When To Blossom

"In Time, Blossom," Composite Scanogram by Mary Gow
“In Time, Blossom,” Composite Scanogram by Mary Gow
Over the last three years I’ve been writing almost every day. Some days the writing comes easily. Others, it’s a bit more challenging.

It’s gratifying to look at what I wrote a year ago and know that this year, my work reads better.

Last month = 37,217 words.

Two years ago I met up with a writer friend at a party and we agreed to touch base regularly to keep tabs on our progress.

That lasted a few months.

I had no problem being motivated to write each day. But I wasn’t ready to share it.

With anyone.

Over a dozen years ago I wrote a book for my master’s degree project.

I haven’t published it.

But I know I’ll publish several books.

In time.

It may not be the time line suggested in a course I’m taking on how to become a bestselling writer.

It may not be the timeline of notable inspirational writer/coach suggested in a consulation at a writer’s conference.

Even though I’ve had plenty of reasons to publish my essays, I haven’t . . . yet.

Sometimes I feel there must be something wrong because I write so many words each day. But I KNOW I will be publishing my books. I know.

My writing was first appeared in 1980 in the Dallas Morning News. I was working the Features Department and I got to write about upcoming events.

When I was 35 the Austin American-Statesman published a 2,000 word article I wrote for the cover of their Feature section.

Most recently, a few years ago I wrote features about local artists for the New Bernal Journal, then a local paper in San Francisco.

Today I found an essayist whose opinion resonated with me! And experience of being published “later” did too.

I didn’t pitch or publish my first piece online until I was 30 or 31.

I think it’s useful for everyone, no matter what stage of their career they’re at, to know it’s okay to write for yourself first—sometimes only for yourself. There are going to be things that you might need to work out on the page, alone, before you’re ready to share them more widely. I don’t think there’s always a rush. It’s okay to take the longer voyage.

– Nicole Chung


Who’s to say what the “right” time is to put your work out there?

Friends can give you ideas of when.

Coaches can help you stay on course.

Writer’s groups can give you feedback.

But in the end . . .

You know when the time is right.

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Scanogram: A New Look at a Rose

"Rose Fuschia," scanogram digitally manipulated, by Mary Gow.
“Rose Fuschia,” scanogram digitally manipulated, by Mary Gow.
My love for making photograms is one step removed by placing objects on the printer and scanning them instead of placing them on photo-sensitive paper under an enlarger in a photographic darkroom.

Not long ago I was delighted to find a stack of compositions produced by placing objects on my scanner/printer, then manipulating it further using Photoshop. I originally created them in hopes of getting into a show, which I didn’t get accepted in. But the images are worth sharing nonetheless!


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Following the Call

Day One, watercolor by Mary Gow
Day One, watercolor by Mary Gow
In the morning yesterday I read Seth Godin’s blog entry about accumulating 1,000 posts on your blog and how by around then things start to change and people start gaining momentum because they’ve put in the daily work of writing on their blogs.

For years, I’ve been explaining to people that daily blogging is an extraordinarily useful habit. Even if no one reads your blog, the act of writing it is clarifying, motivating and (eventually) fun.

A collection of daily bloggers I follow have passed 1,000 posts (it only takes three years or so…). Fortunately, there are thousands of generous folks who have been posting their non-commercial blogs regularly, and it’s a habit that produces magic. – Seth Godin

You can read the whole post at: https://seths.blog/2018/10/the-first-1000-are-the-most-difficult/

I’m on my way to 1,000.

Hope you enjoy it!

What motivates you to put your work out there?

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What is Nature Healing Immersion?

The mini-retreat begins as we enter Fitzgerald Nature Reserve at Moss Beach. Photo by Mary Gow.
We met at James Fitzgerald Preserve at Moss Beach, a tucked-away-becoming-popular alcove about thirty minutes south of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast. Our cars lined the entrance to the trail. A car trunk was open with folded blankets to sit on if we didn’t bring something already.

The mini-retreat’s full title drew me in: “InVisioning and Emergence:Trauma-Informed Art & Nature Healing Immersion.”

Our small group walked up to the bluff that overlooked the Pacific and looking down at the beach there were about twenty or so seals sun bathing. One Kodak moment I saw a baby seal eagerly scooting up to it’s mother.

It was one of those splendid cloud-free blue sky days on the coast, fog-free too.

Jovani, Dr. Lisa Chu and Ann Sullivan (left to right), lead the workshop. Photo by Mary Gow.
The event was hosted by Dr. Lisa Chu, MD, artist and SoulBodyMind Coach, Ann Sullivan, LMFT, art therapist and modern mystic and Jovani, improvisational sound healer and painter.

Lisa I already knew since she’s a fellow Chinese American female artist. I find her one of the most driven people I know tackling the sticky issues of the ancient wounds of women, especially Asian-American women, and at times particularly Chinese women.

When Ann Sullivan she said she was a “modern day mystic” I immediately resonated with her since she explained that it’s a way to say she’s a person seeking a spiritual path in modern times.

Jovani brought musical instruments to play, as she’s an “improvisational sound healer.” She brought a HAPI drum, a small cast iron drum was about ten inches wide and eight inches tall, that made deeply resonant sounds I thought were from a much larger drum!

About Moss Beach
The three workshop leaders created a safe space to spend three hours exploring our own healing.

We took time to introduce ourselves as we sat in a circle. Then we listened to healing music, free to make any sounds we felt like making.

For the next hour we roamed about the woods in silence and could make any sort of art we chose, they brought the materials.

Thinking was discouraged yet I found myself doing exactly that.

There’s no right or wrong though.

"Completion," color pencil drawing by Mary Gow
“Completion,” color pencil drawing by Mary Gow
After that hour we went around the circle and showed what we created.

The music and sound, art making, breathing, walking in Nature soothed me.

Sitting under the canopy of tall trees quieted my inner chatter.

I was practicing just being.

Being with Nature.

Being natural.

What a gift.

I thought how can I create a new habit of ending each week with a bit of Nature?

Nature refreshes me.

Making sounds was healing.

An afternoon of sensory immersion in Nature reminded me that even if we only can spare minutes, an hour, or once a week or month, it’s urgently important to give ourselves the gift of quiet moments in nature. You don’t have to attend a workshop to do it.

But it doesn’t hurt.

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