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I Have Met the Gatekeeper...and She is Me


I haven’t blogged in some time. But this past month was filled with all the feels and the beginnings of new chapters. We joyfully celebrated our youngest son’s marriage to the love of his life. We tearfully said goodbye to an amazing woman who filled the world with light and laughter. And I anxiously observed one of those milestone birthdays. You know, the ones that make you look back. And wonder. And ask difficult questions.

 

You see, I have suffered from chronic anxiety since my mid-teens. Fifteen to be exact. When something happened that I never ever, ever thought could happen. From that moment on, I’ve lived in fear that something terrible could happen again, at any moment. It also resulted in my questioning every decision – if I could make one at all – and ruminating on the ‘what could I have done different? Better?’

 

Yes, I’ve been through therapy. Multiple times. I have a supportive, loving family. I’ve been encouraged by brilliant mentors and critique groups and friends. And yet...

 

*pauses while writing to consider what I could have done different...better*

 

This past week, I attended the Shiny Squirrel Summit, hosted by the delightful and talented Marisa Anne Cummings, where attendees learned from multiple gifted minds in the field how to earn a living as an artist. If you missed this one, I highly recommend the next.

 

As per usual, it had me asking questions. How do I start? I asked myself. Where do I fit in here? I was filled with inspiration. Knowledge.

 

Fear.

 

And that’s when it hit me. Hard. The reason I was never able to answer ‘where’ I fit, is because I never believed I ever fit in at all.

 

Look, I’m great at telling others not to listen to the ‘no’-it-alls. But for me, the call was coming from inside the house. Inside my brain. And I was listening. Oh, how I was listening.

 

It occurred to me that I’m not simply a Shiny Squirrel (running from one shiny thing to the next.) I’m an Anxious Shiny Squirrel. Not exactly suited for the best acronym, right?

 

So now, it’s time to stop. I’m not talking about all the shiny things (I’ll always love that!), but I need to quell the constant doubt. I know it won’t be easy, but I have to drown out negative chatter that plays on a loop in my head.

 

Sure, I share my work. I submit. But it’s a mere trickle in the gush that passions me from within.

 

I realized that May 1st was When A Dragon Moves In’s thirteenth birthday. Not only is it still in production, but it was also Susan Uhlig’s selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday this past week. This. Past. Week. After thirteen years. That is something to celebrate. (A huge shout out to editor Shari Dash Greenspan of Flashlight Press and illustrator Howard McWilliam, without whom Dragon would not exist!) And a much better sound bite to echo in my brain.

 

I’ve had a few ideas buzzing around in my head and in my heart for a while now. I think it’s time to let them out. To let them fly. To allow my 15-year-old self to open that gate...and walk through. She deserves it. I do too.

 

So why start blogging again? One, I need to get over my fear of sharing my process. My art. Two, I need to hold myself accountable and I think (I hope) journaling will help with that. Three, (I do love the rule of three), I’m hoping that it will help someone else out there, someone who also gated themselves in long ago, to realize the passion, the positivity, and the power within themselves.

 

Won’t you join me?

 

 

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6 Comments


khalsey3
May 11

Jodi, what a brave and wonderful post. I feel this and you! All my life I've felt like I belong everywhere but also nowhere! TY.

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writerjodimoore
May 11
Replying to

Since all speakers discuss the business of art/money-making opportunities, I think all creatives (artists, illustrators, writers) can definitely learn something from the sessions. You may need to get a bit more 'creative' to apply the info, but that's what we do, right? ;) I believe they'll hold another in the future. Keep checking Marisa's website. Best of luck! 😊

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Paul Liadis
Paul Liadis
May 06

You saw on Facebook where I posted a story I wrote a long time ago. I just read it and man, it's really good. My daughter is graduating high school and that has me re-evsluating everything. Mostly time and what is gone and what remains. And I probably need to write again. Because I wasn't bad at it.

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writerjodimoore
May 06
Replying to

Paul, you're not only not 'bad' at it, you're really GOOD at it. Seriously, the stories you shared with us during our meetings were truly gripping...and I know I'm speaking for everyone when I say we looked forward to the next installment with great anticipation. You know how to write characters we care about in situations you paint in the most dramatic and colorful way. You MUST start writing again. You MUST!

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