Dear Friend

Dear Friend,
I know it has been quite sometime since I have sat down to this computer to input all the things in my brain, and that perhaps you may have missed my mentalities. But have no fear, John Cleese and Woody Allen have set me straight. I know what you’re thinking; “Gosh, that girl has friends in high places!”. Well, take comfort in the knowledge that you too could know them as well as I do, if you spent way too many consecutive hours trolling the internet; instead of actually being productive. But no matter the medium the lessons remain.
Let us begin with Johnny-boy, I can call him that, cuz he’ll never read this. In a recent column for Cracked, he reminded me that anything worth doing is worth doing for free, until you can convince someone to pay you for it. That little by little is the only way to consume an elephant. Oh, and there was also something about how getting what you want might be a lot harder than you ever thought it could be, but that doesn’t change the fact that you want it.
On the other hand Woody Allen’s reputation and repertoire speak for themselves. His work ethic is unparalleled. With over 75 movies under his writing, directing and starring belt, he is proof that if you make it, they will come. A true testament to the fact that, no matter what you do, if you like it, if it makes you laugh, think, cry, ache, it will effect another. Period. Full stop. The only thing stopping people from loving your body of work, is that you haven’t created a body of work.
It is with those ideologies, that I launch myself back into cyber-space. I challenge myself to keep growing as an artist. A writer. A performer. A beautiful disaster. And I hope that you will re-enlist as a reader. A cheerleader. And all out fanatic…though, I might have to be earn that last one. But I’ll take that bet, and roll the dice, and go all in, if it means someone will appreciate my body…of work that is.

Hearts and Stars,
Melicious Manners

Captain of her Destiny Ship

Dear Friend

Lady Needs A Break

Ladies and Germs,
I have always been a happy multi-tasker. I love having many strings of my life weaving the beautiful tapestry of my story. But sometimes, those threads get too long and tangled. This is where I am right now. I am working on too many different projects with too many bosses and not enough sleep. So, as my creative self is stifled, rushed and in disarray, I must release myself from the self-imposed pressures of performance. I love writing this blog, but my fingers have been and continue to be, otherwise occupied. And I have to be okay with that- cuz that’s the way it is. So, until after things settle down, which doesn’t look like that long from now, I am going on hiatus.

Sad, I know, but this is the perfect opportunity for you to catch up on a nearly perfect year of blogging. Thanks for your ongoing support & love, it’s helped me the whole way. And I look forward to getting back to this again soon.

Love and glitter,
Melicious Manners

Lady Needs A Break

The Starving Artist: Chapter 53: Student Teach Thyself

Humans are designed to consume information. There are books and magazines. There are blogs and websites and conventions and lectures. The world around us is bursting with delectable knowledge to munch on. Everyday is full of appetizing opportunities to fill our minds. As children we learn from our parents. In school, we learn from our teachers. And as grown ups we learn from each other. Now, what we learn depends on where we learn it and how we’re taught. And since no two students learn alike, how can we quantify what knowledge is truly and deliciously powerful?

With the ever increasing availability of information, it is difficult to sift through and find the knowledge we need to survive, thrive and pass along. In this world of high tech, low connection interactions; FB status updates and Instagram poses have become our main source of human contact. Which is great on so many universal levels, let’s all agree on that, but can be the cause of so many other issues that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. As an internet savvy society, we are able to be active observers in the lives of those around us without actually participating. This is where knowing and doing meet and split. I find this passivity has made me lazy. Just because I know what someone wants to show me is going on in their lives, doesn’t mean I’ve actually learned anything about them. I miss long winded phone calls and brief catch-ups and brunches with long lost friends. I miss late night gab sessions filled with tears and toils over boys and truly learning who all these people are, not just who they want the world to think they could be. I want to learn about the real, damaged and delightful them.

Now, as a person with multiple personas, I can see my opinion being negated by they fact that my public identity and my private one are often at odds with each other, but I am learning to live in the spaces where my realities cross-over. Those lovely green and purple areas of life. My identities include: Gracie the kindest, sweetest and most humble version of myself. She is the person I would be if the rest of the world wasn’t such a jerk. I’ve learned it’s easy to be an optimistic sweetie pie on stage and online. Now, Melicious is a bit more vile. She gets mad with those jerks for being Jerks, and then there’s Melissa, who knows that she’s a jerk most of the time. The happy green mix of yellow and blue is learning that even if all of my identities merged into one, there would still be a world full of jerks both online and off and dealing with it daily. In the end, I guess the most powerful knowledge is learning who you are, what you want and what you’re willing to do to get it. I am willing to go for it and now I am trying to learn how to do so. Hello, my name is Gracie, Melicious and Melissa and I am an information over-eater and highly sought after trivia teammate. And I just needed to share that knowledge with you.

The Starving Artist: Chapter 53: Student Teach Thyself

The Starving Artist: Chapter 52: Learning To Say No

As an artist I have found myself being asked to provide my craft for free. To perform for exposure. Without thought to effort, time or cost. And in the past I have taken all those gigs; anything just to share my talent with an audience. Gaga says it best: ‘I live for the applause.’ Now, as an artist I know it’s difficult to quantify what my craft is worth. But I know for dang sure it’s not free. And I cannot live on the applause.

So, lately I’ve found myself expanding my vocabulary. And I’ve found comfort in one tiny word: NO. So small but so mighty. Oh yeah. It feels good. Like taking back the power position in my art. And making a choice to make art instead of flinging as much as possible at the wall; hoping for something to stick. If I choose what I do, when, for what and why, I can hold myself to a higher standard. I become a creator with passion instead of pressure. Cuz if all I’m doing creatively is taking on more so I can take on more, then all those important and paying gigs are devalued. And if I devalue my art, how could I expect anyone else to see it’s worth?

Since I’ve started using no, I’ve noticed the yeses increasing. Now, I know that the universe is about balance. So, turning something off, turns something else on. When you start rewarding yourself the universe congratulates you and gives you a, wait for it, reward. By saying no, you can decide who you want to be as an artist- and better focus on that. You can start creating better art for a better world. But seriously now, don’t get me wrong, I love freebies. I can’t say no to a promo gift bag;)

The Starving Artist: Chapter 52: Learning To Say No

I Fished My Wish!

I know, I know it’s TalkBack Tuesday, but I took yesterday off for my Birthday weekend celebration wrap up. If you know me, then you know I have troubles surrounding my Bday- which of course stem from mild childhood disappointments exaggerated over time blah blah blah first world problems. And if you remember last year was a disappointment; as the Commish was in attendance in all his pleasure wrecking glory. But I pledged that this year was gonna be better and it was; here’s why.

1. I was specific about what I wanted to do and who I wanted to do it with.

2. I asked for my a few of my wanted-needs. Those things I feel weird buying myself and avoid doing because deep down I’m a cheapo.

3. There was no pressure. It was planned spontaneity. Which is my favourite.

4. I performed, which is my first love. And though it’s ‘work’ it’s something I’d like to do a lot more of…even on my birthday.

5. The Commish was banned from all birthday proceedings. Yeah he was! And thankfully he kept his distance.

6. I am happier in my everyday life than I have ever been. Which is amplified by special occasions…which bodes very well for the upcoming holiday season.

I guess what I wanted to say to all those FB messages, the strangers who sent over bday shots and my many social circles was- ‘Good job, folks! That’s a wrap on Project Bday 2013.’
Special shout outs go to my Hubby who spoiled me, BFF who bookended the weekend nicely, GFF and my on the road Showgirls. You know, I’m starting to think this whole Birthday thing should be a yearly tradition. Though I’m willing to try it quarterly. ❤

I Fished My Wish!

Spin Gracie Spin

Once upon a time there was a happy little burly gal named Gracie. Now, she was no ordinary girl. She was a little off kilter. Not in a sad or embarrassing way, but in a never know what you’re gonna get- chocolate kinda way. And lately she’s been feeling a little nuts. Mind you, that’s way better than feeling sherry-cherry filled, which is just gross.

Now, this beautiful little disaster has been a busy little body, trying to juggle all her different lives and loves. She’s usually pretty organized, but lately she’s been close to dropping plates, balls and spilling milk all over the place. Which stinks, cuz she doesn’t have time to replace any broken dishes from the matching set of 12 or cry over the milk? Not Gracie, that’s who.

Gracie is a girl on the move with many irons in the fire. And the craziest part is she’s constantly looking for more to do, more places to be, more costumes to be made and more…well, just more of everything. In the coming months Gracie is undertaking and overstretching and happy to do so.

I guess the moral of the story is: If you’ve got a problem, yo, She’ll solve it. Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it. And if you ask this chocolate covered-milk spilling- iron firing- nut nicely enough, I’m sure I can fit it in somewhere. Or just throw it to me on the count of three and then don’t move, cuz all this juggling is making me dizzy.

Thanks for the lovin’,
Gracie in the Middle. For more showgirl sentiments check out: gracieklutz.com

Spin Gracie Spin

The Starving Artist: Chapter 50: Kick, Stretch & Kick, I’m 50

Wowsa, can you believe I’ve written over 50 chapters of the Starving Artist? I mean, I can barely recall a Monday without serious cyber reflection. Now, not all of these entries have been deep or even meaningful, but they’ve all been a slice of me. And a benefit of sharing myself I have been about to shed unwanted weight, both physically and emotionally. This blog has become somewhat of a dumping ground for my overactive and cluttered brain. A healthy and hyperspace form of nearly free therapy. But the part I’m most surprised by is how much I’ve learned about myself and how much happier I’ve become.

In the past, I’ve found it hard to celebrate the little wins. I glean over them onto the next without pausing to think about how things have changed. Speaking of celebration, I am 20 days away from another milestone, my birthday. For some people getting older is tough. It’s as though they see life as a hallway with doors closing as they walk past. A journey with fewer and fewer detours. They treat life like the tedious daily grind it can be. As though each day is just another brick in the wall. The shuffle of tired feet and the shuffling of papers. A sad and sorry state of affairs if you ask me. I’ve always considered myself an optimism expert with a dark side. But in these last few months I’ve been feeling evermore that life is a tisket, a tasket, a little yellow basket. And this basket can hold as much life as I can carry; and with all the exercise I’ve been doing lately, I’m pretty strong.

Over the past 50 Mondays my life has changed and rearranged and continues to shape shift. As though my journey is aimed in the general direction of happiness, but the ocean of life keeps tossing me to and fro. Though if you know me, you know even stormy weather has a silver lining. The biggest secret I am busting to share though is: Even in a sea of trouble you can sail on a boat named Happiness. It’s all about how you read the maps. And today’s maps read like Thank you cards. There are so many things to be thankful for, and I am thankful for most of them. I am thankful that I’ve stuck to my guns. I am thankful that I am creating art again. I am thankful to be back in the work saddle again. I am thankful for dreary Sundays I can fill up with knick-knack nuggets that needed my attention. I am thankful for a Hubby who wears my gloves. I am thankful for my inspiring BFF. I am happy to feel at home. And I am happy to be 50, without looking a day over 32…for at least 20 more days.

The Starving Artist: Chapter 50: Kick, Stretch & Kick, I’m 50