Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.


Flower of the Day: Palo Verde Blossoms



More Flowers of the Day.

Book Giveaway: LOVE YOU SERIES by Helen James


Would somebunny love a new picture book? Here are some you could win–or buy!

Writing and Illustrating

Sleeping Bear Press sent me a copy of DADDY LOVES YOU by Helen Foster James, illustrated by Petra Brown. Then I noticed that Helen had another book, MOMMY LOVES YOU. Of course with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming up, I contacted Helen about featuring both of her books, then she pointed out the other books in the series. Sleeping Bear Press agreed to share a copy of the latest book DADDY LOVES YOU and Helen has agreed to send a copy the other four books to four additional winners. Yes that’s right, you have a chance to win a copy of Daddy Loves You, Mommy Love You, Grandmom Loves You, Grandpa Loves You, or Auntie Loves You for a total of five winners.  

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a…

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Sunday Trees: Lemon


lemon tree


More Sunday Trees.

Monday Morning Wisdom #252: E is for Thomas Edison

Monday Morning Wisdom #252: E is for Thomas Edison


MMWWisdom from the mind of the great inventor, Thomas Alva Edison:


  • Opportunity is missed by most people, because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
  • To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.
  • To have a great idea, have a lot of them.
  • The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.
  • Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.
  • The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.
  • I find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success.
  • The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and the cause and prevention of disease.

a-to-z HEADER [2020] to size v2

Review of Crazy Brave: A Memoir, by Joy Harjo

Review of Crazy Brave: A Memoir, by Joy Harjo



Joy Harjo is the current poet laureate of the United States, the first Native American to hold that position. I bought this book because I wanted to learn more about her.

Harjo is almost the same age as me, which made me like her immediately. However, our life experiences couldn’t be more different.

Harjo starts her memoir with the story of her parents and ends with her young adulthood. Her writing style is musical—even her prose is poetic. The poems included in the book reflect her native culture, which is woven throughout.

As a child, Joy was a good student, an artist who loved poetry, photography, and music.

Harjo’s parents divorced, and her mother married an older white man who physically and emotionally abused her and Joy and Joy’s sister and brothers.

Her stepfather wanted Joy gone, so he suggested sending her to a fundamentalist Christian school. Joy asked instead to be sent to an Indian boarding school, so she would have classmates who looked like her. The family applied through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and she was sent to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. She studied art and theater in addition to her academic subjects. When she graduated from the high school program, she was pregnant. The baby’s father promised to send her money to join him, but he didn’t.crazy brave

Joy borrowed bus money from her brother to travel to her baby daddy’s home. They married, but the marriage didn’t last.

With tribal assistance, Harjo entered the University of New Mexico in a premed program. After one semester, she changed her major to studio art. She met a student who wrote poetry. Joy had always loved poetry; she had loved to recite it as a child. She thought poetry had to be in English. This young man wrote poetry about his tribe and his pueblo and his people and their ideals. He changed the way Harjo thought about poetry. She fell in love with the student, and he beat her. She bore him a daughter and named her Rainy Dawn. He was an alcoholic, and she eventually left him. The book ends shortly thereafter, with Harjo pursuing poetry.

This is an excellent book for a white person to read, especially one whose experience with Native Americans is as non-existent as mine. It’s eye-opening.