Monthly Archives: September 2015

Landing in Paradise . . . by Andrea R. Huelsenbeck

Landing in Paradise . . . by Andrea R. Huelsenbeck

Does anyone remember the Maui Writer’s Conference?

Doing Life Together

Maui 5

A green, rocky jewel surrounded by sparkling blue was my first glimpse. As we flew closer, my heart pounded. My dream was coming true.

About 2 weeks after my mother passed away in 2004, I attended the famous Maui Writers Conference. My trip was planned long before the stroke that took my mother’s life. Part of me felt guilty for doing something so self-serving when I was still in mourning. Another part of me was ready to work—and to be blessed by beauty.

The Maui Airport was very open—meaning that there was no window glass. The breeze was free to blow right through the building. How exotic! I boarded a shuttle bus that would take me to pick up my rental car.

I had reserved the least expensive compact car. The agent cheerfully asked me if I would like to upgrade to a Mustang convertible for just $10 a day more…

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In the Meme Time: The Pen

In the Meme Time: The Pen

Beautiful calligraphy by Seb LesterSeb Lester

Some is Better Than None

Some is Better Than None

Sometimes when I’m really busy or tired, but I know I should stop at the gym, I’ll just run in and do 30 minutes on the treadmill. Or 20. Even though I know I really need to do more, I rationalize that doing a little is better than doing nothing at all.

Sometimes when I hear of a non-profit that is doing great work that helps many people experiencing great need, I want to send them $1000, but I can’t do that. So I send $5, rationalizing that if everyone who wanted to help, but couldn’t donate a lot of money, just sent what they could, it would help more than not sending anything.


So many books, so little time.

“Some is better than none” is one of my mantras. It comes in handy today, when I need to post my wrap-up of my participation in the Tackle Your TBR Read-a-Thon. (See my post about my Challenge goals here.)

I was half-way through 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper when the Challenge started, and I read the last 100 pages. Check!

I’m into the seventh chapter of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. That’s 44 pages. Partial check.

I didn’t even open  Story  by Robert McKee.

So I finished one of the three books I wanted to read, and I read a total of 144 in two weeks. Even I admit that’s a pretty wimpy performance. Oh well. Some is better than none, right? Right?

I checked some of the other participants’ totals. I saw as many as 16 finished books and thousands of pages read. I’m happy people are making time to read. That was certainly the idea behind the challenge. It wasn’t a race to see who could do the most. It was a reminder to take time to enjoy the written word.

If you also participated in the Tackle your TBR Read-a-thon, feel free to share your wrap-up in the comments below.

Monday Morning Wisdom #17

Monday Morning Wisdom #17

“Sure, you may have started yoga because you want to be able to do a backbend. But you can’t come to class, focus only on your backbend, and expect to be there next month.

“It’s a process. Stop worrying about the backbend. Just keep showing up and work to improve your flexibility.

“The same goes for completing a novel. It’s going to take time, and fretting over getting to ‘the end’ isn’t what’s going to get you there.

“What’s going to complete that novel is continuing to show up. Keep working to add more words, and make it the best story you can. It will take time, but you’ll get there.”–Emily Wenstrom, in Why Writing is like Yoga (click here.)

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My Apologies

My Apologies

If you are one of my subscribers, I am so sorry–for the past couple of days, every time I schedule a future post, I get an email saying there’s a new post on ARHtistic License. And if I click to link to see the post, I get a 404 error message–the requested page does not exist. Because it doesn’t. Yet.

If you are getting these email alerts, too, please don’t hate me. Please don’t unsubscribe. I tried to contact the WordPress people, but I keep getting thrown into the support forum, where other people facing my problem write in technical terms I don’t understand. I am sure this is just a temporary glitch. Please bear with me.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Technology. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

Speaking of glitches, in 1998, Salon, the online magazine, asked readers to submit creative error messages. They circulated through forwarded emails for years. Here are some of the best entries:

In Japan, they have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft Error messages with Haiku poetry messages. Haiku poetry has strict construction rules. Each poem has only three lines, 17 syllables: five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, five in the third.

Haikus are used to communicate a timeless message often achieving a wistful, yearning and powerful insight through extreme brevity — the essence of Zen:

Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.
The Web site you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist.
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
Program aborting:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.
Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.
Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.
First snow, then silence.
This thousand-dollar screen dies
So beautifully.
With searching comes loss
And the presence of absence:
“My Novel” not found.
The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao-until
You bring fresh toner.
Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.
A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.
Three things are certain:
Death, taxes and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.
Having been erased,
The document you’re seeking
Must now be retyped.
Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

From the Creator’s Heart #13

From the Creator’s Heart #13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV)


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Light Rail to Mesa Slideshow

Light Rail to Mesa Slideshow

Today marks the 100th post on ARHtistic License. How are we doing? Please take the ARHtistic License 3 Month Anniversary Survey to let us know your thoughts (link at the end of this article). Thanks so much!

I have mixed feelings about the Phoenix Valley Metro Light Rail system. Over a billion dollars to build new infrastructure seems to me like a waste of money. You could buy a lot of busses with that cash and hire many more drivers to expand needed routes in the bus system on roads that already exist. However, I was outvoted, and construction started in March, 2005; operation began on December 27, 2008.DSC00325

The light rail connects Phoenix, Tempe, and a tiny part of West Mesa. Though I’ve hardly ever used it, two of my children utilized it to get to school. For my daughter, a yearly rail pass was a fraction of the cost of a parking permit at Arizona State University.

Recently, the eastern end of the rail line was extended 3 miles into Mesa, finally reaching its vibrant arts district. Mesa was named by Money magazine in their October 2015 issue as one of the five best “big” cities to live in the country, hitting it out of the park for the Southwest. (Mesa has a population of 461,000; not really my idea of a big city, but what do I know?)DSC00385

I decided to check out the light rail by taking it into Mesa. A single ride on the light rail costs $2, an all-day pass $4. It took me several tries to buy a pass at the kiosk. Technology 3, Andrea 1.

The light rail is bicycle friendly, and a lot of passengers brought their bikes along.

I’ve always wondered how the train turns around at the end of the line, so I rode all the way to the eastern end. I wasn’t sure where that would be, and I was daydreaming, so I didn’t notice when the scrolling message board on the train stopped functioning and almost everyone got off. After a while, I became aware that we hadn’t resumed moving. There were now only two other people on the train besides me. Two men. At first, I wasn’t concerned, but as time passed, I felt unprotected and wondered if I had made a very bad decision by not disembarking.DSC00327

About fifteen minutes later, more passengers started getting on the train, and a driver arrived. He took his position in the “cockpit” behind me. (There is a driver’s compartment at each end of the train. He sits in the eastern-facing one to drive east, and in the western-facing one to drive west.) A few minutes later, the train started in reverse (that is, reverse from the first part of my trip, but forward for the return part). Shortly afterward, it came to a switching point and switched tracks to the west-bound one, easy peasy. No turning required—mystery solved.

In Mesa, the light rail runs along Main Street, the historic downtown area, home to quaint, quirky, and quality shops, restaurants, and attractions. I got off at the Center Street station, located right by the Mesa Center for the Arts, venue for concerts, plays, and performances of all kinds, art lessons, and an art museum. Then I headed west along Main Street and looked at some of the shops. At MacDonald Street I turned north to the Arizona Museum of Natural History. (I didn’t go in, but will someday soon, and I’ll post about it then.) After that, I walked back to Main Street and continued my trek to the Country Club station, where I got back on the train and headed home. This is what I saw along the way:

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Next Saturday I’ll post a slideshow of public art in Mesa.

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In the Meme Time: Unlock Your Creativity

In the Meme Time: Unlock Your Creativity

Found on Pinterest:21 ways to unlock creative genius

Video of the Week #13

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Casting Call for a Blogging Partner

Casting Call for a Blogging Partner

In July, I took Blogging 201 through the WordPress Blogging U. I am still working on the Day 9 assignment (excerpts copied from The Commons):

Today’s assignment: find a blogging buddy. If appropriate, plan to publish guest posts on one another’s blogs.

(If you don’t see guest posters as an option for your blog, that’s totally fine. You can find a buddy to lean on for feedback and support, minus the guest posting.)

Why do this?

  • student-849825_1280 from pixabayBecause your blogging buddy is sure to tell their friends and followers about their guest post on your site, bringing you some potential new followers and maybe even a traffic bump.
  • Because collaborating spawns post ideas you can both use to fill out your editorial calendars.
  • Because it’s always more fun to do something with a friend — especially a naturally community-oriented activity like blogging. You can laugh, make mistakes, teach one another, learn, and have fun supporting each other along the way.

Once you have a buddy, start familiarizing yourself with your buddy’s blog — read their last few posts and their about page. Poke around any other links. Next, get things going by just seeking and giving feedback. Is there a question you asked on The Commons that didn’t get much response? Is there something you’re still not sure about? Your buddy is the perfect person to ask.

Now, explore whether guest posting will work for the two of you. You’re familiar with one another’s blogs — what can you each add? Is there a perspective you’d love a guest to explore? You’ll also want to work out some boundaries; even if the guest blogger is a close friend, it’s useful to establish things like length, style issues (no foul language, no real names, photo citations, etc.), who will respond to comments, and how much say you’ll have over each other’s posts. (The Daily Post’s rule of thumb is to edit guest submissions as little as possible.)

If you’re not going to guest post, you can still be helpful buddies. Promote each other’s posts on your social networks — we know you’re looking for more content to share. Link to them in posts, or from your sidebar. And of course, keep using one another for candid feedback and moral support.

Spread the word of your partnership: use their Twitter handle when you promote a post, or tag them in a Facebook update. Twice the social networking means twice the love.

browsing-15824_1280 from pixabay

I do have friends whose blogs I support and with whom I regularly dialog about blogging, on an informal basis. Their focuses are different than mine, though. I am still looking for someone who writes about the arts and artists and artistic processes and inspiration who would be interested in partnering with me. For me, guest blogging (in the form of reblogging) would be a definite plus.

If you are reading ARHtistic License because you are a blogger with a similar focus to mine, and you think we may be compatible, and you want to audition to be my blogging partner, please reply in the comments below, with a link to your blog. (Or if you would rather do so privately, please take The ARHtistic License survey—click the red button—and submit your comment on question 15.)

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