Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Where'd She go? Again.

Yes, I got "Squam-ed" and then disappeared. Sorry about that, but I do have a good excuse and a note from my mom. My excuse: I have been simultaneously getting divorced AND writing the sequel to Totally Tangled.
I don't recommend trying this at home. It leads to lack of sleep, chemical imbalances, bad skin, weight gain and general chaos and insanity. And that's just from the book. Don't even get me started on the divorce!

I had gone looking for a book about how to get divorced, you know, something like The Idiot's Guide to Divorce. But, no, I never found one that actually made sense. I did, however, get a lot of really good (and lots of bad) advice from friends. The two most useful things I learned are: 1. Get a lawyer.  And 2. There is no such thing as a "friendly divorce." I mean what are you thinking?! If you could argue about the kids, money, schedules, and keeping promises... in a "friendly" way... you wouldn't be getting divorced would you!? Ah well. I did just recently find an excellent book, that sums it all up, called Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. It's by Lisa Scottoline of mystery book fame. Her name on the cover is actually what attracted me to the book rather than the title. It's a collection of essays she wrote for newspapers and magazines about her life - including ex-husbands (she calls them "Thing One and Thing Two"), Spanx, mothers, daughters, the King Tut exhibit, and lots of insights about dogs. They are all wickedly funny and many make you think (ouch). In case you are wondering, I am vaguely considering getting a dog (although I am allergic to them). I am NOT considering getting a second husband - I think I am allergic to them too. If anyone has a good recommendation for a dog, please let me know. I don't like dogs that make me sneeze, drool, are scary, can eat my kids, or should have been a cat. If there are any others, PLEASE let me in on the secret.

As for the second excuse, "I was writing a book." - that one has been almost as stressful, but much more pleasant and exciting too. This is one of those stressors that is on your bucket list, but gets turned into a "to-do" list item because of all the other crap that pushes it over there. Do you know what I mean?
At the beginning of the summer, I was so overwhelmed by all the "doors" that were opening around me, that I contacted a creativity coach, who I had worked with in the past. I emailed Judith Godfrey and said "Help! All my dreams are coming true!" It's like my Irish grandfather always said "Be careful what you wish for, you may get it." And isn't that secretly one of our greatest fears? I often find that I will shoot myself in the foot rather than find out what would happen if my idea became a success. So this whole year has been a series of pushing my limits to see what might happen if I actually say "Yes!" to the things I have always wanted. This is really scary stuff and impossible to plan for. If a door opened, in the past I would say "I don't have time" or "I don't know how to do that" or some other excuse, and just walk past. I have been daring myself to at least look through the doors now, if not take a step through. But what I am finding is an entirely NEW hallway filled with doors behind EACH of those opening doors. Can you imagine the excitement... and the horror? If you follow this analogy, you can see how easy it is to get lost and overwhelmed. The divorce may seem like a sudden and shocking thing to many of you. But in reality, it is just anther door that I have been tiptoeing past for years. And writing books? I joined SCBWI (Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators) when I was 15 years old - back when they were still "SCBW" no "I" yet. I sent my picture books out to dozens of editors for years and years before I gave up. I think I was just wandering around the wrong hallway.

So, this second book started out as one thing, then Suzanne asked me to put it on hold and write a sequel to Totally Tangled... and last night, as I was desperately trying to lay out the pages... I realized, crud! It's not all going to fit into 52 pages! I have amazing work from a ton of different Zentangle artists and the last thing I wanted was to cut anything they had done. So I started cutting all the stuff that I had drawn. My projects, my ideas... at midnight I threw some stuff across the room and stomped out of the studio. You see where some of the stress comes into play here? Abundance can be very stressful! The book is technically due at the end of the month, and my husband had the kids for the past five days, so I have done nothing but work on this book. Today I take over mommy duties again, and I have two weeks left til book deadline (and the divorce changes take effect too) and I feel like a wild animal caught in the headlights. Have I mentioned I'm not good with last minute things? I went to bed completely panicked.

This morning, I jumped out of bed with the horrible realization that what I actually had was... TWO BOOKS! That's a good thing, right? An overabundance of material that can become two separate books is a good thing. It's a good thing! It's good.... good.... good...

26 comments:

  1. WOW! That's not easy to deal with such changes in life!
    I hope everything is going to be OK and wish you good luck for your personal and writing life!!!

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  2. I am sorry (or is that glad?) for your divorce ... but YES you have material for another TWO books! Looking forward to them both!

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  3. I'm glad you're back. And wow! You with the books, so awesome! My advice, get a rabbit instead :)

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  4. Great to see you online again, Sandy. And even better news that you have enough for 2 new books - your fans will be delirious! It's good to see you haven't lost your sense of humor through all this, hang in there. Lots of folks are rooting for ya.

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  5. I am really excited for your changes and even though the flow can be scary, you will do great. We can all feel it!

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  6. Sending good thoughts as you walk through this stressful time. Please keep YOUR work in YOUR book. We buy your books because we like your work. The contributors are getting a freebie - but you are putting blood, sweat and tears into the book and deserve to be well represented. Some of the contributors material can go into the sequel - how wonderful -as you realized this morning - to have some material ready to go for that! : )

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  7. Glad to have you back - have really missed reading your blog. So inspiring. Love the 'door' analogy - will follow your lead and peek through the next one rather than heading in the opposite direction.

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  8. Congratulations on it all! Even though it might not seem like something to be congratulated for yet, given all the stress, so consider this a Congratulations in advance.

    If I could get a dog, if my landlord would let me, I would definitely get a PUG. Short haired & small, but definitely not cat-like. They are adorable!

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  9. Christina VandervlistOctober 20, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    I'm so glad to see you back; I really enjoy your blogging and artwork. I, too, have ignored the doors and closed my eyes to windows and yes, much of that was connected to behaviours that let me survive my marriage. With two children, an ability to earn a living and art to keep my (in)sanity, I am carving a path that I never expected, planned or foresaw, but it's much better than what lies behind. Chin up, eyes forward and get a cat!

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  10. Cheers to you Sandy for doing what you do! Keep at it. Two books, yes that sounds a good thing to me!

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  11. There are a few breeds of dog that are good for those with allergies, as they have no dander. One is the Wheaten Terrier (my brother-in-law has one). Very best wishes coming your way!

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  12. SO good to see a post from you! Bummer about the divorce. It took until Version 3.0 for my happiness to change...
    And we have a toy poodle, because Mr Beloved is allergic to other dogs and wanted a smart dog. Sometimes we regret that part - she outwits us 9 times out of 10!

    CAN'T WAIT to see the new book - all the very best to you!

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  13. Well, you certainly have been busy. Congratulations on your new books and good luck with your new life. A good friend of mine calls her ex-husband her "was-band". It works well, don't you think?

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  14. you were missed!! but that's quite the excuse... two books, so cool! good for you to reach that conclusion - to cut your own work up where you don't want to do that to everybody else's work... is a little warped! but I totally understand where you're coming from :) lots of good luck with your pots of gold!! & wishing you strength where you need it!

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  15. I'm new to the world of Tangling and have been hugely inspired by your blog. I'm trying to find out if my local bookstore in Mumbai can get me a copy of your book, otherwise I'm gonna have to put it on my Christmas list :D
    Looking forward to the next book(s) too!

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  16. Here is another piece of advice (I'm sure you are up to your ears with advice) -- be sure to listen to your body and take good care of yourself. I know I'm stating the obvious. I think it is wonderful that you have all of these great opportunities during a difficult transition. There will come a time when you look back and see this time as turbulent but highly charged with creativity. I look forward to seeing your books!

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  17. Hi, Sandy,
    I recently discovered your blog (after attending Odyssey and getting turned on to Zentangles) and enjoy your posts. Amazing that with all the tough stuff you are going through, you still manage to sound optimistic and energized. Hang in there, you will be fine! I look forward to reading the book you recommended, being an 11 year survivor of divorce!

    I have cats, myself, because I live in a Northeast city and can't face the idea of 6 a.m. walks in the snow, but if I could get a dog, it would be a standard poodle, because they are smart, calm, and wonderful friends. They are also dander free, so you wouldn't have a problem!

    Keep doing what you're doing, and trust your inner guidance system. <3

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  18. How many times did that damn door hit me in the face? :-) I ended up getting a pet rock, cheaper, simpler and more friendly :-)

    You know I'm lining up for your books. Love your work, love your attitude. Can't wait.

    I'm still hanging out for Kevin Costner :-)

    Dale

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  19. Two books sound awesome. Sounds like you've earned the possible break that might come with the second book already started; perhaps the universe planned that way all along to reward you for the hard work and challenges you are coming through now.

    As for the dog issue, I recommend stuffed. No walking required in the snow, no dog breath, and they don't chew up your shoes. Strength and light to you with the conclusion of your divorce.

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  20. Thanks everybody! Your comments are very reassuring. :-) As for the dogs - I am a cat person at heart... but the stuffed dog sounds perfect right now. I need to ask Santa for one of those big, plush, life-like ones they have at FAO Schwarz! And Claire - I'm happy to send a book to Mumbai! You can order one at my Etsy shop (Bumblebat) I'm working on the new book and I PROMISE I will post an update here soon. I need 9 unbroken hours of sleep first. I'm useless with only 4.

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  21. I have two words for you -- Rescue Remedy. I like the kid's version because it's sweet. Hang in there!

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  22. oh, goody, goody! two books!! I can't wait!! Take good care of yourself, and uh, I know you said cat but if you ever do get a rabbit, name it Stewart. I always thought Stew would be a cool name for a rabbit. :)

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  23. What can I say? You're a rockstar - and an inspiration for me to test those doors & hallways in my life too! Take care of yourself . . .

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  24. Thought you said you gained weight but getting a divorce means you are dropping a lot of pounds that are no use to you (Your Ex)
    Really looking forward to the books why can't you do one that is twice as long?
    Hope you sleep well and remember If you are going through Hell Keep going!!! and It will be alright in the end if it is not all right it is not the end. I favour the toy dog. you have enough to do without getting a pet.

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  25. It seems to be the time of year when so many of us are going through hard times. I have moved again, hopefully this time for more then 3 months. I got to see my grandson for 13 hours after Thanksgiving, and after sharing some stuff with me and begging me to "rescue" him, I had to make a call. I haven't been allowed to speak to him since, and don't know when I'll see him or talk with him again. But he is safe, and being watched over. I'm more Mom then Gramma, so my heart is breaking a bit each day. I finally found a nice home for my dog and I, having lost everything again, I am hoping this will be a nice new beginning. Still renting just a room, but at least I'm not in the street. My health is better, I hope, go to the specialist again Tuesday, and I met a very caring man after 10 years of being alone, and never having a caring, loving man in my life. But I'm so independent its hard to let the walls down. Taking it very slow. At 51, what else do I have to lose? I hope you heal quickly Sandy, just got my book Zentangle book, thanks for getting it to me so fast. I try to do a new pattern each day. A regular schedule helps keep me sane. I gave my grandson a bunch of patterns and a book to work on, to help him stay calm during this difficult time. I miss him so. He's been in my life every day since he was born, now 8 yrs. Trying to find a lawyer, but that takes money. I'll get through it though, with my friends and Tangle buddies. I don't share with anyone else the way I do here. Sorry to take up your time, please concentrate on healing, and know that all your fans and friends are praying for you. Have a lovely weekend.
    Ms. Dayle Mathis

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  26. So near and yet so far... I've seen you around but had no idea all that you were going through. I guess folks don't just start a heavy conversation at a brief sidewalk meeting on a chilly day. Anyway, checking out this blog thoroughly has been a real eye opener. I'm sorry for all your struggles and will pray for thorough healing on all fronts. Oh, and I'm with Brandi... get a bunny. Love ya! Laurie

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