(my kid is a master at the pause…and pause…and…you get the toddler point:)

excerpt from this blogger’s forthcoming book via Prodigy Gold Books: “Reframe Your Artistry,” on the topic of artistic renewal: 

Unclog this moment from aiming for something. Opens your beginner eyes. Embrace what is. From that angle, sparkles and shine emerge. If you don’t want to get that romantic, pause and see life through a child’s point of view which provides a similar state of wonder.

Otje van der Lelij summarizes the tale of a student seeking feedback from a Zen master in her piece titled, “Why Life Looks Better with Beginner’s Eyes,” included in A Book That Takes Its Time. The student arrives to the master with a head full of scholarly information and opinions for which he wishes to gather more knowledge. After a period of mindful listening, the master responds by sending the student away, stating “…Your head is so crowded with thoughts and questions that there is no room left for my answers. Please go away, empty your mind, and only then come back here. First create some space in your head” (p.100).

Go, my curious pupil. Like that Zen student, go to that open space. Sort out junk, dump teachers you no longer have use for, and erase rules that no longer apply. In your open space, be the artist that you are. Frame your creations off-center or however else you light up.


Breaking News: Open Spaces Soon Available.

Take a Pause and Apply Within!


Dedicating time and energy to pausing, we expand productive energy. I’m not saying think like this all the time or go on a permanent pause (though I hear silent or knitting or couples retreats are quite delicious). I’m encouraging carefully curated moments to pause from thoughts, feeling states, circumstances, and routines, in order show up, renewed for an artistic moment.

Grow permission and ability to pause. Trust in your artistry and the universe, let go of the rest of life for a set amount of time. It is okay, even, to let go of any thoughts and ideas that emerge. If a creative idea is worth dedicated, active time, the idea will resurface.

How long must we wait? May the future start now…


Story one, in “How Long til Black Future Month?,” was everything I hoped it could be. And more. I purchased the much anticipated book at my local, adorable bookstore: Reads & Co. It was a self-splurge after dropping whatever I could afford on my daughter’s first visit to this inviting, carefully curated collection of books. My daughter’s words encapsulate the welcoming vibe at the store, when to the kind co-owner – Jason Hafer – she said, “can I stay here forever?”

Complete with a spaceship in the kids’ section and the very it book I’d been craving to read (since happening upon an interview with Black Future Month’s author, Jemisin, in Writer’s Digest) my daughter and I left the store – literally – skipping. And she asked, “when can we go back there again?” And I said, as soon as mommy can afford it.

But about the it book.

I believe authors to readers (like teachers to students, therapists to clients) pop into our world, at the very time they are needed, and we cling to those that speak to our truest longings.

That is where Jemisin found me. And held me.

In story one, The Ones Who Stay to Fight, Jemisin choreographed a world where I’d like to reside: halfway between speculative fiction and philosophical brushstrokes that, together, dance a scene for a better world. In Jemisin’s constructed world, aside from a well thought out and carefully debated violent moment, there is fresh ground on which I hope to plant my feet in a not-so-distant future.

The author’s voice, to me, is part clairvoyant, part anthropologist, part diplomat, part social worker (and she does a fabulous job, my fellow social workers, of directly addressing the dilemmas and bravery of social workers!! in this story, woohooo). Jemisin presents a place that I can picture and yet feels perhaps out of my grasp in my own lifetime, but hopefully not out of grasp during my daughter’s. She closes the story with a calling, “Now. Let’s get to work.” And, I cannot help but feel like she embodies the best of a Reframe Your Artistry world, gathering a thing or two of beauty through artistry, and trying to elevate our existence on both a micro and macro level.

Jemisin’s world? Oh, glad you asked. It’s centered around a city named Um-Helat, and maybe the most approximate realish place may be Brooklyn. But Um-Helat presents a:

“realization that once…differences of opinion involved differences in respect. That once, value was ascribed to some people and not others. That once, humanity was acknowledged for some, and not others…they begin to perceive that ours is a world where the notion that some people are less important than others has been allowed to take root, and grow until it buckles and cracks the foundation of our humanity.” pp.9-10

I wonder, in naming the city – Um-Helat – might Jemisin be teasing her readers to ask for more cities and more stories like this, like, “Um-Hell-of-a-Lot?”

If I take nothing more with me, forever, from this story (and I do take pride in my memory vice v. virtue….that great art stays with me, like a tattoo), it is that I shall not stop believing in tomorrow. Because, like Jemisin, in my mind – I am living it, today.