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Mar 29, 2014

What Kind of Person Do You Want To Be?

I remember, a million years ago, being young and confused (so, not much different from now) - and standing near the laundry room with my Mom - and (I can’t remember what led up to this conversation, but…) - asking her “Why are we here…why am I here”.  It’s that sort of question that hits someone (especially a Mom) off-guard and I don’t even know why I asked it anymore.  But, I did.  And the answer hasn’t left me (because my Mom is awesome).

She didn’t stutter and she didn’t stammer - and she told me “To figure out what kind of person you WANT to be.” 

I don’t even know if she remembers that day - but I DO.  And I haven’t forgotten it - because what I learned that day - that the reason we are here - is in our hands.  Fate and destiny aside - what we do with what we are given is UP TO US.  We have every opportunity given to us to be whatever type of person we want to become.  You can help people, or you can hurt them - that is a choice.  You can give, or you can take.  That is your choice.  You can hit, or you can comfort - it is all up to you.  The world is wonderful like that - time gives you that magical split second to choose the type of person you want to be…and it keeps giving you that opportunity over and over again.


"It is never too late in the day to start having a good day."


Good grief, I am nearly 40 (okay, give me a few years) - and still every day I am figuring out what type of person I am.  But, I know what type of person I WANT to be - that helps in those split-seconds of making up your mind and choosing what type person you ARE.  That decision - what type of person you want to BE - is never decisive (oh, the irony).  It is always evolving - and it changes every day when you wake up in the morning, and you need to make those decisions all over again.

You can take what you have been given - your gifts and your talents, the little things that come naturally to you - and you can weave all of it into something wonderful to send out into the world…and you know what?  All that wonderful will come back to you.  You may not have money, but you have words.  You may not be artistic, but you have actions.  You have so very, very much more to offer than you probably give yourself credit for.

If you know how to knit and have wool - and meet someone cold - why wouldn’t you knit them a sweater?  I think the “becoming the type of person you want to be” comes through in what you do for others, just because you CAN.

No conversation is too small.  No words you tell your children are too weak.  Trust me - when you are standing near the washing machine and your child asks you some crazy question - they are listening to your answer.  And, it can change their life, and the lives of the people they will meet one day.  Encourage your children and challenge them, and let them know and be certain that the type of person they want to be become is up to them (and the advice their Mother’s and Father’s give them).  

So, what type of person do I want to become?

One just like my Mother.

Mar 29, 2014

What Kind of Person Do You Want To Be?

I remember, a million years ago, being young and confused (so, not much different from now) - and standing near the laundry room with my Mom - and (I can’t remember what led up to this conversation, but…) - asking her “Why are we here…why am I here”.  It’s that sort of question that hits someone (especially a Mom) off-guard and I don’t even know why I asked it anymore.  But, I did.  And the answer hasn’t left me (because my Mom is awesome).

She didn’t stutter and she didn’t stammer - and she told me “To figure out what kind of person you WANT to be.” 

I don’t even know if she remembers that day - but I DO.  And I haven’t forgotten it - because what I learned that day - that the reason we are here - is in our hands.  Fate and destiny aside - what we do with what we are given is UP TO US.  We have every opportunity given to us to be whatever type of person we want to become.  You can help people, or you can hurt them - that is a choice.  You can give, or you can take.  That is your choice.  You can hit, or you can comfort - it is all up to you.  The world is wonderful like that - time gives you that magical split second to choose the type of person you want to be…and it keeps giving you that opportunity over and over again.


"It is never too late in the day to start having a good day."


Good grief, I am nearly 40 (okay, give me a few years) - and still every day I am figuring out what type of person I am.  But, I know what type of person I WANT to be - that helps in those split-seconds of making up your mind and choosing what type person you ARE.  That decision - what type of person you want to BE - is never decisive (oh, the irony).  It is always evolving - and it changes every day when you wake up in the morning, and you need to make those decisions all over again.

You can take what you have been given - your gifts and your talents, the little things that come naturally to you - and you can weave all of it into something wonderful to send out into the world…and you know what?  All that wonderful will come back to you.  You may not have money, but you have words.  You may not be artistic, but you have actions.  You have so very, very much more to offer than you probably give yourself credit for.

If you know how to knit and have wool - and meet someone cold - why wouldn’t you knit them a sweater?  I think the “becoming the type of person you want to be” comes through in what you do for others, just because you CAN.

No conversation is too small.  No words you tell your children are too weak.  Trust me - when you are standing near the washing machine and your child asks you some crazy question - they are listening to your answer.  And, it can change their life, and the lives of the people they will meet one day.  Encourage your children and challenge them, and let them know and be certain that the type of person they want to be become is up to them (and the advice their Mother’s and Father’s give them).  

So, what type of person do I want to become?

One just like my Mother.

Mar 22, 2014

Little Heroes of Nevada

I can’t believe I’m flying out tomorrow to meet 6 incredible new little heroes as part of The Drawing Hope Project!  Seriously my mind is blown; it all happened so quickly (and these things do when you involve people like Diane Sawyer - more on that later).  It’s 6:25pm.  I haven’t packed yet as I’ve been running around gathering props and planning, goodie bags for the kids, and generally just wrapping my head around all of it!  I fly out around noon and end up with a long layover in L.A. (at least I’ll be able to say I’ve been to L.A.!) and land in Vegas at 7:30pm (Vegas time).  I think it’s something like 7000kms in total and about 13 or 14 hours of travel!  I’ll be at the NCCF (Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation) bright and early to set up and get to meet everyone…ABC is showing up at 10am to set up and filming and shooting starts at 11:00am sharp.

I can’t wait to meet each of these kids - their drawings are so awesome and their stories of strength are just mind-blowing.  I wish I could be there for each reveal when they see their photo for the first time!  After the shoot, I’ll be heading back to the hotel to edit…and edit…and edit!  We’re hoping to deliver 1 finished photo to one of the kids the next day.  I’ll take it - it will be the first time I’ve actually BEEN there when they saw their photo for the time!  The whole entire process is magical, but THAT moment right there…there’s no words for how that makes me feel! 



"I’m going to be helping make a little mermaid come to life, a little boy be the baseball hero of his dream, a young lady become a lady bug princess, while helping another little guy fly around his dinosaur friends while wearing his super-Andrew cape. I’m going to help a dancer get to Broadway, and help another one rise to the top as a Super Popstar. Honestly - who gets to do that? I do. I am so, so lucky."

Here’s the awesome drawings I was sent (love!)


I will be blogging along my trip (when I have free hands!) and hopefully taking some video as well along the way, so you can all get to meet these kids and their families.  Then, to add some icing to the cake, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer is covering the story, and it’s being aired on Wed. March 26th, 2014 - so be sure to tune in!  I’ll be posting the video from that here and on the website too!

You can read about all the personal stories of the kids I’m going to meet by clicking here and flipping through the photos!  And, if you’d like to help support the project, you can (I have set up a GoFundMe.com campaign to help offset the cost of this and other trips, as I pay for the flight, accomodation etc on my own, to be able to bring this experience to these kids and their families).  You can help out here:


Please if you aren’t already, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter, since that’s where I update things the most!  I’m feeling very blessed and excited right now.  I can’t wait to share this amazing experience and the final magical photos with everyone!  I guess I should pack!  I have a LOT of stuff to bring with me…but, anything is possible :)

Twins! And brothers! #bt #bostonterrier #dog  #love
Mar 21, 2014 / 1 note

Twins! And brothers! #bt #bostonterrier #dog #love

Mar 19, 2014

Dear Universe

Dear Universe:

They say if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  And I believe in the Law of Attraction.  What you send out, you get back.  What you ask for and position yourself to receive, you will.  I even have the words “Thoughts become things" tattooed on my arm, next to my daily reminder from the Dalai Lama to "use all my energies to expand my heart out to others".  I am going to actually ASK for what I want.

I want The Drawing Hope Project to become a global and incredible source of HOPE for families and children who need it.  I want to be able to get to as many children as possible, to help them see THEIR imaginations come to life.  I want to help as many people see, as I am seeing right now - that ANYTHING is possible.

I want someone to come up to me and believe in this project so much that they will fund it.  They will back the project and help me do this full time for as many families in as many places as possible.  I want to be a little bright light for so many people dealing with cloudy days.  I want to work with other photographers and photoshop geeks to be able to make these drawings and imaginations and dreams come true.   I want this to ripple around the world.  I want it to inspire people to register as organ donors.

I can’t do this alone.  I am very bad at trying to do everything myself.  I am asking for help, and on my wish list - I am asking for someone or something to come along and take this project under it’s wing, then help it fly.

I wish I was a millionaire.  I wish I could freely go to all these children in ever corner of the world - because there are no borders when it comes to the challenges these families are dealing with.  There are no countries or provinces, there is only the need for hope.  And that is boundless.  I wish I were 200 people, so I could go and give and do this for as many families and children as possible.  I do not need plenty for myself, I only need enough.

I am sending all of this out there in hopes the universe will listen, and send what I need to help this happen for as many children and families as possible.  I have a day job (the lucky ones in the world, do) - and I do this on the side, in between paying my bills, and for no profit, but the priceless reward I receive for meeting these children and their families.  It is better than any pay cheque.  

In a perfect world, The Drawing Hope Project will be my day job, and this is what I will do, every day, forever.  Dear Universe, I know I am asking for a lot, but this is what I want.

Sincerely,
Shawn Van Daele

Mar 18, 2014

15 Minutes

It’s said everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame.  And wow, my 15 minutes has now lasted a good 5 days and it’s mind blowing.  How do people do this?  I’m honoured and overwhelmed and thrilled that The Drawing Hope Project is getting so much needed attention and that the stories of all these little heroes are finally being told around the GLOBE.  So awesome.



In the last few days, I have been spell-corrected by the US Army.  I have interviewed with ABC, NBC and CBS.  I’ve responded to hundreds of requests from publications and magazines, blogs and everything else - around the world.  It’s so weird…seriously, just, weird.  

Does this change anything?  No.  Does it make anything different?  Hopefully.  To know the stories of these kids and the message THEY carry is now (finally!) travelling around the world - wow.  THAT right there is awesome.  That is why I started the entire project.

What can “15 minutes” do for other families like the ones already involved in The Drawing Hope Project?  It can bring them a few moments of happiness.  It can save lives (and it does - I know, mind-blowing, right?)  ART can SAVE lives.  That idea right there is something worth pouring your entire heart into.  I can’t ever say “I don’t know why I’m here” or “what is the purpose to life” - because, it sort of found me.  I’m pretty sure I’m here to keep this message going, and to encourage other people to save other people’s lives, and if you can’t do that, then you may as well inspire others.  Then, if you can’t do that - can you at least make them smile?  Warm a cold heart-string or two?  If everyone just did a LITTLE something with the gifts they were given, that help other people smile - what a world this could be.  And it is - google it!  The incredible stories that are out there of people helping other people - for NO REASON other than to help them - it will make your heart swell and grow. 


"When you help others, you can’t help helping yourself"  — - from Avenue Q

I don’t think I even have the capacity to recap what has happened the last few days.  Something triggered something in ONE PERSON that started all of this.  I wish I knew who they were so I could thank them.  They’ve made a difference in MILLIONS of peoples lives. 

To name just a few, here’s what has happened, on that wonderful beast called the World Wide Web (and holy smokes, Twitter, slow down already - you have WAY too much energy):

  • The Huffington Post - front page!
  • The Daily Mail
  • ABC.com -
  • TrendHunter.com - shot to #1 on their entire site in less than 2 hours
  • The TODAY Show is sending a crew to interview me and 2 families part of the project
  • ViralNova featured us
  • We’re on the Weather Channel
  • And we’ve appeared in newspapers everywhere from Belgium to Italy.
  • It’s appeared on some of my favourite websites, like Demilked and DesignTaxi
  • …and I could keep going.  I have about 1000 different emails from different publications, blogs and websites I have been responding to who have helped spread this project around the world

What is important about all of this?

It has inspired something in people world-wide.  It has made people - around the globe - take a moment to retweet over 1 million times the magic of believing that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.  It helped me raise over $1300 in 16 hours to go see a very special family that could use some magic in their life.  It is helping to bring more families to me, so I can turn around and bring them some magic, too.  

The internet, when used correctly by people with good hearts - can make magic happen.  And even weirder - it can save lives.  Wow.  Seriously?

I am not so naive as to think this 15 minutes will or could ever turn into half an hour.  I am thrilled with this, and grateful for every soul that has put a tiny bit of effort into telling this story to their own audience.  To helping that ripple…keep rippling.  I am thrilled that it has helped to breathe such life into this project, and will in turn help me meet so many other families who can be part of the project - and inspire them and their family.  It truly is a ripple, that will and can just keep going. 

Thank you to everyone who has helped to make the world smile lately, through the stories of all these incredible children and their families.  I can’t wait to meet so many more in the next year.  Art can save lives and ANYTHING is possible. xo Shawn

Visit the official Drawing Hope website here: www.DrawingHope.ca

Facebook: www.facebook.com/drawinghopeproject

Twitter: @ShawnVanDaele & @DrawingHope

Instagram: Shawnerific

#artforfreedom @madonna #friendship #love
Mar 16, 2014

#artforfreedom @madonna #friendship #love

Mar 15, 2014

I Am Not The Drawing Hope Project

Well, I sort of am.  But, I’m just one of the many art supplies that makes it possible.

Who is The Drawing Hope Project?

Every child and family that made it possible.  Every struggle and heartbreak, every sleepless worry-filled night.  Every tear and every terror.  Every family and child that didn’t know what tomorrow would - or will - hold.  Every hope and ever fear, every warrior bead and and every moment of absolute despair.  I am NOT The Drawing Hope Project.  

I’m just like a crayon that anyone who is part of the project used to draw something they believed in; I’m just something that became part of their hope for some dream to come true.  I am NOT the Drawing Hope Project.  The Drawing Hope Project is every family that chose to be a donor and save a life; it is every individual who chose to donate blood.  It is every family that has fought and believed that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

A camera and photoshop does NOT make magic happen.  Real people and their stories make magic happen.  Real hardships and strength makes magic happen.  Belief and HOPE makes magic happen.  

I am feeling very blessed to be one little part of all that magic, and honoured to be in the company of families and parents with more strength than I will ever know. 

#artforfreedom @madonna www.DrawingHope.ca Drawings by kids with serious health conditions turned into magical photos starring themselves. Anything is possible. Read: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4959011?utm_hp_ref=good-newswww.DrawingHope.ca Drawings by kids with serious health conditions turned into magical photos starring themselves. Anything is possible. Read: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4959011?utm_hp_ref=good-news
Mar 15, 2014

#artforfreedom @madonna www.DrawingHope.ca Drawings by kids with serious health conditions turned into magical photos starring themselves. Anything is possible. Read: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4959011?utm_hp_ref=good-newswww.DrawingHope.ca Drawings by kids with serious health conditions turned into magical photos starring themselves. Anything is possible. Read: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4959011?utm_hp_ref=good-news

Mar 14, 2014 / 1 note

Understanding Failure

Well, holy smokes.  I feel like a huge plug has been pulled from my invisible creative-and-happiness drain that has been clogged up for the last year.  I don’t even know what to attribute it to: listening to a palm reader I met on a sidewalk on Royal Street in New Orleans?  Letting go of something to someone I know can do it a million times better?  Finding new creative outlets (writing) to get out what wasn’t meant to come out some other way?  Being grateful and honest for every challenge and success in my life? 

Honestly? I don’t know.

Whatever it is and why-ever it’s happening, I am so grateful.  There’s such release in accepting your failures and trying again:


"Failure isn’t diving on your face, or hitting rock bottom. That’s just being human. You only fail when you decide to not try again. So it’s entirely in your control. Once you understand failure, it’s impossible to fail."  — Some guy from Humans of New York


You only fail when you decide not to try again.

That’s really what it comes down to.  Trying.  Again, and again.  Be it losing those last 10 pounds, quitting smoking (I’m a professional fail-er at this) or reaching some dream achievement you set you sights on.  You only fail when you decide not to try again.  It’s easy to blame the world, your circumstances, everything and anyone - everything but yourself and your own decisions.  Failure can only be created by your choices. 

Everything isn’t black and white, there’s a million universes full of greys in between “this” and “that” - and the same goes for that area between success (whatever that is) and failure.  For the record, I define success as whatever makes your soul smile.  Choosing not to try again at something is choosing failure, and choosing to ignore something that satisfies your soul.  Add all that up, and it certainly sounds like failure to me.

Quit Wasting Your Time

If there is ONE thing I have learned over the last few years it’s this cliché: life is too short.  Well, if it’s a cliché, it’s because it’s true.  Quit wasting your time starving your soul of the things that make it shine.  Every self-doubt and choice to not try or to try again - you are wasting precious and irreplaceable time that you will never, ever get back again.  The irony there is though that time is gone forever - it will haunt you forever, too, one day.  Everything you did not try again at will never go away.  Every wasted moment.  Every choice to not try again.  Every opportunity to forgive.  When you run out of time to choose - all those wasted opportunities will come back and remind you.

Failure Isn’t Falling On Your Face, Or Hitting Rock Bottom

"You only fail when you decide not to try again".  Like every time you fell off your bike learning to ride, every time you stripped the gears learning to drive manual and every flubbed up first kiss - trying again, you got better.  Trying again, you gained confidence.  Trying again, you forgot about that failure, and you were flying down the road on your bike with the wind in your hair, and every scrape and scratch and bruise forgotten.  You needed to falter while learning, you needed to make mistakes and wrong judgements - without them there was no lesson. 

I really think I’ve come to understand failure this week, and it has only been through being okay with it - that I’m no longer afraid of it.  

Mar 12, 2014

Thank God For Messed Up People

"I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences… I’m human, not perfect, like anybody else."  — Queen Latifah

Good grief we’re so hard on ourselves and each other.

I just need to take a moment to recognize and acknowledge (and THANK) all the messed up people out there that make me feel totally and acceptably average.  

You know - the people who you meet that seem like they’re a total hot mess.  They’re going through something.  The world doesn’t coordinate your personal tragedies with everyone else’s.

The people we choose to criticize through social media - the Rob Ford’s, Justin Bieber’s and Miley Cyrus’s of the world.  Ok, they may be a TOTAL hot mess - but can you at least for a second consider that maybe they’re actually, honestly, be doing the best they know how?

To the train wreck on her cell phone that you’re standing behind at the coffee shop, who may be coping with the death of a friend.

To the total bitch at Walmart who nearly let the door slam in your face as you tried to waltz in for your roll-backs.

To that asshole who cut you off on the highway because he just HAD to get home - for a reason that is none of your business.

Thank God for all the messed up people, because it means we’re all in it together.  We expect miracles from ourselves and everyone around us; we expect divinity from celebrities.  Where is the allure in perfection?  Isn’t reality allure enough?  It’s certainly far more interesting.

Thank you to the people who despite all the numerous opportunities I’ve given you to give up on me - you haven’t.  I’ve symbolically let that door slam in your face, I’ve cut you off on the highway, and I’ve ignored you on my cell phone.  I’ve been that person, and you’ve been okay with it.  I’ve let the door slam in my own face a few times.

Thank God for messed up people, because it makes me like you more.  Your imperfections are far more appealing than any perfection that might make me actually NOT like you.  Imperfections are perfectly perfect to me, because that is what I know.

I am grateful for the messed up people of this world, who in their own messed-up-ness retain the humility to accept - and adore - those imperfections and challenges that make us interesting.  Those tragedies that give us our stories.  Those stories that give us our histories.  Perfection is incredibly, horribly, dull.

I am thankful for my flaws, and for my failures.  I am thankful for my friends who are as perfectly-imperfect as me, and I am forever grateful to everyone who has appreciated that every misstep and stumble has landed me perfectly, and exactly, where I belong.

Thank God for messed up people.  Because without them, there would be no stories to tell.  There’d be no hope to find in sadness and no dreams to find in the dark - there’d be no phoenix rising from ashes, and there’d be no forgiveness to offer, or to accept.  

Thank God for messed up people.  Because that’s the only type of person there is.

Mar 12, 2014 / 1 note

So, well, THIS happened.

"When you stop looking for it is when it will find you."  — Anon


Timing is weird.  Coincidences are weird.  The universe and the Law of Attraction is weird.  If you’ve read any of my recent posts you’ll know I’m sort of in a limbo-phase right now - looking for that niche for my art and balance for my life / creativity / work / pay the bills situation I think every artist struggles with.   I’ve been trying my best to just let it go - to let it come to me.  

Then, something like THIS happens.  TrendHunter picked up The Drawing Hope Project, and in less than 2 hours it surpassed 5000 views, 100+ shares, and jumped to the #1 most popular post on their site.  Um, wow - and weird - and awesome.  Trouble being - I’ve been struggling with completing “round 1” of the project for over a year - the ultimate culmination of the project, and the completion of the actual hard-copy storybook.  SO much harder than I anticipated, and I admittedly took a good “year off” to recollect myself after all the photos were complete, and my Dad passed away (I’m a slow healer apparently).  Add to that fear of failure - and success - and you have a whole lot of terrified procrastination that has created a serious delay that haunts me daily.  Enter my Mom (thank god!) who has offered to help me wrap it up, and help string all the photos together into the perfect storybook as each little hero in the project deserves.

Now - here’s why I think all of this is weird.

I have never ever been more fulfilled in my life than when I was working on The Drawing Hope Project.  Meeting these kids and their families - supporting their causes and helping them see their imaginations come to life = priceless.  Seriously, there aren’t words for how that makes you feel.  And yet, here I am, looking for something creative that will fulfill me?  Am I an idiot?  

Honestly - ya, I think I am.  I’ve spent so long caught up in the opposite intention of the project - beating myself up and in turn, NOT seeing imagination (my own, and others) come to life.  Huh.  Meanwhile, if I just rewound back to the original reason I started the project in the first place - to create magic - and did it for that sake alone (forget future story books, as I’m apparently not a great storybook writer-and-put-together-er)…but just continued on creating the magic for these kids and their families…I think I’d rediscover that sense of creative and soulful fulfillment I’ve been looking for.

I stopped looking.

The moment I stopped looking for that creative outlet that would bring me fulfillment is when the answer came to me (this morning, actually).  I stopped hunting and trying to find it.  I just let it go, and ignored it.  And ta-da!  Well wouldn’t ya know, I had it all along, but I’d tucked it away.  I think it’s time to bring it back and do it simply for the sake of doing it.  An ongoing series of magical photos that will make little heroes and their families smile.  It doesn’t need to become something great or wildly popular - because what’s more great than being able to give that gift to someone who needs it?  Art for the sake of love.  The world could use more of that.



Mar 8, 2014

Chasing Fireflies & Lightning Bugs

I’m a HUGE fan of Ray LaMontagne, and after reading an article about his upcoming album this morning and finding this quote of his - I am an even bigger fan than I ever, ever was before.  It’s refreshing to hear from artists you admire that they face the exact same challenges as everyone else.  The creative block, and the elusive “a-ha!” moment.


"For the longest time these songs were eluding me. I felt like a kid trying to collect lightning bugs. I’d catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye and run for it, but the light would go out just as I thought I’d gotten hold of one. But eventually I caught on to their game. I stopped chasing them altogether. Instead I just sat there as if I were completely disinterested in them. And wouldn’t you know it, one by one they came to me! Flew right into my jar."  — Ray LaMontagne



It reminded me of one of my first and favourite images (above) from my 365 Days Project - Fireflies.  I was in a very experimental stage with photography and photo manipulation when I did this, and to this day I don’t know whether the fireflies are coming to me, or if I’m releasing them into the woods in the photo.  Perhaps a bit of both?  

Anyways - Ray’s quote rang so true to how I’ve been feeling lately - chasing ideas and concepts and trying to pin them down, always seeming to lose them through my fingers and watching them flicker off into the night.  When you think of all the truly good things you have in your life - they are likely all things that just came to you.  They aren’t the things you went looking for, they aren’t the things you brought home.  They’re always the things that surprised you, that found you, and that you attracted.  Ideas - the good ones - are just like that.  You (well, myself anyways) - can’t sit down and force a great idea.  All the good ones arrive when they want to and when you’re (hopefully) ready for them.  The only photos of mine that I actually love are the ones that were inspired - not the ones I did for the sake of creating something.  


"I’ve always been inspired by visual artists of all mediums because, as with Music, Art is not a job you can go to and leave from; but it is something that defines who and what you are."  — Tori Amos


The quote I originally used for Fireflies was by the love of my life Tori Amos, who shares my attitude that all of her songs (like any piece of art anyone creates) - are like people.  Ghosts, even - that choose when they want to be seen, or heard, or have their story told.  Just like the faeries and fireflies - leave them alone, and they will eventually come to you.  It’s just our job to translate what they want to say.

Tori’s album “Under The Pink” (it’s right over there on the right - listen to it!) is one of those albums that teleports me to a different time and place - 17 year olds and not yet big enough to make sense of all the ideas in my head and not yet smart enough to make art from all the emotions in my heart.  Back then, there was no chasing fireflies and lightning bugs - they swarm to you when you’re young.  As you get older and more self-aware - that’s when the chasing starts to happen, when you start reaching for inspiration that wouldn’t leave you alone once upon a time. 

I think I’m finally learning to simply stop trying.  It’s funny that trying less could be the answer to doing more.

4 Dogs. 1 Chair. #bt #bostonterrier #dog #puppy #cute #boston #love #spoiled
Mar 8, 2014

4 Dogs. 1 Chair. #bt #bostonterrier #dog #puppy #cute #boston #love #spoiled

Mar 7, 2014

The World Spins Madly On


March is a hard month for all sorts of reasons.  First, we’re all waiting for spring, and this year it’s the spring that will just…not…get…here.  Then, as the month goes on, for me it’s my parent’s anniversary and what-would-be my Dad’s birthday.  The anniversaries and holidays and memories never stop.  No one is ever gone - somehow they find a way to be more here than ever before.  Life and love and regret is weird like that.


"Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so."  — David Grayson


I did the photo above (Regret) 24 days before my Dad passed away. (I like to think of it as ‘graduating’ instead of passing away, by the way).  It’s still one of my all-time favourite pieces because it reminds me of him (he was my biggest fan!) and because it’s so raw and honest as to how I was feeling then (and still do, now).  My entire life, I knew my Dad as someone who raised birds - pigeons, exotic birds, doves - which is where the falling feathers come into the photo.  The rest is pretty self explanatory!

I need to Rumpelstiltskin my attitude and turn some straw into gold - turn regret into gratitude, turn sadness into celebration, channel devastation into inspiration, distill loss into love.  I think that would be the greatest tribute to my biggest fan.

And the world in it’s chaos doesn’t stop for your sadness or your grieving.  The world is polite for awhile, but forgets quickly - and we’re all equally guilty of it.  We all move on from our empathy for others.  The trick is moving on from our sympathy for ourselves, while the world spins madly on.  And if you can make a little art while you’re at it - that’s the best eulogy you can give someone you love.