Wednesday, July 14, 2010

IN PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS


Creative Passion-- "the magical place between reality and imagination"


It's my pleasure to welcome back romance author, Joanne Kennedy. Not only does Joanne write about sexy cowboys but she's a bit of a philosopher.

I really enjoyed Joanne's thoughts on talent being a gift we can't squander without consequences to our psyche and how for some, deep happiness only comes when we find an outlet for our creative passion. And how important it is to take time to express that creativity, whether it's through hobbies or creative pursuits such as writing, painting, or music. Whatever our passion is; we need to take the time to express it.

I thought I'd share her thoughts with you.


The Declaration of Independence declares, among other declarative things, that we all have a right to "the pursuit of happiness." For some of us, that run is harder than it is for others, but we all enter the race. Some of us rush headlong toward bliss; others hang back, helping those who aren't as fast. And some of us trip and fall right out of the starting gate, sprain our ankles, and have to crawl the rest of the way.


Being the first to cross the finish line doesn't matter in this race. It's a long run, so what matters is finding out what kind of runner you are so you can enjoy the trip. Are you a speed racer who won't be happy unless you're whipping past the competition? Or are you a helper, who finds his or her victory in making sure everyone has a fair chance? Or are you like me, standing in the middle of the track, watching the runners flow around you while you figure out how to immortalize the moment in a painting or story?


Chances are, you won't win that way. But it's the way you're made, and you can't do a thing about it. No matter how hard you try to be a rabbit, you're a dreamy, slowpoke turtle.




But if you stop trying to win the race on the rabbit's terms, chances are you'll be a happy turtle. And happiness is, after all, what we're chasing.

For creative people, finding deep happiness means finding an outlet for the creative impulse that pokes at our subconscious all day long and keeps us up at night. I ignored that urge for years, doing my best to bolt for everyone else's concept of the finish line. Sure, I drew a little, painted a little, wrote a little, but mostly my dabblings didn't seem practical, so I set my foot against the starting block and shoved off for a career in management. I was successful enough, and I earned all the rewards I thought I wanted, but I couldn't help feeling like I was missing something. I interpreted that dissatisfaction as ambition, and pursued promotion and success with more fervor. I didn't realize I was getting further and further away from what I was supposed to do.


But I had to make a living. We all do. And making a living from your creative passion isn't easy to do. I know so many people - artists, musicians, writers - who are trapped in everyday life when all they want to do is spend time in that magical place between reality and imagination where they can lose themselves in the lilt of a song or the sweep of a paintbrush or the magic of a fictional world.


When you're working for a living, taking time to nurture your creativity sometimes feels like self-indulgence. After all, your family needs you. Your work isn't finished. And you've got to get up in the morning and go to your day job. You don't have time to play around with paint or strum your guitar or write stories.


And it's not like those things are your only source of happiness, right? There are magical moments in every life: pushing a child on a swing, wading through a field of wildflowers, laughing with someone you love, or even just curling up on the sofa with a good book. Scattering these moments of simple happiness through your life will keep the crazies at bay. But unless you find that deep, core happiness that satisfies your heart and soul, you'll feel an elusive sense of dissatisfaction that keeps your joy from being quite complete.


Listen to your heart and do what you were meant to do. Talent is a gift, and squandering it has consequences. If you can create things that make others happy - a song that makes them tap their feet, a book that makes them laugh, a painting that lights up a room - it's something you have to do. If your gift is great enough to help people see what matters in the world, it's your duty to do it.


So whether you're just starting the race or standing three feet from the finish line, take some time to express yourself. Write. Quilt. Plant gardens. Paint. Your family needs you, but they need you happy. Your children need your time, but they also need to see how important it is to follow their dreams. And your day-to-day work, whatever it is, will be better and infinitely more satisfying if you use it to earn time to enjoy the race in the way that's best for you.

What's your creative passion and how do you express it?
 ~ * ~ * ~

Excerpt (this is on the publisher's website, scroll down below the book cover and select excerpt tab in the box.)
Cowboy Trouble Back Cover

Atlanta journalist Libby Brown’s transition to rural living isn’t going exactly as planned. Her Wyoming ranch and its picturesque outbuildings are falling to pieces all around her. So is her resolution to live a self-sufficient, independent life–thanks to the irresistible allure of her neighbor’s fringed leather chaps and the town sheriff’s shiny badge. When the town’s only unsolved mystery falls in her lap, Libby can’t resist partnering up with the hunky sheriff to search for a missing teenager–but her neighbor, rancher Luke Rawlins, has other ideas.


Luke is a genuine Wyoming cowboy who looks like Elvis, talks like John Wayne, cooks like Martha Stewart, and is almost impossible to resist. While Libby adjusts to a life where high fashion means wearing your Wranglers in “slim fit” instead of “cowboy cut,” her small-town beat leads her deep into the heart of her new hometown, where she discovers that everyone has their secrets, and some of them are as dangerous as they are surprising.


Joanne Facebook, Casablanca Author's Blog
Joanne Kennedy lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming with two dogs and a retired fighter pilot. The dogs are relatively well-behaved.

Joanne  has worked in bookstores all her life, in positions ranging from bookseller to buyer. In 2004, she stepped down from managing a Barnes & Noble and wrote a book. Five years and three manuscripts later, her first book, Cowboy Trouble, was released by Sourcebooks Casablanca.


A member of Romance Writers of America and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Joanne Kennedy won first place in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest and second in the Heart of the Rockies contest in 2007. Her first novel, Cowboy Trouble, was released by Sourcebooks Casablanca in March 2010, and will be followed by One Fine Cowboy in September 2010. 
 
When brilliant, beautiful graduate student Charlie Banks comes to Wyoming for a conference on horse communication, the last thing she expects to get is a lesson in love from sexy horse trainer Nate Shawcross. While Nate's always had a way with horses, it's the women in his life who have left him with romantic scars. But when Nate enlists Charlie to help him rehabilitate an abused stallion, she can't help but be wooed by his soft touch and gentle voice. And though he's been burned in the past, Nate is finding it harder and harder to hide his heart from the sexy greenhorn.
 
Available for preorder.

9 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Welcome back Joanne. I know I told you before but it bears saying it again, I LOVED this article. It just resonated with me. So very true.

Joanne Kennedy said...

Thanks, Sia! I'm so glad you "got" what I was trying to say, and so happy you chose to feature the article on your terrific blog!

Tonya Kappes said...

Hi Joanne Thanks for the uplifting message. I think as an aspiring PUBLISHED writer, we need to hear positive words. Yes I do think if you don't follow your dream, you've wasted your talent. Writing for me is obviously my passion.

Olivia Cunning said...

Hi, Joanne! Great blog and so true. I plan on expressing myself all day today.

As for your bio: "The dogs are relatively well-behaved." LOL! Too funny.

Joanne Kennedy said...

Tonya, I agree. Working toward publication is hard, and you need the support of those around you - but most of all you need to believe in yourself! Keep writing!

Joanne Kennedy said...

Hey, Olivia!!! Yeah, all things are relative around here. The dogs are a couple of hoodlums, and the pilot - he joins right in! It keeps things interesting, though, and if they ever start behaving I'll lose a major source of inspiration...

~Sia McKye~ said...

I agree Joanne, you first have to believe in yourself and then have those who will support those dreams close to your heart. We need support to continue on when we're juggling life, work, and writing. Sometimes the former suck you dry before you even get to the latter.

Hey, those pilots are notorious for rabble rousing, lol!

aries18 said...

Hi Joanne, I loved this piece of writing and found myself nodding in agreement all the way through. For years I worked, dabbled in different arts, different crafts, always coming back to writiing. You expressed the thoughts of so many of us. Thank you.

Kat Sheridan said...

Joanne, the book sounds marvelous.

More importantly, your words really resonated with me, and came at the exact moment I needed to hear them. It happens that way sometimes. Thank you. And best of luck with what you love best in life.