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

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

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

The Starving Artist: Chapter 43: Tale Of Two Gloves

I love sunny Saturdays. Especially if there is a garage sale involved. Now, as a poor starving artist, I don’t have the capability to walk into a store and purchase all those special details a showgirl needs for her showgirl bag of tricks. I have to be creative. And that means I have to beg, borrow and barter. Garage sales are a great forum to showcase my slowly developing skills. Of course, none of these transactions are high finance by any means, but they save my precious shekels for those complex costume pieces that can’t be bought.

After a lazy morning spent snuggled up with my fur baby, Mr. Sun invited us outside to play. So, Hubby and I leashed our beloved Jilly Bean and stumbled out into the daylight and towards a neighbouring complex. As we turned the corner we saw, the grass was covered with tablecloths and the fences were strung with hangered goodies. In this big city it’s always strange to know your neighbours, especially by name, but recently our tiny universe of misfits has grown substantially. And one of Hubby’s oke regulars was one of the lovely ladies soaking up the sun and selling the bits and bobs that take up space in teeny TO condos. The pack rat in me loves sorting through the disorganized piles and finding a cracker jack prize. On this day I found a pair of elbow length white satin gloves. There they were, draped over the shoulder of the bust form decorated with jewels and topped off with a jaunty brown derby. Their iridescent gleam catching the sun. They wanted to come home with me, so I made it happen. What follows next may seem obsessive, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Those gloves became my best friend. They followed me through my day and all weekend long. I took them off. I put them back on. I posed and peeled. I caressed and caught them. I tossed, twirled and twisted those gloves. I would catch my reflection in all the shiny flat surfaces offering it. The stove-top, the sliding glass door, the hallway full length mirror. There were reflections of white gloved elegance everywhere. Now, if you’ve never worn satin gloves for a weekend, it changes you. It alters the way you hold your hands. The way you pick things up, only to put them down again somewhere new. The slightest flick of the wrist becomes a dramatic and enthralling gesture, if you do it right.

Now, if you’ve been following along, you know that last week was my premiere as a burlesque performer. It was great. By that I mean I had a lot of fun. But, I worked on that act for almost 2 months. I had to build the whole thing from scratch, which is great for a DIY diva like me. But now what do I do? I have 1 finished act…that hardly seems like enough. So, the next step is creating another act. Yay! That’s my favourite part. Ask any artist and they’ll tell you the beginning is the most exciting. And I am back at the beginning. This burlesque thing might be perfect for me. It plays into my OCD, ADD and dare I say it…Narcissism. What am I trying to say? Well, I am saying that I am now building act #2 (pronounced Numero deux). And this act is gonna feature my new best friends. Those gloves and I are going to be quite the pair.

The Starving Artist: Chapter 43: Tale Of Two Gloves

The Starving Artist: A Break From Regularly Scheduled Programming

I know, I know, I am usually so on it, with it, powning it…but I am a little over stimulated. I have too much on too many plates, and they’re all spinning. Typically, I would give myself heck for not reaching my full potential…It’s just with moving, working full-time and all my extra-curriculars I have fallen into mental disarray. Plus, if I want to present a great first pass at my in-class performance- TODAY!!!, I have to focus on it. Trust me, I love being a modern woman and doin’ it all, but there aren’t enough hours in the day…There are only 24, you know. So, it is with great lamentation that I politely decline to blog. I know you’ll get over it. But Gracie will be around all week, falling all over herself just to talk to someone. And everyone deserves a summer holiday, right?

The Starving Artist: A Break From Regularly Scheduled Programming

The Starving Artist: Chapter 41: Crafternoon Delight

This weekend was a beautiful one. The weather was clear and hot. The air was fresh, filled with all the smells of summertime. The din overcome with the sound of laughter and music. The drum circle beating for the heart of the city. I walked Queen St with a bounce in my step. I did something nutty…I crafted all weekend. I crafted hard. I spent long hours literally wrapped up, immobilized, stabilized and helpless. It’s left me tired and happy.

With the promise of help from Hubby and a truckload of patience, understanding and work ethic from BFF, we started to build the most complicated yet integral plot prop I’ve ever conceptualized. Together we sat nestled for hours in the front yard of my high-density city living building. With nosy neighbours and concerned citizens inquiring as to our wellbeing…I think they meant mentally. With oblivious disregard to their giggles and questioning stares we forged onward. Empowered by the knowledge that great things raise the most eyebrows.

I sat in the grass with my BFF for two days; fabricating indestructible props of plaster proportions. I have started to implement my dream designs, taking her generous offer to help build my act for my upcoming shows. I needed the help. Trust me, I am not the easiest person to deal with when I can’t just do it myself. I don’t like being sidelined. I like to be in control. I like to win and I like it when things are done right the first time. I should know by now that those are also qualities BFF posses, plus she’s more patient…A lot more patient. (Again BFF, Thank you & I apologize)

As every crafter knows, the dream outcome is a lofty goal. Everything is possible when you’re in the dream design stage, but translating it to reality, well, that’s a different story. I am happy to announce these messy, soggy, drippy and slow-drying dreams have hit their mark and surpassed their design. They have become perfectly moulded, weird, wonderful, dreamy and just plain amazing. I am proud to announce this as the most successful crafternoon ever.

Now, it bugs me that I can’t tell you the details of this secret project, but it is my hope the reveal will be worth the wait. All I want to do it tell you every little detail of all the detail oriented tasks I have assigned myself. Keeping a secret has never been my strong suit, I am more of an open neckline playsuit kinda gal. This feeling of checking things off my dream wish list is amazing…exhausting, but amazing. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt artistic. I haven’t been inspired to achieve. I was stuck in a holding pattern, circling boredom. I would sit with fingers crossed, mouthing silently; begging who ever is in charge of this crazy thing called life for a break…I have longed for the power to inspire myself. In these art projects I have found the fabulous combination of control and creativity. I think I’ve finally found my place upon the wicked stage. It comes from being a crafty Vixen. Finally, I found my art in the heart of the city. And I am happy.

The Starving Artist: Chapter 41: Crafternoon Delight

The Starving Artist: Chapter 40: Lordy, Lordy, Look Who’s Forty!

Chapter Forty! That’s the top of the hill that people always talk about it being all down hill from. Things are supposed to get easy now right? If it’s all downhill than I should be able to coast. Well, as with most hills, they aren’t measured in chapters. It remains the same height regardless of how you count. It’s just that those numbers seem to have lost their meaning. The journey I started with such a focus on my numbers has shifted. Measurements becoming about fitness and function. The work becoming worth more than the number of days hired. The Starving Artist has become hungry for something more than the numbers.

Upon realizing what a special anniversary this was I thought I should do something special to celebrate. So, I glitter painted a brazier and helped finalize the pink gemstones. While sitting surrounded by newspaper I altered my costume…again. I love that I can change my act by changing my clothes. Hubby, BFF and I sat inside this rainy Sunday and we laid the ground work for some serious crafternoons in the near future, and I found myself smiling. Giddy with the thought that I was finally feeling the support I’ve been looking for. That’s not to say there was unsupported before, but this feels like the act of supporting. An action, speaking volumes. We are quickly pouring the foundation that a good artist structure relies upon. It’s not a rush construction job either, this crew is all union. Quality control has become the focus of each task. Together we work until well after sunset, stopping for appropriate meals and unionized breaks, of course. Foreman Jilly makes sure of that. Her demands to play, snuggle and poo sprinkled evenly throughout the work. Plus you can’t argue with the littlest boss-lady. That’s just un-union-ly…right?

Alright, so I’ve reached a milestone. (I’ve been told to relish my wins) But it simply marks how far I have come, not how much further I have to go. (I’m still a sad sack. Except now I relish my wins) It can feel defeating, like you’ve already done some much to only get THIS! far. In these times of emotional turmoil I turn to the meme of an eagle and the black framed motivational plaques for help. Each journey begins with a single step. It’s not the destination it’s the journey. There’s always going to be another mountain. Take a deep breath and feel better. (Whatever that means) So, treasured readers (all 7 of you) here’s to Forty amazing…or at least completed chapters of The Starving Artist. And here’s to a Gazillion more *hopefully* entertaining blogs*cheers.**

**Melicious Manners does not support morning drinking

The Starving Artist: Chapter 40: Lordy, Lordy, Look Who’s Forty!