True Belonging, and How Art will Save Us.

Dr. Brené Brown does it again! I read her book recently, "Braving the Wilderness", which made me sob several times, so I had to read it again. More tears. But it is books like this that break you open, and I had can truly saw I had a paradigm shift.

The Wilderness = The crazy world of emotions, vulnerabilty, the unknown.

She talks a lot about major themes of the book here in this youtube video.

I recommend you listen, then read her book. You will thank yourself. Basically, the juice in this interview boils down to: you WILL have to be alone in what you're doing, but find those people that can support you. Put yourself out there in front of the people who might not support you. Don't assume the worst in everyone.

Why are we so disconnected as a civilization? My plans are to investigate this in my own life. Dr. Brown provided some literature on it, but life is meant to be experienced, so it's up to US to change things. And boy, do I want to change things. Working from home these last 2 years has given me more of this:

  • flexibility
  • autonomy
  • anxiety
  • lonliness
  • confusion
  • stress

...Some good things, but many gross things. Are you a freelancer? Have you experienced this? Talk to me.

The wildnerness has taught me so much, but I've only stepped in halfway. There's more.

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In other news, here are some tarot cards I've been working on for the Spacious Tarot. They're coming along!!


Hangin' with the posse.

This last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrator's conference at Asilomar in Pacific Grove.

Beautiful place, beautiful people. I love this community and how much they support and encourage each other. At the end of the event, it was determined that we're all a little crazy. I'd never thought of us that way, but I guess we are. Artists and writers are known for following their hearts even when the world is telling them they're silly for doing so.


I took a bunch of crazy notes and met some crazy new friends. We suffered some power outages because Asilomar can't handle our crazy. Seriously, this group of people are the most loving and kind people you've ever met. If that's crazy...then this world don't know what's up.

I learned a lot about how to improve my compositions, which really comes down to focusing on design rather than drawing. I'm re-doing my dummy book and I'm already much happier with the new ideas are emerging.

My portfolio doesn't really speak to childrens lit, and that's ok. But I think I'll do a handful of new images for some classic fables to help strengthen the collection. I'm guessing that it's a lot like performing a cover song. If you give the viewer/listener somehting they recognize, then they can see how you interpret it.


And as for writing, it takes time. I've been journaling radically since I was about 9 but never crafted an entire novel and that's ok. Actually, it's really fun to learn! It's similar to moving around pieces of a puzzle, revealing certain parts of the story at certain times, so the reader is swept away. Harder that it looks, but worth trying.

The workshops were extreemly helpful and inspiring. I walked away having concrete steps to take in order to improve and move forward and some fire to propell me down the tunnel of kid lit madness.

We had a stormy Friday and Saturday, but all of us woke up to an incredible Sunday morning filled with sunshine and roaring waves in the distance. They called to us, so after most attendees left for their homes, a few of us took a long walk along the shore. We built a stone bridge across an ocean stream, admired some hipping and scuttling birds as they searched for sand snacks, and gazed out along a very beautiful part of the California coast.

I took so much away from this weekend. Mostly, that it doesn't matter what the world says about you, just that you follow your heart, which which will lead you to who you really are. You can fight it, but why not let your self fly when you can fly?

Now- time to get to work and make some killer books!

Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.

The servant girl.

I was thinking about the idea of servitude the other day. I used to hate the idea of serving anyone because I wanted to be a free woman. The idea seemed religious, it seemed belittling, and it seemed too humble.

I've grown up since then.

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” ― Rabindranath Tagore

We've heard it before... because it's probably true.

Even in marketing they tell you to consider your demographic. If you don't know who your demo is, you don't have a product. As an artist, it's a little vague, yes, but you do indeed have a demographic and you do have a purpose. Your purpose might be to love and nurture a community through your comics, help kids feel empowered by your murals, or show developers they matter and help them create amazing things that change the world.

Samwise carrying Frodo and the ring.  Did you cry when this happened?  I sure did.

Samwise carrying Frodo and the ring.  Did you cry when this happened?  I sure did.

If you really think about it, Sam from The Lord of the Rings was as important (if not more than) the protagonist, Frodo. When all Frodo's strength was lost, when he essentially quit, Sam pulled all his strength for the nth time and made sure Frodo got the damn ring to mount doom. His purpose was to serve Frodo and help him accomplish amazing things. Sam's strength, endurance, and kindness, paired with Frodo's....uh....big blue eyes and dumb courage...kicks major evil ass.

Yes, I'm more of a Samfan than a Frodofan, can you tell?

Perhaps our purpose is more humble than we had wanted...

So what? Our society puts too much emphasis on celebrities anyway. Social media and the ever growing pressure to have "followers" doesn't help, either. But let's take a few minutes today and really think about who and how we can make a difference. Ask yourself, how can I help using the best of my abilities?

I challenge you to seek the answers. Share your answers- we'd all like to know. Let's stop aspiring to be famous figures and istead go forthright with our tools in hand, smiles on our faces, and determination to make a difference in the best way we can- whether anyone notices or not.

By the way- I came across this startup while doing some research for this post and I had to share. Hahah!