Goodbye, 2018!! I will actually miss this year. I learned so much that it feels like it was two years long. You know how it was when you were a kid, where the days stretched by endlessly (but in a good way)? That’s the way it was for me. New Year’s Day seems like a loooong time ago.
I had two incredible things happen this year – the first was that I was asked to have a solo exhibit at the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, right here in Fond du Lac. This is something that I never thought would happen in a zillion years – it wasn’t even on my radar! There was more than one time this year when I thought I’d probably get an email saying they’d made a mistake and that they’d have to rescind their offer. But here we are, only three months (and seven days, but who’s counting?) until my show opens. I will have 200 tiny drypoint prints in the exhibit – a print a day, chronicling my day from April 1-October 20 of 2018. As of this writing, I only have ONE more to finish! I am also creating a companion book that people can use as a guide when going through the exhibit – 200 is a LOT to go through! It’s called “200 Days: A Life in the Quotidian”. I’m very excited about it and to be honest, quite proud, too.
The other extraordinary thing that happened this year was my TEDx talk for TEDx Fonddulac! I decided to go for it when the proposals opened early in January. I had applied in 2017 also, but I thought I’d keep trying until I actually got in. I’m surprised it only took me two years! My talk was entitled, “Channeling your Inner Kid for your Career”, and it was about making my tiny art the focus of my art, and being true to oneself. Here it is, if you’d like to view it for yourself!
I had never practiced this much for anything, EVER. I would record myself on my phone and then listen to my drafts while I was on my walks or even while working. Poor Brian was the recipient of my freak-outs and would listen to my talk every night and critique my performances. I couldn’t have done it without him!
To say this was a highlight of my year is a ridiculous understatement. I can honestly say it’s a highlight of my life. I am so grateful to Sarah Spang and the TEDx Fonddulac crew for giving me this opportunity. It’s also a huge milestone for me that I can still watch this video without cringing. To me, that means that I did a pretty decent job. 🙂
Smack dab in the middle of the year, my whole family had a very scary thing happen – my mom got a cold. Now for most of us, this is nothing more than an annoying inconvenience. But my mom has advanced COPD, so that cold developed into pneumonia, which triggered a heart attack because one of her valves was 98% blocked. The first night, she went into organ failure and I came home and wrote her obituary.
I don’t even like this overused word but I have to use it – miraculous. It’s still shocking in the best possible way that she’s still with us, and doing amazingly well – like nothing ever happened, really! She had a stent put in and survived that procedure as well. She also has Alzheimer’s, so she can’t remember any of this. I don’t think that’s a bad thing! 😀
Why am I telling you this? Well, I realized where my priorities lay. For a while, I thought we’d be planning a funeral and all that entails. And that’s all that mattered. I have to say that to have two enormous projects to come home to and focus on was a life-saver for me. But in the end, I realized my fear of failure – for everything – was pointless. It was a not-so-great summer, but it taught me that I need to just plug away and DO IT. And yeah, some people won’t like the work I do, or the talk I give….and that’s okay! All that matters is that I try.
So I’m going to call that “growth”, and I made it my word for 2019, because I want to continue on this journey of discovery. How do I want to grow in the coming year? I want to be more professional. I want to continue what I finally started this year, and that is a daily work practice, where I work for 6-8 hours/day on my art (and not beat myself up about the fact that I came to this realization so damn late in my art career). I want to clean and organize my studio! I want to do more residencies. I want to boldly try new things in my printmaking. I want to teach more, because I got my mojo back this year! I want to sell more. And I’ll even admit that yeah, I want more recognition for my art, if I deserve it. I don’t want to call my Thelma exhibit the pinnacle of my career, because I’m too young for that. But it’s a huge deal for me. (Here’s the event on Facebook, if you’re so inclined to attend the reception! I’d love to see you there!)
Here’s to a wonderful 2019 for all of us!!