Write The Essential [on Merely A Thought Monday]

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I’m not sure what stacks up around your house. At our house, the stacks are paintings, cartoons, designs, composition notes, manuscripts, folios, notebooks of ideas, scraps of paper jammed into the notebooks of ideas, lyrics a-go-go, and the supplies necessary to make the other stacks possible. Colored pencils, brushes, too many composition books, canvas, tissue paper, paint, sketchbooks, art books, and the stacks-and-stacks of stuff teetering on the piano and bench that somehow resemble a nest.

All of this is to note that we are fantastic generators of content and equally inept marketers of what we generate. Thus, the stacks. It was this realization – and the necessity of making a living – that one year ago gave birth to the melange. Melange means ‘mixture’ or ‘medley.’

The idea was simple: Monday would be dedicated to our cartoon, Chicken Marsala. Tuesday would be dedicated to our Two Artists designs. Wednesday was Flawed Cartoon day. Thursday was for my paintings. Friday was for Kerri’s music. We created a Society6.com store for each day, set about designing 5 product lines a week (oh, god,…more content). Through our blogs we’d write about and publish the day’s selection, he-said/she-said-style. People all over the world would read what we wrote, be captivated by the cartoon, design or composition, and race to the Society6.com store to buy a print or a mug or a laptop sleeve or a greeting card. Content out, income, well…in.

And, it happened. People all over the world read our blogs. And, almost no one raced to the Society6.com stores. We studied a few things, learned a few things, reconfigured, tried a few social-media-marketing variations, bought ad space, waved our hands, jumped up and down, danced silly dances – we pivoted and pivoted again.

More readers. Less-than-no shoppers.

One day, after eight months, we looked at each other and considered pulling the plug and would have pulled the plug except for one small-yet-oh-so-important detail: we love to write together. In the course of a year, the melange managed to boil itself down to its essence. Each day Kerri writes her post. “Don’t look!” she says as I, sitting next to her,  write mine. And then, before posting, we share them. We read to each other. It’s always a surprise (though mine are predictably “heady” and hers are 100% “hearty”).

When I looked back at our first post one year ago I laughed at the irony. Love needs no words. Well, in this case, in our case, love revels in words. There are too many words for the love to contain. And, so, our stacks grow happily higher and higher and higher.

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read Kerri’s blog post about A YEAR IN MELANGE

 

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chicken marsala ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Pick A Pillow [on Merely A Thought Monday]

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Merely A Thought Monday was a progression, an evolution of our single panel cartoon, our imaginary child, Chicken Marsala. Chicken used to show up with simple phrases like Assume Awe or Love Needs No Words. We called them “nuggets.” One day we realized that folks liked the words but were barely conscious of the drawing of Chicken. So, Chicken retired to Maui. His words remain.

Along with Chicken we also developed product designs, lines of merchandise inspired by the day’s cartoon. Prints, tote bags, laptop sleeves,… one for each day of the Melange….a remarkable 80 different designs/lines by the time we realized our product lines were as invisible and/or overwhelming as Chicken. So, we retired them, too.

Last weekend, like an old couple looking at pictures of good times past, we revisited our designs. Shifting in my rocker, pulling my cardigan up on my shoulders, I sighed and said, “Some of those designs were darn good.”

Kerri sighed, adjusted her spectacles and said, “Do you have a pillow for my back? I need a pillow for my back.”

So. That’s how pillow week at the Melange came to be. Nostalgia. And necessity. It’s all we’ve got. It’s the best there is! [just count your blessings that we’re not showing you slides of our trip to the coast]. Follow the link. Get Kerri a pillow. Or, just pick up one for yourself. Or a friend. If you see Chicken, tell him to write.

THE LINK

 

read Kerri’s blog post about THROW PILLOW WISDOM

 

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chicken designs and products ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

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Design A Single Week

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This image took my breath away when Kerri showed me. And so, we decided to share it.

A brief explanation: many weeks ago, standing amidst the stacks of music, paintings, cartoons, and designs that we’d created, work that populated proposals & submission after submission after submission but had yet to find an audience, we decided to create our own channel to share it. We called the channel “the melange,” a medley, a daily offer of a design, cartoon, painting or piece of music and the thoughts they inspired in us. We launched it 14 weeks ago.

And, because we are artists trying to make a living, we established a product line through society6.com for each day of the melange [if a painting is out of reach perhaps a cool tote bag or fine art print is more accessible]. This morning, as we prepared the multiple sites and completed our writing for the upcoming week’s melange, Kerri showed me a compilation image of all the products she’d designed just THIS WEEK!

Look at this image and multiply what you see by 14 weeks. Breathless. And so much fun.

ROOT IN LOVE product line [chicken marsala monday]

SHINE product line [two artists tuesday]

SO MUCH POSSIBILITY product line [flawed cartoon wednesday]

CLOSELY I WILL HOLD YOU product line [dr thursday]

FISTFUL OF DANDELIONS product line [ks friday]

 

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

Use Joy Language

joy-croppedTripper Dog-Dog-Dog has moved through several names in his 3 years on earth. He has a cornucopia of names. For a while I dropped the “Tripper” part of his name and simply called him Dog-Dog. Now, much as a mother might use their child’s middle name, we only call him Tripper when he’s in trouble.

Lately I call him Dog-a-Dog (or doggadogga). He answers to Wag-A-Wag. He is an Australian Shepherd and has a bobbed tail that never stops wagging. He is a happy, happy boy. When I let him out in the morning I call him Fuss Bucket. When he comes back in I call him Poop Sack (for obvious reasons) or Bark Monster or Fur Ball. He sheds like a champion. When he circles through the rooms of our house looking for a safe place to deposit his bone, I (cleverly) call him Bone.

All the variations and derivatives are terms of endearment. Dog-Dog knows and responds in kind. Love is like that. Once, sitting on a train, I watched a grandfather lovingly toss his toddler grandson in the air saying, “You’re just Rubbish! That’s what you are! Rubbish!” The boy squealed with delight. The grandfather chuckled with pleasure and repeated the toss, “You’re just Rubbish!”

Language is a beautiful paradox. It is reductive even as it points to the unfathomable universe and the infinity of love. It is referential; we sometimes forget that the word “tree” is not the tree itself. It is merely an invented-phonetic-pointer toward something too complex to comprehend.

Language is powerful beyond comprehension. We use it to narrate our worlds, both inner and outer. The words we choose create the world we see. The words we choose define the world we inhabit. In my consulting/coaching days I used to love playing with exercises that revealed how easily we come to the language of gossip and blame. It requires almost no effort. Like sugar, hate-speak is addictive. It is the mark of a lazy mind.

The language of love takes some intention and consciousness. It demands conscious effort. It requires paying attention. It requires focusing the energy of the mind and, like any focus (or muscle) it demands exercise to be healthy. And, when exercised, it becomes easy. With great love, the word “Rubbish” can generate squeals of pleasure. The name “Fuss Bucket” will engender a full body joy-wag. And, a full body joy-wag will bring the love full circle. Love is like that. Joy is like that.

In his many books, Martin Prechtel writes beautifully about the power and necessity of speaking beautifully. Speaking beautifully creates a beautiful thinker and a beautiful thinker creates – narrates – a beautiful story, a beautiful world.

Prints/Mugs/Pillows/Cards/Totes

kerrisherwood.com   itunes:  kerri sherwood

 

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