Guest Post: Marti Healy on Painting Life Upside Down

 (Author photo by Shelly Marshall Schmidt)

The woman had both hands drenched in paint. She pressed them onto the large canvas in front of her. Working with one hand and then the other, sometimes both together, she smoothed and swirled, stroked and shaped, covered and revealed the image into being. It became a face.

But it was a face presented entirely in positive and negative spaces. A face that only became recognizable at the very end of the process.

Read more Guest Post: Marti Healy on Painting Life Upside Down

Burning Down the Fireproof Hotel is Available

The book I’ve been talking about for so long (How long? Three and a half years, seven rewrites and 25 readers’ opinions worth of “long.”) is finally out in the world.

It’s a spiritual memoir, and it’s the background story on why “spaciousness” matters to me. Yes, it’s quirky. No, it can’t be easily categorized. It’s not a tame Sunday school story, but it’s full of Jesus. It’s an exposé of my own judgmental and critical nature, racism, ethnocentrism, fears and —

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Guest Post: Jenna Bonnichsen, aka JBonn

Ah! Over here!

Sloppily swimming in a sea of expectations, I find it difficult to access my true self in the world that surrounds me. The expectations begin to wash away my opinions, dreams and ideas while I start to accept other people’s beliefs as my own. Nevertheless, I still have enough resistance to want to escape the tides of torment and go into myself and release my true being free into this world. How must I sort this out? Who am I when I am waiting in the car before my first date?

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Pregnancy and Toe Jam

I’m pregnant with a book. If it were a ten-pound baby, I’d just wait until my due date, uncomfortable as I was. But this baby, this book, needs to be born.

Sometimes it’s just better to get the sucker out. I just need to give birth and then deal with the squalling baby.

Why do I hold back from producing things, from creating, from putting my efforts out into the world? God put no restrictions on Adam in the Garden of Eden when he set him loose to create.

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Power to the Grown-ups

“It took a grown-up to imagine the Harry Potter books,” author Neil Genzlinger writes in a New York Times piece reviewing two new television shows, 2 New Ways to Relive Childhood.

I love that line.  He was exploring our idealized vs. actual childhoods and how certain activities and toys (as explored in two different television shows) transport us back to those — potentially — good old days.

He said, “A 10-year-old’s imagination doesn’t really go very far.

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Yet One More Muse, Steve Martin

I adore Steve Martin. Rumor has it that he once stepped into my family’s entrance hall to pick up a date, who was the friend of a woman who was babysitting me and my sister). I wasn’t home; I can’t confirm that he was there… though my sister tends to be a trustworthy source.

Yet that brush with fame isn’t the reason I love him. Like Dave Brubeck and David Byrne, he is prolific and operates in many creative directions.

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Another Muse, David Byrne

My last post was about Dave Brubeck, a major inspiration in my life. And here’s another prolific, creative, talented “DB” who has influenced me mightily — David Byrne.

I’m just taking some time this summer to think about (and share with you) a few men who have been muses for me in my own baby steps in writing and creating.

David Byrne is prolific in so many genres. His website has links for his Journal (a brilliant blog),

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My Muses: First, Dave Brubeck

I’ve heard Calvin Trillin speak a couple of times. The man is wicked funny. The last time I heard him he recited poetry in which he rhymed “Rodham” with “Sodom” and “Señora” with “Gommorah” in describing Bill Clinton’s presidency. Nothing against Clinton personally but Trillin is funny. He’s one of my heroes for his prolific writings and for the varied forms he tackles and dominates.

I’ve got three other heroes of the same ilk (prolific and working in different genres): Dave Brubeck, 

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I love random, pointless missions.

A subscriber to our site, Logan, sent me a link to an article I love. It’s called 6 Habits of Truly Memorable People. It’s from Inc. and is by Jeff Haden.

I’ll share a section from it about my favorite “habit” listed (“Embark on a Worthless Mission”):

You’re incredibly focused, consistently on point, and relentlessly efficient.

You’re also really, really boring.

Remember when you were young and followed stupid ideas to their illogical conclusions?

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Before You & I Die…

What do you want to do before you die?

Art installation walls asking that question are popping up around the world. D.C. is sporting one down near Logan Circle at 14th & Q Streets, NW. You can read about it in The Washington Post.

I’ve loved visiting; I went twice in the first three days. It’s such a joy to see the connections made between people who are simply stopping by to add something or to read the entries.

Read more Before You & I Die…