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!

Showcase Piece: Inquisitive

In today’s article, I’m showcasing another piece from my portfolio – Inquisitive, the second piece made as part of my Feelings series.

Please keep reading to learn more about why I chose the colors and shapes I did to make this textured fiber painting. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

(c) Hilary Clark, “Inquisitive”, Fiber, 18″ x 23″
Image credit: Hilary Clark

Inquisitive was an experiment…

Inquisitive is one of the smaller pieces in the Feelings series, measuring 18” x 23”. There are two eyelet hangers stitched on the back, allowing it to hang on the wall with the use of a couple of small nails.

This piece doesn’t have the same dense stitching as the first in the series, or many that followed. I was experimenting with how much stitching I wanted to include and this piece, with its more representational shapes, seemed to call for a wider stitch pattern.

Why I chose yellow…

I chose yellow for the canvas because this color symbolizes curiosity and inquisitiveness to me. I tend to think and feel in color so when I’m choosing the canvas color for one of my textured fiber painted feelings, I go inside and ask my intuition what color best represents the feeling. When I did that for Inquisitive, yellow’s what rose out of my subconscious.

As with all of the Feelings series, the canvas is made up of different shades of the canvas color. I create a tissue paper pattern following the full outline of the piece, then divide that pattern into individual segments along abstract, flowing curves. Each segment uses a different shade of yellow in this piece, mostly solids, but occasionally I’ll use patterned fabric as I did here.

The “why” behind the design…

Once the canvas is created, I overlay the design elements on top. For Inquisitive, I chose question marks because to be inquisitive is to question. They symbolize the curious aspect of being inquisitive as you seek answers.

In addition to the slightly wider stitching, roughly ½” between each stitch line as opposed to my usual ¼” to ⅛” distance, this piece also uses more defined, real shapes with the question marks and the eyes overlaying each mark. I was still exploring how I wanted to best create feelings out of fiber and this piece, when compared with the rest of the series, is a bit of a departure. However, it is still an abstract with bright, bold colors and so it fits into the series in that way.

There’s always a poem…

The majority of my work includes a poem on the back. Each poem is inspired by the textured fiber painting and so each piece includes a copy of its poem fused to the backing as the label. I thought I’d share Inquisitive’s poem with you.

(Feeling) Inquisitive

What is the meaning of
life? Is it purpose,children,
love,or just living?

Why is the sky
blue, the grass green,
my hair turning grey? Are
these childish questions?

Who is God? Have you
met Him? On the other hand, is it 
Her? Is it both? What does 
God looks like?

When will the world
end? Have you wondered?
Do you care?

How do we know when
chicken is cooked or 
black currants are
ripe? Will you ask Google?

Where do the rabbits in my
backyard make their
nest? Are they happy?

I wonder…are you as
inquisitive as I am?

Exit through the gift shop…

If you’re interested in owning Inquisitive, it can be purchased for $750 through my Etsy shop, HilaryClarkStudios. Or reach out to me directly and we can make arrangements to get this piece into your home.

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 liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!