Eating Humble Pie

On Saturday, Aug. 23, I attended the Art Opening Reception, “Inspired Journeys,” at the Prairie Art Alliance to congratulate, especially, one of the exhibitors, E. Vern Taylor.

The work of juried member artists and three featured artists comprised this exhibit: Pam Allen (jewelry), James Johnston (paintings, prints, and photos), and E. Vern Taylor (paintings and pastels). And I had planned to see this exhibit more than six months ago, when Vern Taylor told me of his plan to create images in paint and poetic stories.

So, on Saturday evening, I drove to the reception, parked, and entered the Hoogland Center. Vern Taylor was monopolized in the lobby by friends, family, and/or fellow artists. I turned the opposite direction, first, and entered the gallery.

As a past juried member of the gallery, I was excited by the bustling room and the familiar faces, some whom I had only seen on Facebook this last year. When I turned my attention to the exhibit, I recognized the work of the long-term juried artists and noticed many new names. Ceramics, wood, and 3-D collage complimented the paintings and pastels hung on the walls.

I moved on around to the meet and greet area assigned to the featured artists. Vern would probably be there, I thought.

The printed program gave a brief bio of each of the three. Pam Allen told how she created many art forms before finding that jewelry was her passion. James Johnston cited his faith and appreciation of Native Americans as inspiration for his painting and photography. He had exhibited in Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Music spilled over many conversations. I couldn’t see Vern yet. At the opposite end of the featured artists’ area, I joined some folks I knew who were also admiring Vern’s work.

Vern’s bio read, “Since seventh grade, I have loved the process of bringing a painting to fruition.” Vern created each piece in this exhibit as a remembrance of profound inspiration in his life. He added his poetry beside many framed paintings.

I was drawn to Vern’s mysterious painting of a midnight blue night. A golden moon outlined a large tree, and a shimmer of light from above highlighted a flower in the foreground. The grand and bold sea gull was pointed out by many. A large painting of Japanese maple leaf motifs refreshed like a breeze with reds, browns, and lavenders (on this hot and humid night). Vern’s poems I must read again to grasp all that he shares in rendering a beautiful, successful memoir.

No Vern in sight yet, so I talked a few more minutes – well, probably a half hour – and needed a cracker and cheese bite for my growling insides.

Now, alone, I felt my knee (not fully recovered) had tightened and swelled. I said good-by to another dear friend at the top of the stairs and felt the evening had ended.

In my car, after driving three blocks or so down the street, I wanted to know more about Vern’s . . . Yikes! I hadn’t talked to Vern. I hadn’t congratulated E. Vern Taylor or thanked him for all the months of work he put in to ready this exhibit.

So I now ask, publically, for forgiveness, E. Vern Taylor, and eat my humble pie.

If you see Vern, please pass this along: “You accomplished your goal. Yeah! Yours is a magnificent memoir, a truly “Inspired Journey.”


The Right Writing Place

Not every day is a writing day, although I agree this is the best way to form such a habit. Thoughts swirl in my mind, a to-do list seems to grow by the hour, and 10 minutes doesn’t seem long enough to compose a single sentence. But today, 10 minutes was just enough to get two ideas down on paper as a “note to self.”

Today is my effort to fashion a writing time again (after surgery, recovery, a long-weekend in Maine, online learning in two great programs, and an excellent SCBWI meeting, and “school’s starting” fun with my grandkids claimed my attention). I make coffee and take half a cookie into a room where music plays low to occupy the side of my brain that is thinking about the carpet, the laundry, the dinner that’s planned out, but will soon need started.

I actually get focused more quickly when my grandson stays the day. By his nap time, my brain is too tired to multi-task. The birds’ conversation out back on the screened-in porch helps, unless a close mower tops the chirping. Sometimes I read a bit first or work on last week’s crossword puzzle.

So, if this is your time, pick up a pen, paper, water or other, and get to your “supportive place” (chair/room/porch). Begin with something you know: the past, family, an issue, a new word (look it up), or the color ____, and describe it using the five senses. You are on your way. From your writing habit, you will develop a strong voice. And, that voice will take you where you need to be.