thought I would need to. Also, I have started my first sea turtle story, but am not sure where that is going or how long I want it to be. Just pray I finish it! I want to illustrate it, too, but I’m not great at drawing people on a real small scale, so I’m not sure how that will go! But since it is Saturday now, I think I need to get to work!

Give someone you love a big hug, and have a wonderful day! 🙂

Russell Deasly’s “Tips for Bloggers…”

This is probably what my dog, Brownie, would do! 😉

Dog bloggers

I was reading Russell Deasly’s “Tips for Bloggers, The World’s 100 Best Tips for Bloggers” this morning, and this one stood out to me.

Tip (7) = My tip is to do what I am doing today. Spend some time looking at other blogs, liking and READING other people’s posts, commenting when it moves you. Then have a look at the blog directory widgets or links that people have. Are you listed? If not, then spend a bit of time adding your site and the reciprocal link. One of my earlier posts resulted in someone reposting me to their site (, and since then we have become reciprocal fans. I send him traffic, he sends me traffic. We appreciate each other’s efforts. To me, that is the key. Networking with real people. Sincerely. That is how you get long-term readership, and friends.

I never thought that I could make the nice friends that I have from blogging. But to really hear feedback about my thoughts and my artwork has been truly inspiring to me. It is not a matter of how many followers I have or how many people read my posts, but just the fact that anyone is doing this is great! I find all the people’s blogs whom I follow unique, lovely, and just fun. Thanks for all of your support everyone!

Tantalizing Tuesdays


Tuesdays are becoming my favorite day of the week now. I get to drop my kids off for their Latin class that lasts three hours. Then I head to Barnes and Noble to sit and have coffee (sometimes a pastry, too) and get out my notebook that has my autobiography in it. Everything I’ve written so far is printed out from our computer. But I have a section of notebook paper for the new stuff I work on while I’m at the bookstore. Sometimes it takes me awhile to get started; I have to sit and think first unless I have already thought ahead of time about where I want to take my story. So that’s when I just watch people. Yesterday I even took a sketch pad and pencils and made a sketch of a mother and daughter.

I’ve noticed that on Tuesday mornings there are usually a lot of senior citizens there. Sometimes they are alone or there’s a pair of ladies, and yesterday there was a group of about four men. They sat at a table behind me. After a couple of minutes I heard one of them say, “Patsy!” I turned around thinking, I don’t know any of these guys! I smiled and the man who had spoken said, “I only know one other person who goes by that name. She’s my daughter!” I said, “Yeah, and my name isn’t short for Patricia or anything. It’s just the name my mom gave me. And she always told me to never go by Pat. But I wouldn’t want to anyway.” He laughed and said it was a good name. I thanked him.

I turned around smiling and sat and listened to their chatter. I don’t remember everything they were talking about, but I know they started talking about mixed alcoholic drinks. Okay. Then I realized that all the talking around me was distracting me anyway. I hadn’t really gotten started writing at that point yet, so I got out my iPod and earphones and plugged in. Sometimes I hate doing that, because it feels “unsociable” to me. In fact I don’t really like it when I am driving the kids around with my music playing and each of them are plugged in to their own iPods! But such as it is, that’s what happens most of the time. That’s not to say we don’t talk some; we do. Just not as much as we used to.

Before we started homeschooling eight years ago, I used to drive them to a private school. Our drive takes about 45 minutes. Back then they both sat in the back seat; they were too small to ride in the front seat. But undoubtedly they would always be smacking at each other or teasing each other or sometimes Josh would be reading a book out loud to Grace (she was only three, and he could already read simple books.) Those were such precious times. They are 14 and 16 now. Where has the time gone?

Sometimes I think about that year Josh was in Kindergarten when I’m at Barnes and Noble on Tuesdays. I remember all the times I would drop him off at school and Grace and I would head over there to hang out for a bit. Now I look around at women or men who bring their little ones in there to read or let them play at the train table in the children’s department. I feel nostalgic on those days. However, most of the time I really enjoy my time alone. I even struggle with guilt that I don’t ask a friend to meet me there or try to make new friends. When the kids were little, I used to dream of these days on those really bad days that we had at times. Now, though, all I have is my memories. And I’m happy to say most of them are wonderful. Memories of baking cookies in the middle of the day while they read quietly to themselves. Putting on a Veggie Tales video so I could lay down for a few minutes to rest. Going for walks in our quiet neighborhood and gathering fallen leaves on a crisp Fall day. Looking for bugs outside for science or raising butterflies to let go when they were ready to fly. Teaching them both to read is among my very best memories. They both love to read to this day. That is a gift I received back from my teaching.

We had the opportunity to spend so much time together that we are all very close now. I like to think we always will be. But the greatest gift our homeschooling experience has given me is the relationship that has developed between the two of them. They tell each other things they don’t even tell me! But that’s okay. They have the kind of relationship I always wanted to have with my brothers. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me. So their relationship with one another is one of the hugest blessings God has given me in my life.

It’s amazing how being alone in a public place can be so tantalizing to the senses! Barnes and Noble is one of my favorite hangouts for being alone. But even when I am alone, I never really am. God is always with me reminding me of all the blessings He has given me. And my memories are always there to keep me company.

So I would encourage you that whenever you begin to feel bummed out, down or discouraged, just think about all of the things you can be thankful for. And you may be looking up in no time!

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Melanie Franz

Artist. Children's Book Illustrator. Visual Storyteller.

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