Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: Mandy Hale

This quote from the Dalai Lama says, “If we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster!”

After disaster, now what?

This New Year’s season feels to me a bit like climbing out of the rubble after disaster has struck. I don’t think I’ll get much pushback about whether 2020 qualifies as a disaster. The worst part is that the disaster’s not finished with us.

Those certainly are not the jolliest New Year’s reflections ever shared, but here we are. The painful joke about hitting bottom and then starting to dig definitely applies to 2021, so far.

This quote from author Chuck Palahniuk says, “Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.”

Already starting to dig

COVID-19 just added two frightening, virulent mutations to the mix. Vaccine distribution hasn’t gone smoothly. The predicted spike in infections from Christmas travel has only begun to hit, but many hospitals are already overwhelmed.

Although the countdown on homicides resets at the turn of the year, here in the Kansas City metro area we had two homicide deaths on New Year’s Day alone, after a record high in 2020. Just as bad, two persons experiencing homelessness were found dead from exposure during the holiday weekend. My home metro area is not alone. Homicides are up all over the country. So is homelessness, which has been extra-dangerous during the pandemic, even before winter started.

And speaking of the weather, if you think 2020 had a high number of natural disasters (it did), climate scientists warn that things will only get worse. Gosh, have I cheered you up yet?

This quote from Mandy Hale says, “Change can be scary, but you know what’s scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving, and progressing.”
Everyday Power

Are we “growing, evolving, and progressing”?

I think that’s actually on us to decide. It’s easy to let the gloom and doom suck us down. After the pandemic hit, depression in the US tripled. COVID-19 disrupted mental health services all over the globe, so you know that misery had company worldwide. And goodness knows after disaster upon disaster, we had things to be depressed about.

But some of us were able to find opportunities despite all the disruption. Some of my artist friends found they had more time to focus on larger, more ambitious projects, or on building new relationships with companies that wanted to license their images for hot new trends such as jigsaw puzzles.

People became more focused on locally-owned small businesses. Websites such as Independent We Stand, with a robust local business search function, helped us reconnoiter.

It became kind of a civic duty among some of my friends to buy local, order carry-out from their favorite restaurants more often, or order from their favorite local bookstore (and incidentally save the cost of shipping), then swing by in person to pick up their purchases. IndieBound and Bookshop bolstered those efforts online.

This quote from John D. Rockefeller says, “I always tried to turn every disaster into and opportunity.”

Some of us got newly active; let’s never be complacent again

Famously, 2020 was the year when millions of white people could no longer ignore the crippling racial disparities in our country, and when millions of people from all backgrounds took to the streets about it. Income inequality and health care disparities were part of it, but police violence riveted our attention more.

The George Floyd murder—8 full minutes and 48 seconds of despair and agony playing out on video under the knee of an uncaring white cop—provided the catalyst for protests against police brutality and racism, not just in the United States but all over the world.

This quote from Catherine the Great says, “I beg you take courage; the brave soul can mend even disaster.”

We in the US are far from the only country with a race problem, but our history means in many ways we’re still fighting the Civil War. And we’re woefully far from being “post-racial.”

No honest person could deny that fact, after the summer of 2020. How do we fix it? It won’t be a quick fix, that’s for sure. Despite record sales of books about anti-racism, there are still plenty of bigots walking around (whether they realize it or not).

And it’s not up to white people to step in and take over the “fixing.” That may surprise some of us who are not as “woke” as we think we are. It is up to us to extend a hand of friendship. To listen—really listen—to Black and brown people. And then to work in partnership with POC leaders who’ve been doing this for a long time already. They already know lots more than any latecomers have even thought of, yet.

This quote from the Dalai Lama says, “If we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster!”
Picture Quotes

Traditions in a time of turmoil

My sister wrote a great post for The Weird Blog this week, about New Year’s traditions and her unique spin on them. I think she has a good philosophy, about taking what works for you or adapting familiar ideas to new situations.

I’ve heard that a lot of people are adjusting their new year’s resolutions in response to recent events, opting for wiser, less stereotypical choices.

With this post, I’m reviving a tradition that I allowed to lapse in 2020, but I’m bringing it back in a new form. After my schedule grew too busy to continue my old practice of writing 2-3 blog posts each week, I reluctantly dropped the “Quote of the Week” and “Image of Interest” features. I simply didn’t have time. Alert followers of Artdog Adventures likely saw it coming, but I made it official in April.

Those posts got a lot of love over the years, though. And I missed them too! So I’m going to try a “Quotes of the Month” approach in 2021. That starts with this “After disaster” post you’re just finishing here. I plan, as much as possible, to make the first post of each month an essay-with-quote-images (and hope that effort won’t be a disaster). Please let me know what you think of them!


Many thanks for the illustrated quote from author Chuck Palahniuk, to Quotefancy. I’m grateful to Everyday Power for the quote from author Mandy Hale. Many thanks to BrainyQuote for the wisdom from industrialist John D. Rockefeller, and also for the quote from Russian empress Catherine the Great. Finally, many thanks to Picture Quotes, for the words of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

My brain has too many tabs open.

Too busy

According to the Wisdom of the Internet I am either too self-centered to be a good friend, or I’m powerfully purpose-driven. Either way, I’m too busy.

This quote from Mandy Hale says, "A person being 'too busy' is a myth. People make time for the things that are really important to them!"
Sorry, Mandy, I disagree. This concept that being “too busy” is a myth can be a really toxic idea. It belittles the struggles of those whose lives sometimes become overwhelming. If being too busy were a myth, then no one would ever need to set boundaries, or “‘make time’ for the things that are really important.” (Quote from LiveLifeHappy)
This image says, "My brain has too many tabs open."
This. Yes. This is how I feel too often, lately. (Quote from BrainScape)

What’s the problem?

These last few weeks have been packed, for me. Sometimes urgencies that are not under my control elbowed their way in. I was pulled away from work that took longer than expected, by planned things that “needed doing.”

I’ve missed normal schedules for blog posts (such as this one, for instance!). Stayed up too late, even for me (the graveyard shift is my most productive time). Been forced to drop some things half-done. 

And there you have the nub of it. I have a lot of unfinished business. Pulled away too often. Too many things dropped half-done.

This quote from David Allen says, "Much of the stress that people feel doesn't come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started."
David Allen makes a really good point. It’s true I have a whole bunch of stuff to do in a short period. But the picking-it-up-then-having-to-put-it-down-and-shift-focus routine is what makes me truly frazzled. (Quote image from TooMuchOnHerPlate).

Now, it’s not as if I’m running in place. I can see that incremental progress is indeed happening on several long-term goals. All that effort does appear to be having an effect. But I still feel I’m a long way from finishing several big priorities that mean a lot to me.

Why so busy?

It’s a busy season for me, for several reasons. It’s the turn of the year. That means it’s the end of a fiscal year for my personal business, Artdog Studio, as well as for my new LLC, Weird Sisters Publishing. Reports, wrapping up bookkeeping, and strategic planning for the year to come are all part of that.

My own personal blogging has been disrupted more than I expected by the need to prepare a post every week for The Weird BlogI’d gotten to the point where I was regularly producing three posts per week for Artdog Adventures, so I figured it’d be easy enough to add just one more, especially with my sister writing approximately half of them. 

Well, guess what? Not as easy as it looked.

On the personal front, there’s my 95-year-old father needing more care and attention (thank God the whole family’s pitching in on that), and my daughter’s chronic illness has flared up twice since the end of 2019.

But don’t forget the fun stuff

Oh, yeah, and there’s also making artwriting another bookshepherding the cover design process for two different books (more on those in future posts), and figuring out how to market everything.

This quote from Kangngaudaube Irang says, "Being busy is not a curse to mankind. Being busy is all about a struggle for better lives. And being busy is how you get to enjoy the real service of life. Being idle is empty. And being idle is being so small of your world. Stay busy."
Kangngaudaube Irang thinks more the way I do. I don’t like to be idle. It’s empty and It’s also boring. Being busy is better, as long as one doesn’t get too busy. It’s a difficult balance to walk. (Quote from YourQuote)

So, no. I’m not unhappy about my currently too busy life. To a certain extent I’m apologizing for my irregular blog-posting schedule. I also hope to offer a glimpse of what’s been going on with me. Next week, things should smooth out. Several major hurdles should be in the rearview.

And when I finally get to roll out some of those creative projects I’ve been working on, I dearly hope you’ll be pleased.

This quote from Eleanor Roosevelt says, "In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."
Here’s hoping I’m making the right ones, Eleanor!  (Quote image from TooMuchOnHerPlate).

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks toLiveLifeHappy for the quote from Mandy Hale, even though I respectfully disagree. I also want to thank BrainScape for the “too many tabs” image,  and TooMuchOnHerPlate for the quotes from David Allen and Eleanor Roosevelt. Finally, thanks also to Kangngaudaube Irang and YourQuote for the “stay busy” sentiment.

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