Essays

The runaway writer

This year has worn me out. It’s also been the most glorious learning experience, with multiple pivots down different paths. There’s one final pivot for me before the year’s up.

I’m done being a runaway writer.

Not all paths are linear. Most of them curve. Lots of them double back on themselves.

Tell me more…

For the past 3 years, I’ve been on a path to be a life coach (I’ll ignore the various niches I tried and use the broader term for now). In late 2017, I enrolled in a year-long coach training school, excited to learn new skills which I believed would open doors to entrepreneurship and freedom.

On some level, that belief came true. I started my business in early 2018. I learned about marketing. I made lots of connections. I evolved and grew personally.

But the one area where I never quite succeeded was building a client base. I’ve had a few, and they were and are delightful human beings. I’m blessed and grateful they chose me to be a part of their journey. However, I discovered the work didn’t satisfy me in the way I’d anticipated.

That’s because I remained in a state of denial, one I’ve occupied since childhood. I wanted to work for myself but I refused to allow myself to consider the one dream I’ve always had. Instead, I tried to fill the void with something more “practical”, like being a coach.

Face palm

Denial is a river in Egypt…

From as early as 4th grade, I’ve dreamed of being a writer. In that dream, I saw myself penning (these were the days before computers) fabulous novels and delightful children’s books, a famous author with New York Times Best Sellers under my belt.

Through high school and university, I took every writing course I could fit into my schedule because I had to write. You’d think college essays and blue book exams would have satisfied my writing itch, but nope, I wanted more and I chose it.

But even with this dedication to extra writing assignments, and a vision of writing for a living, I still wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I graduated from college and went to work, because that’s what responsible adults do. I didn’t have the financial reserves to pour myself full time into writing a novel and I couldn’t get a job as a writer.

Looking back, I don’t think I even tried. I suspect I thought no one would hire me. Funny how we’re our own worst enemies, isn’t it?

I figured I’d write on my lunch breaks and at home in the evenings and on weekends. I sort of did. The writing came in fits and spurts.

I polished a children’s story I’d written my last year in high school. I started a novel (or three). I tried to find an agent to help get that children’s story published. When I didn’t succeed with getting representation, I allowed defeat in the door. That was a couple decades ago.

Since then, I’ve had numerous blogs. Some private. Most public. I’ve started more novels. I’ve written a couple more children’s books. I’ve continued to write poetry (and published a book of my favorites). I’ve always written but I gave up the dream of calling myself Writer, Author. I told myself I didn’t have it in me, to tell the stories that play in my mind, and then send them out into the world.

Then a recent conversation about joy and ease and what I really want opened that door marked Defeat. My lifelong dream of being a Writer, of being an Author, came floating out from behind that door and lit up my energy center with the vibrancy of a neon sign.

I’m done denying.

I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.

What’s next…

When I re-dedicated myself to my fiber art practice in 2014, I knew I’d start a blog and website for my art because I knew I’d need to write about the work I was creating. This is that site. It will remain that site.

In recent months, I’ve begun posting other essays here, beyond my art. I’ve written about being an artist. I’ve written about creativity. I’ve written about joy and ease. I’m going to keep doing that.

And now I’m going to take it further.

I’ve released the coaching business – again. I’m done looking for clients. If someone wants to work with me in that way, they’ll find me and we’ll talk.

Instead, I’m going to focus on creating my art and my writing. I’m going to share that writing with you, an essay a week.

I’m looking forward to writing on a variety of topics – from living a life of joy and ease to creating feelings out of fiber (my textured fiber paintings) to finding the absurd in the ordinary. My writing will continue to have a spiritual twist to it and I’m giving myself permission to insert the snark and occasional NSFW language that’s part of who I am.

From time to time, I’ll share excerpts from the books I’m writing, too.

Because I am an Artist, a Writer, a Poet, a Joy and Ease Believer and I am done running away from the dream I’ve had all along.

With joy and ease…

I hope you’ll stick with me on this journey to claim my Writer’s identity. I’ll still write essays to inspire because that’s what I do. I’ll also write essays to make the reader laugh or think or dream, maybe even argue. I want to share my stories with you, like I share my poems when I publish a new artwork.

When I finally accepted life is meant to be lived with joy and ease, the decision to be the person I’ve always dreamed of being became clear.

So I hope you hang with me. If you’d rather not, you can always unsubscribe. I’ll be sorry to see you go, but I want you to be true to yourself as I’m being true to me.

(P.S. Please don’t be hasty to depart if that’s what you’re thinking!! I’m sharing an essay next week that’s some of my best work. It’s a humor piece on the absurdity of the ladies’ room. I promise you’ll laugh your ass off. 😉 )


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you enjoyed this article, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!

(Feeling) Depression – New Work!

New work! I recently completed (Feeling) Depression so today I’m sharing photos of this new textured fiber painting. I’m also sharing a little about my most recent experience with depression and the valuable lesson I learned from this feeling.

(As I always do, I’ve written a poem that goes with this piece. To read it, please visit my poetry website – www.piningforpoetry.com.)

© 2020, Hilary Clark, “Depression”, Fiber, 34-½” x 23-¼”
Photo credit: Rocco Danna

(Feeling) Depression…

I’ve experienced depression my whole life and have been fortunate to be able to manage it without the aid of medication (although I have always remained open to taking an antidepressant if the depression became persistent).

My depressive episodes typically only last a few days. Shifting myself up and out of the grey blue space was managed by focusing my attention on something outside myself. This practice worked for years.

Until recently.

I don’t know if it’s this pandemic year, or relocating across country in the midst of said pandemic, or general loneliness, or something more that produced an extended sink into the depths of depression this past summer. It’s likely some combination of all of these. All I really know is I began to feel blue in late summer and it evolved into feeling grey as summer became fall. The grey space remained until mid-October.

During that time, I kept showing up for my business. I kept showing up for my art. I kept showing up for myself and for those who love me. The one thing that helped me cope with what felt like a lost, lonely broken heart sunk deep within the grey was creating this piece.

I started it in mid-September, when the depression was fierce. As I created this artwork, I immersed myself in what I was feeling. I let tears flow when they came and I sat in the numbness when that’s all I could sense. I chose colors that matched how I felt, surrounding that fuchsia broken heart with all the shades of depression.

I took my time with this fiber painting, stitching when I could, #15minutesatatime, and as I stitched, I found myself rising up from the grey depths into the waves of the blue and eventually into the pure light of delight.

Feelings have so much to teach us, if we just let them. There are lessons to learn even when in the depths of depression. My art practice allows me to examine those feelings and from my study, evolve. Creating Depression out of fiber taught me the true purpose of life: we can choose to live with joy and ease.

And that’s what I’m doing now.

Detail views…

With joy and ease…

Depression is available for purchase for $1800 and would look fantastic on the wall of your home or office (or home office 🙂 ). If you’d like to own this piece, you have two options:

1) Contact me directly and let me know you’d like to buy Depression
2) Visit my Etsy shop and purchase it there.

If you need support around learning how to choose to live a life of joy and ease, let’s set up time to chat.

If you experience depression and it has become unmanageable, please seek professional help. The world needs you in it.


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, please share with the ONE person you know could use it too!

The purpose of life: stop struggling

When everything you do feels like a struggle, it’s hard to believe life is supposed to be filled with joy and ease. And yet, that’s the whole purpose of life.

This may look chaotic, all these colors and bits of fabric struggling together, but really, it’s an expression of joy and ease.

If you’re feeling rudderless…

If you’re drowning in that sea of struggle, convinced you’ll never feel joy again, convinced nothing is ever easy, you need support. Support is critical to reconnecting you to purpose. Support is how I did it for myself and it’s what my business is centered around now.

When I was stuck in a place where work and life felt hard, I was depressed, angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed. I was unwilling to really talk to anyone about I how felt because I didn’t want to bring them down into the depths with me.

But this was the wrong approach. That became clear when my negativity began to leach into my relationship with my guy. Something had to change.

My guy knew I was unhappy. It was impossible not to know it, but while he expressed encouragement and gave me hugs, he also grew really tired of hearing me say “It’s fine” when it clearly wasn’t. Really, how fine could it be when I was cranky, angry, and weepy all at the same time? Dinner isn’t particularly delightful when the person across the table pouts the whole time. It’s a wonder he stood for it as long as he did.

He called me on my shit one day and I started talking, sharing my thoughts and feelings about how conflicted I felt. Deep down, I knew nothing was supposed to be as sad and difficult as everything seemed to be but I couldn’t see a way out.

That conversation led to others. As we talked our way through what I was really seeking, I found hope. Once I found hope, I was able to see my situation more clearly. Once I could see clearly, I discovered all the ways I was blocking my own joy and ease.

With clear vision, I hired a coach and was then able to create the mindset shifts I needed to leave struggle behind, in every situation, in every experience, and in every thought. Now, even when I’m doing something I’ve never done before or my day is long and full of work tasks, I feel joy and ease. Consistently. And that makes life amazing.

Getting support…

Start by talking to someone who has your best interests at heart. This can be your partner, another family member, or friend. Keep in mind this person may be biased towards keeping the status quo (because that might be easier for the other person) so give serious thought to who you choose. I started with my guy, but eventually, I knew I needed greater and unbiased support.

Next, consider working with a coach to receive that unbiased support. This is the work I do with my clients, providing a safe space to work through the struggle, opening the mind to discover the blocks, and then helping them create the mindset shifts they need to live a life of joy and ease.

Finally, do the work you need to do to release the perception that everything is a struggle. It’s easier to do this work when you’re supported and encouraged, when you work with someone who can see what you can’t see. You’ll shift much more quickly and the work will be easier to do.

With joy and ease…

If I can go from literally decades of push and struggle to consistently feeling everything is joyful and easy (even the tough stuff), you can too. The whole point of getting support is so you don’t have to keep doing it alone. Give yourself the gift of working with a coach to expedite your shift from struggle to ease.

Let me help you find your joy.

If you need support around shifting from struggle to joy and ease, let’s set up time to chat.


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, please share with the ONE person you know could use it too!

Roadtripping during COVID

Life recently felt more like “normal”, even as we played fast and loose with our health. Roadtripping during COVID can be anxiety inducing.

Or not.

We chose not.

Me, wondering if a road trip is a good idea during a pandemic.

Roadtrippin’…

✅ Florida
✅ Georgia
✅ Tennessee
✅ Kentucky
✅ Indiana
✅ Illinois
✅ Wisconsin

And back again. All in the span of a week. It’s an 18 hour drive to Illinois, then another few hours up to our oldest son’s house in Wisconsin. We split it up, taking two days to travel from Florida to Illinois, where we stayed with my sister-in-law and her family. The next day, we drove to our son’s first home so he could show off his adulting skills.

After an overnight with him, it was back to Illinois to spend time with our younger son, family, and dear friends. All in all, we spent 3-½ days up north and 3-½ days driving.

I’m a little worn out!

But it was worth it.

There were birthdays to celebrate and hearts needing the comfort of seeing each other. 💖

To be anxious or not…

I’d been a little anxious about this journey. It was the first time I’d left the house for an extended period since March. I felt socially awkward, like I’d forgotten how to people.

I had some concern about traveling during a pandemic.

Would hotels really be clean?

What if we, or one of our family members, were asymptomatic?

What about gas station bathrooms? They’re never spotless during the best of times; would they be hotbeds of virus now?

These and other questions spun through my brain even as we drove north. Even as we stopped to fuel up the car and the “natives” gave us the side-eye for wearing a mask.

But then I realized something…

It’s okay to be a little nervous. Everything carries risk.

We’re not afraid of the virus, but we don’t want to get it either, or give it to someone else. Roadtripping felt a little like upping the ante on that risk.

While traveling during a pandemic may carry more risk than at non-pandemic times, it’s still a matter of finding your unique level of comfort with that risk, just like you would with anything that feels risky.

After all, the magic happens when we step just outside our comfort zone. And the magic of reconnecting with family and a couple dear friends was so needed.

We were prepared with our face masks and a jug of hand sanitizer.

Sitting in a car for 18 hours is a textbook definition of socially distant.

We practiced caution over recklessness at every stop, chuckling a little at the side-eye, knowing that everyone has their own way of seeing the world and the current situation.

So I made a decision…

I could choose to continue feeling anxious or I could choose to enjoy the journey.

I chose joy.

Everything else is fear.

With joy and ease…

Life is about choices. We can choose fear or we can choose joy, even when the world feels upside down and sideways.

Especially when the world feels upside down and sideways.

Which do you choose?

If you need some support around choosing joy over fear, drop me a note at hilaryclarkstudios@gmail.com and we’ll set up time to chat.


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, please share with the ONE person you know could use it too!

Why inner peace feels impossible when it isn’t

Last week, I wrote about the changes coming to my business as I pivot (again…this is a year for pivots) back to coaching with a focus on helping my clients live a life of joy and ease. This week, I want to talk about why inner peace feels impossible to achieve.

(Spoiler: It isn’t; it just feels that way.)

Achieving inner peace can feel as dodgy as walking through this gauntlet of cranky ducks. Seven are pictured. There were a couple more who didn’t make the photo. All gave me the beady bird eye as I crossed over the bridge. It was decidedly unnerving.

Inner peace? Really?

Yes, I’m really going to talk about inner peace. I’m into the woo, so there it is.

One of the reasons I’ve pivoted several times this year in terms of my business is because I was focusing on things that felt disruptive, chaotic, and too much like “hustle”. I over-complicated how I wanted to work and who I wanted to work with. I ignored my two highest values — joy and ease — as I tried to force square pegs in round holes.

I got in my own way, which turned my inner world into one of struggle rather than one of contentment.

(By the way, that’s how I define inner peace: contentment. The woo can be understood in real terms.)

I bet you do the same thing to yourself. Whether you also have your own business, or you’re actively employed in the corporate world and immersed in your work, you probably get in your own way more often than not. You push yourself to live a Type A existence when you really lean towards Type B and your heart is begging you to slow down.

You have no inner peace and it’s killing you.

Taking the “im” out of “impossible”

If you can’t remember the last time you felt content with your life or your work, you’re in the struggle and stuck zone. Nothing feels like fun anymore, right?

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can actually achieve inner peace and experience joy and ease, even when you’re in the middle of hard work, even when you have deadlines to meet.

We’re all meant to live lives filled with joy and ease. Life is supposed to be fun. We go wrong when we fall into the belief that taking it easy is bad and work is supposed to be hard.

Inner peace is not impossible. In fact, it’s the most possible thing there is if you do one simple thing.

Choose it.

You can make the impossible possible by choosing a different perspective. You have that power.

Inner peace is easy to achieve when you see it that way.

With joy and ease

Inner peace, defined as contentment by me, can feel impossible to achieve in today’s world where “hustle” is rewarded. And yet, nothing could be further from the truth. The minute you get out of your own way, joy and ease slide into your reality, bringing inner peace with them. All you have to do is choose.

Isn’t it time you chose inner peace for yourself?

If you’re tired of struggling and want support to make inner peace possible for you, drop me a note at hilaryclarkstudios@gmail.com and we’ll set up time to chat.


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, please share with the ONE person you know could use it too!