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#dyicad2021 Day 49


I chose not to paint today.

Day 49

#dyicad2021 Day 3


Drawing a person every day in June and July for the Index-Card-a-Day Challenge.

Day 3

Creative Juice #219

Creative Juice #219

It’s beginning to look a little like Christmas. I put a new Christmas bedspread and pillow shams on our bed.

  • Awesome photographs of nature’s power.
  • For the musicians and the music teachers: young composers get to hear their works performed by the New York Philharmonic.
  • Beautiful zentangles.
  • Ways to beat writer’s block.
  • For the writers: flabby characters? Put them through some exercises.
  • Have you taken your Christmas card picture yet?
  • Ways to use your books to decorate for Christmas. (I am seriously thinking of turning my TBR pile into a tree. The books are already stacked on the floor…)
  • In case you need to laugh, here’s a story about what to do when your husband says you can’t buy any more towels.
  • Some ingenious Christmas tree tools.
  • We all know what we should be doing in order to live our best lives. Read this to get it all in one place.
  • Interview with illustrator Jim Starr.
  • Christmas movies to stream.

Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self

Taken shortly after my high school graduation, June, 1970. I am holding my diploma in a black folder. The girl in the gold dress is my friend and classmate Jan Oborne (Furtado). The other girl is my cousin Bärbel, who was visiting from Germany, and in front of her my brother, Bill. I wouldn’t turn 18 until November.

Dear Andie,

Wow—1970 has been a year of firsts for you. First semester of music school, first time living away from home, first time living in a big city, first taste of independence. I know you’re loving it, and you should. This is the best time of your life so far.

A word of warning: watch what you eat. So much of what you see in the cafeteria looks delicious, but not all of it is nutritious. You’ve already put on a few pounds, and if you keep eating everything you want, you’ll be struggling with your weight all your life. Think of food as fuel—eat what will turn you into a lean, mean learning machine. Eat to live, don’t live to eat.

The people you surround yourself with now will influence your next decade. Choose wisely. Some will be life-long friends; others will forget you as soon as they’re out of your sight.

While your first responsibility is your studies, this is also a time for experiences. Accompany your friends on trips and activities. Go to concerts. See a waterfall. Explore a museum. Walk the city. Go to tourist traps. You’ll remember these occasions all your life.

Do some things for others. Help a friend. Volunteer for a charity. Do something to benefit the university. You’ll develop some skills and do some good.

Write or call home. Although it takes effort, Mom will appreciate getting a weekly letter. Throw in a photograph when you can. Long distance calls are expensive, but once in a while treat Mom and Dad to the sound of your voice.

You will fall in love more than once. You will be vulnerable. You will be hurt. Be careful. Be choosy. But a life-long love is in your future. Be good to him.

You are living in a time of great change—and the changes will be even greater and swifter as time goes on. Don’t be rigid; your success is dependent on how well you can adapt. Even that job you’re looking forward to will change before you graduate. Over your lifetime, you will have opportunities to do many things. Be flexible.

Your life will be a series of challenges. Some will be very hard, but you will get through them all. I’ll tell you a secret—you will have divine help. Even though you don’t trust Him now, God will be with you, and He will see you through.


Yourself from a half-century in the future

Inktober 2020 Day 2


The prompt is wisp. Rendered in white gelly roll pen on blue paper.

Dear WordPress


Why did you change my blog to your stupid new block editor?

I was happy with the classic one.

Why would you replace it with something so unintuitive?

This sucks.

broken heart
How I feel about having to learn something new.

Creative Juice #202

Creative Juice #202


Wow! Creative stuff this week.

Kammie’s Oddball Challenge: Dome



More Oddballs.

Kammie's Oddball Challenge

From the Creator’s Heart #261



What Makes a Good Podcast?


listening to earbudsI like the concept of a podcast. Being able to tune in and listen to people talk about a topic I’m interested in sounds like something I’d love.

But for a long time, I couldn’t find one that didn’t make me cringe.

Some of my favorite bloggers have podcasts, but if an episode consists of the blogger reading one of her posts, sorry; I can read it quicker myself.

I went to the podcast section of the iTunes store and typed in a topic. There must be hundreds of writing podcasts, but I couldn’t find one that engaged me.

Reasons for rejecting podcasts:

  1. Got tired of waiting for the episode to start. Nothing interesting happened in the first three minutes. Maybe there was a long theme song. Maybe the host hemmed and hawed or talked about himself. Maybe he explained what his podcast is about. Maybe he exchanged a couple of inside jokes with his guest. Maybe he extoled his sponsor. But I got bored.
  2. The host’s voice is irritating. People have limited control over their vocal quality; very few people can pull off whiney. Maybe the host was afraid or stressed out and that came through in her voice. Maybe she sounded too perky. Or maybe she spoke in a monotone.
  3. The episode didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Maybe the host didn’t plan anything in advance and thought she’d just wing it, but her coverage of the topic was basic and superficial.

I needed a different strategy for finding podcasts.

Every once in a while, I’ll read an article about best podcasts for (your special interest here). I’ll test the ones that sound most promising, and I’ve now amassed a list of podcasts that I like (not that I listen to any of them regularly—I generally listen when I’m drawing or cleaning in my office, both of which I do too infrequently).

My current favorite podcasts (in no particular order):

  1. The Not-Starving Artist. Host Angie Noll interviews women who make a living through the arts.
  2. Writing Excuses. Authors Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler interview other authors for fifteen minutes (actually usually more like 18–30 minutes).
  3. Quilt & Tell. Tracy Moody, Lori Baker, and Ginger Sheehy Tatic discuss all aspects of the quilting craft.
  4. Unlocking Us. Brené Brown, a professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, is known for her work on shame and vulnerability. She started her podcast in January, 2020 and has recently interviewed guests about surviving self-quarantine and about racial justice.
  5. The Unmistakable Creative. Srinivas Rao interviews leading thinkers, doers, and artists to help you maximize your creativity.
  6. TED Talks Daily. These short talks (typically 7-37 minutes) cover all sorts of topics.
  7. Book Launch Show. Book launch expert Tim Grahl gives hints about how to successfully launch and market your book.
  8. Tim Keller Sermons. The Presbyterian minister and author preaches about passages from the Bible. I’m not sure that I believe everything he says, but he gives me lots to think about.
  9. The James Altucher Show. Altucher interviews peak performers in every field, but he digs for their stories of personal challenge and reinvention.

The nine podcasts above, for the most part, are giving me what I expect.

What makes a good podcast:

  1. Gets going in the first minute. I am an impatient person. I have lots to do. Don’t waste my time.
  2. Confident speaker. I’m listening because I think you can teach me something or at very least entertain me. If you sound uncertain, I’m outta here. Practice beforehand until you’ve gained a level of confidence.
  3. Expressive, natural voice. All our voices sound weird when recorded, not at all like they sound in our heads. You might want to listen to what your audience will hear before you let it go live. I prefer voices that sound like a beloved friend having a conversation with me, with all the tears and laughter that entails, and without stilted tone or didactic vocabulary.
  4. Great content. Informative, with a unique twist. Sometimes the spice comes from a guest; sometimes it’s the engaging personality of the host. But it needs to be a cut above what’s already out there. It needs to be new, or at least a fresh take on what’s tried and true.

Sometimes I think I’d like to create an ARHtistic License podcast. But I don’t know that I could make one that meets my high standards.

Now it’s your turn. Do you follow any podcasts? What, in your opinion, makes a podcast good? Please share in the comments below.