Sunday, May 20, 2012

Maybe you quit too soon, she said.

I was surprised the other day when some new friends mentioned that they didn't know I was an artist.  After all, I've been working at trying to sell my art for over 35 years.  Yikes, that's a long time. 

Here I am, back a few years ago, with one of my mixed-media paintings in the Cedar Park Regional Medical Center Permanent Art collection.  They specifically looked for local artists when commissioning the art, and since I lived very near there, I was honored to be a part of it.

 I told my woeful tale of how hard it is to make a living as an artist, much less get by.  And I told them how frustrating and depressing it was to watch the art pile up, year after year.  I admitted that I had *officially retired* from the art business two years ago, and was now concentrating on my writing.

The installation of my three pieces, in their own beautiful niches, in the Cedar Park Regional Medical Center

As I looked at my new friends' amazing art collection that includes sculpture, paintings, prints and outsider folk art, I commented that I always heard that there were people who loved art, and collected lots of it, but I had NEVER, in all those years, ever met any of them.  Isn't that strange?

One of them (thanks, Ms. P!) later said "Maybe you quit too soon."  Hmmm.  Ever since then, I've been thinking about the incredible amount of artwork I've created over the years.  I've worked in almost every media imaginable. Before we moved, I'll admit I either destroyed or gave away a good bit of my collection.  I'm sure some would think that's horrible.  But my new home is much smaller than our previous home, and my office doesn't even have a closet.  In the back of my mind, maybe I was thinking that the small cottage out back of our house *might* possibly become an art studio one day, once it's protected against the elements.  I made the conscious decision to spend full-time writing.  After all, I had ALSO been writing all those years.

I do have digital photos of most of my artwork, and for me, that's OK.  Many artists, I've learned, periodically destroy some of their art.  Another new Taylor friend, also an artist, told me to keep one good piece from each of my new directions.  I liked that advice, and so did keep a dozen or so pieces. Will I regret destroying those others?  Time will tell, but in general, I very rarely regret my actions.

"Sun in a Circle" Abstract Painting on Paper

As I looked through the photos, I made the decision to add a new page to my official website for samples of my artwork.  In general, it reminds me that all those years I spent weren't wasted, that some beauty came out of them, and many people did see my paintings and such--even if they don't own them.  That's the beauty of the Internet and digital images.  And since I do have digital images, the artwork can still be shared over and over, and even printed if I choose.

Right now, I'm happy writing full-time, because our house remodeling project, and my new garden design (yes, we do all our own work), have been taking up any extra time I have.  Once we're settled in, though, I expect I'll be eyeing that space out in the cottage and dreaming of a new work space, and maybe even a painting area.

Actually, come to think of it, I have written poetry about painting, and about art.  Can I separate the two, without feeling that I'm missing something?  Maybe someday I can find a *satisfying* way to combine the two.  I hope so.

Happy trails!

bobbi c.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Southern Humorist Featured Columnist

I'm a featured columnist over on the Southern Humorist website with my "The Good, The Bad & the Naughty" story about snails in the garden.  Check it out!

And while you're there, check out some of the other writers, too.  Funny stuff!

Happy trails (snails?) from Texas!

bobbi c.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Edgar Allan Poe Short Story Published!

My fun Edgar Allan Poe short story I mentioned a few weeks ago was published today.  Take a peek, and enjoy!

Happy trails!

bobbi c.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Dear friends,

My comedy fairy tale mash-up  play, LITTLE RED RIDING BOOTS & COOTER COYOTE, MASTER OF DISGUISE, made it into the YES competition this year! YEEEHAW!  Here's the official announcement, with a list of the other plays that made it---written by several of my online playwright buds, and directed by Jack Dyville.

Youth Education On Stage announces the selection of Our 2012 SUMMER SHORTS: "Animal Antics" to be produced in Williston, North Dakota at the Old Armory Theatre June 19-20-21.

 ARCTIC AFTERNOON by Christine Emmert (Valley Forge PA)
 HISS HISS KISS KISS by Marjorie Conn (Asbury Park NJ)
 LIONS & TIGERS & BEARS, OH MY! by Shirley King (Benicia CA)
 THE DOG & THE GIRAFFE by Katie Labhan (New York, NY)
 THE FLEAS WHO FLED THE FUR by Marti Johnson (Seaside OR)
THE NEW ADVENTURES of KATIE KITTY! by Jack Dyville (Guttenberg NJ)
WHISKERS LEARNS A LESSON by Martha Patterson (Boston MA)

My play ANNIERELLA & the (VERY AWESOME) GOOD QUEEN FAIRY COWMOTHER was in this competition back in 2009, where it won First Place and was subsequently published by Brooklyn Publishers.

LITTLE RED RIDING BOOTS started out about five years ago as a  children's picture book, then turned into a play.

Happy trails!

bobbi c.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Flash fiction, anyone?

Dear friends,

I'm not sure why, but the older I get, the more frustrated I get with long books or stories.  Maybe it's because of all the blogging I do, or because I'm so busy that by the time I get a chance to sit down and read, I'm exhausted and can't stay awake!

Recently, I've realized that my best work tends to be short--both my plays and my stories.  I discovered *flash fiction* a few years ago, have just discovered *flash memoirs* and have to say that I'm really excited about some of the stuff I'm reading out there.

I have had two short flash stories published online, at the Clockwise Cat blog.  Check 'em out, HERE. The editor called them "absurd" fiction, which I found interesting.  I call it quirky-strange fiction, maybe even a bit macabre.  OK with me!  LOL.

Here's a short garden story I wrote.  Actually, I guess it's a "flash memoir" because it really did happen.  Hope you enjoy reading "Help!  Mantis Attack!"

I love taking a snippet of conversation, an observation about a quirky character I see, or an idea, and running with it.  I had one of these flashes of inspiration yesterday while sitting in the garden, dripping with sweat, covered with mud, listening to the chaos from a house down the street from us.  Seems they decided to cut down a pecan tree.  That idea, coupled with a chance comment a friend of mine made last week, turned into the draft of a short story that I hope will be a good one.  If not good, then at least amusing. :-)

As I practice writing flash/short fiction, I look around the 'net for great examples of other stories.  I learn more by reading fiction by others than I ever have from how-to books.  (I'm still trying to find the ultimate how-to-write-flash-genre-fiction book.  So far, no luck.)

This morning I ran into the new (to me) WIGLEAF website that focuses on  (very) short fiction.  Lots of good stuff there and great artwork, too.

If you have never read any flash fiction, I suggest you "do a Google" for "flash fiction stories" and go from there.  There are thousands of great short stories online for you to read--for FREE!  AND great collections of them for sale inexpensively on

Happy trails,

bobbi c.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dark Shadows and Vampires

I can truthfully say that I've been a fan of DARK SHADOWS since I was ten years old.  It first showed up on TV waaaay back in 1966 and ran for five years, until 1971.  A gothic soap opera, the likes of which nobody had ever seen, titillated and thrilled with the story line that included vampires, werewolves, witches and dare I say---leviathans!

I was one of those rabid fans, and had a serious crush on Jonathan Frid, who played the vampire Barnabas Collins.  Sadly, he recently died on Friday, April 13th, at the age of 87---RIP.  I'm sure I wasn't the only young girl who sent away and anxiously awaited the free fan photo.  It finally came in the mail, and had a constant place under my pillow at night.

Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins

On the days when our school bus was delayed (my memory is a bit sketchy at the reason), my mother would tape the show on an ancient reel-to-reel tape recorder, and I'd listen to the audio later that night.  Those were back in the days before VCRs, and it took a lot of imagination sometimes to figure out what exactly was happening in the scene---all those dreaded, heavy silences drove me mad--wondering.

 I obsessively collected the novels and read them under blanket cover late at night, scaring the bejeebers out of  me.  They were written by gothic novelist W. E. Daniel "Dan" Ross under the pseudonym Marilyn Ross (his wife's name).

I recently learned that two former actresses on the series have their own novels based on the show--Lara Parker (who played Angelique) and Kathryn Leigh Scott (who played Josette).  And I even developed a crush on David Selby, who played the werewolf Quentin Collins.  How could anyone resist those sideburns?

David Selby as Quentin Collins, werewolf
I also had his fan photo, and it lay safely under my pillow, along with Barnabas'.

And oh!  That music!  There was something about that haunting, eerie music.  I bought the record album (remember those?) and played it over and over.  I still have that album, forty-six years later!  According to Wikipedia, the original soundtrack made the top 20 on the Billboard national  chart in 1969 and still ranks as one of the top-selling TV soundtracks ever.

Well!  Let me just announce right here that I was beside myself with joy---giddy, one might say, when I heard that there would be a new DARK SHADOWS movie.  And I was even more excited when I heard that none other than Tim Burton would be directing it.  I've been a fan of his work from the get-go, and knew that something special would come of it.   Then to find out that Johnny Depp would play Barnabas?  I tell ya, that was a swoonable moment.  Not to mention the lovely Ms. Pfeiffer.

Johnny Depp and the cast of the DARK SHADOWS movie

When I saw the first trailer, I was blown away.  WHAT?  A SPOOF?  of my beloved DARK SHADOWS!  Yes!  It totally works!  I love the idea.  I, ahem, recently wrote my own vampire spoof, THE JOURNAL OF MINA HARKER, and am totally delighted that the writers and director decided to play it this way.  After all, there are many who say that the original show was played a bit tongue-in-cheek anyway.  (Oh come on, yes it was!)

If you go back and watch the show on DVDs (yes, of course I own them!), you just have to laugh.  At the time, of course, I didn't see it as funny--it was serious stuff.   I've been watching the trailers over and over, and I cannot wait to see the movie.  Stay tuned for a review, right here!

In the meantime, listen to this interview of the writer, Seth Grahame-Smith.  BTW, he also penned the script for the new ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER movie coming out in June.

RIP, Jonathan.
But in the meantime, won't you meet me down at the Blue Whale, where we'll hoist a pint of ale (or root beer) in honor of the original DARK SHADOWS cast.

 In memory of those who have crossed.  Or have they?  ;-)

 (Cue the howling wolf. Cue flapping wings.)

Happy trails!

bobbi c.