A New Look & What I’ve Been Up To Lately

“I’ve Seen Better Days” ink & colored pencil on paper. Pretty much how I’m feeling today.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably notice things look a bit different. I figured it was about time to change things up and try a new design. I hope you like it! Here are a few other things I have been up to lately:

  • Visiting the ER with my husband and then trying to be a good nurse while he recovers from another back injury. I never realize how much he does on a daily basis until I have to do it instead! That is one reason why I didn’t do any YouTube vlog videos this week, just too much else going on.
  • Getting ready to participate in the upcoming Dayton Book Expo this Saturday. I hope I get to meet lots of eager readers and share my books!
  • Reading way too much Foo Fighters fanfiction.
  • Brushing up on my art history, particularly the abstract expressionism movement. Looking at awesome art by other people always inspires me to create my own!
  • Figuring out Tumblr (which seems a lot like Pinterest to me). Feel free to follow me on there if you want!
  • Selling some artworks (woot woot), including the one pictured above which I just finished yesterday!
  • Trying to figure out how teachers are expected to pay back outrageous student loans on the pay they get!
  • Munching on Chocolatey Strawberry Pop-Tarts, which are delicious!
  • Dreaming about how cool it would be to be a medical examiner (if I could get past the smells).

New YouTube Videos – “Lack of Motivation” and “What is a Hipster?”

For my Asperger’s video blog this week, I tackled the problems I struggle with when it comes to self-motivation. I also questioned whether these issues may stem from Asperger’s or something else.

I also made a short video asking the question “what the heck is a hipster?” (A question that everyone seems to have a different view on)

New YouTube Videos – “Autism Critics” and “Why I Love Outsider Art”

For my Asperger’s Vlog this week I focused on what I call “autism critics”, which are those people who think high-functioning autism simply doesn’t exist or those who criticize people with autism because they don’t think they show the right symptoms or have the symptoms bad enough to qualify for the autism diagnosis.

On my other new vlog video, I talked about the genre of outsider art – where the term comes from and why I consider myself an outsider artist.

Volume 2 of My Ebook Series “Stories Behind My Art” Now Available!

“Stories Behind My Art, Vol. 2″

This is just a short blog post to let everyone know that the 2nd volume in my Kindle ebook mini-series “Stories Behind My Art” is now available! In each volume of this ebook series, I share at least 20 of my recent artworks and talk about the story or inspiration behind each painting or drawing. I started this ebook series because I wanted to share my love for creating art with all my fans. The books feature a wide variety of artistic styles, including outsider, folk, naive, expressionism, cultural, primitive and abstract art. At only $.99 per Kindle download, each ebook in the “Stories Behind My Art” series is a great deal and a fun, quick read.

If you haven’t read Volume 1 yet, make sure you take a look at that too! (Please note that these art ebooks are best read on color devices if possible.) If you read and enjoy my new book please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads so that I will know!

New YouTube Videos – “Selective Mutism” and “Dealing with Artistic Rejection”

This week I decided to cover two topics that I still struggle with somewhat on a regular basis. The first video deals with selective mutism, which is often associated with Asperger’s Syndrome or other kinds of high-functioning autism. I discuss in the video how mutism affected me personally, especially in regards to school, work, anxiety and bullying.

The second video talks about dealing with the inevitable criticism or rejection that comes when you are employed in any kind of creative field (such as writing, art, music, etc.) I give some suggestions for how I have learned to deal with rejection and not take it so personally.

Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you really like the videos by commenting here or on YouTube. I am also open to suggestions for future topics!

Are You a Nowhere Man? All About Biases

The Beatles "Nowhere Man"

The Beatles “Nowhere Man”

I’ve said before that I think some of the best poetry snippets can be found in song lyrics. Not every musician or group writes great or even above-average lyrics, but when they do, I like to dissect the songs and really think about them. One song I have always felt a strong kinship with is “Nowhere Man” by The Beatles. I’m not sure many people really stop to think about the song as far as philosophy goes, but I find it full of a kind of zen-like wisdom.

I think perhaps my favorite lines from the song are:

“He’s as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see”

Do you know anyone like that? I know I sure do. I know people who are seemingly intelligent and caring, but are hopelessly blind to certain truths because they either don’t want to see them or because their minds are biased to a point where they can not see anything that doesn’t align with their personal beliefs. Even scientific studies have found this to be true…that our personal beliefs can affect our ability to see things clearly or even figure out simple problems.

When I used to be a foster parent, we had a class we had to take every so often that talked about how deeply bias affects us and the decisions we make, even when we are small children. A child who is biased to believe the world is cruel and unfair (from past neglect or abuse) will make their personal reality fit that view, even if their belief is not the current truth. They will see everything that they experience from that biased point of view and nothing will change their mind unless that bias changes.

I find that fascinating from a psychological point of view and have thought often of what that means when applied to human nature in general. Sometimes it rather discourages me because I understand that many people will choose to be blind or can’t help being blind to seemingly obvious truths no matter how much evidence they are given or how easily their beliefs could be disproven using logic and scientific reason. This makes me want to scream and shout in frustration sometimes. It also makes me worry about what biases I have in place that I don’t even notice. I guess the song was right when it asked, “isn’t he a bit like you and me?”

New YouTube Videos – “The Healing Power of Music” and “Poetry Elitists”

Hello everybody! This week for my vlog videos, I explored the healing and comforting abilities of music from a personal perspective and discussed the danger of “poetry elitism” among literary or academic circles.

In the first video, I talk about what kind of music moves me personally and list some of the musicians who have most influenced me over the years (it is only a partial list though, I could go on about music for a long, long time).

In the second video, I talk about the dangers of being a “poetry elitist”, especially when it comes to encouraging or influencing young and developing poets.