Annie Kenney&Christabe Pankhurst, England early 20th century
It’s downright painful to think about the women who fought for their vote and their freedom in the nineteenth-century. Women were kept in the kitchen, away from the real world, but they were cunning, seeking education, politics, and forming organizations to fight collectively. Among those who worked for our future are twentieth-century, Billie Jean King, Gloria Steinem, and nineteenth-century, Florence Nightingale, it’s a long list of women.
What do you think of when you think about the Civil War, the bloodiest war of all? What about the strong women left behind to work, to survive, to raise the kids? Acknowledged finally, women veterans are recognized.
North and South
Here’s an unreal statistic according to Google: Nearly as many men died in captivity during the Civil War as were killed in the whole of the Vietnam War. Hundreds of thousands died of disease. Roughly 2% of the population, an estimated 620,000 men and boys lost their lives in the line of duty.
So what happened? Has slavery disappeared? No, slavery still comes in many forms, caused by greed and passion for excess. Women are working hard to break the mold. Are we there yet? Are you part of the Me-Too fight? We still have work to do, do you agree?
My powerhouse Mom worked hard. The wholesale business she created within the family retail store was more than fulltime. She was a woman of great endurance, smart in business, keeper of the books, and well-respected. Mom broke the mold of domesticity. Hats off to all the Moms, strong women. I’m dazzled by those who have made a difference. Finding amazing women who changed the world is eye-opening. Who do you know that has made a difference? Will you share?
Brite Brilliance Acrylic/Canvas | 16×20″
As a kid, my creativity took the form of re-creating. I took clothes apart and remade them into something different. I turned my mother’s gown into a dress. Mom was horrified. I also took apart radios and clocks and put them back together. Dad was supportive. I sometimes needed his help. I also began drawing when I was a kid. I drew faces and comic book characters, like Wonder Woman. Everything around me was an inspiration – to create.
Music has always been a joy. I love to play piano and guitar. If only there was more time in a day to create new things, including all the ones in my dreams. Then there’s my professional life as an interior designer where I photographed the spaces I created. The interior design school I founded gave others a way to expand their horizons. Currently, my passion is writing and painting. Painting landscapes has been a way of connecting to nature and to explore the beauty of a sky, a sunset, sunrise, a body of water, a wave. I see a painting in everything, even a building, a portrait of my grandchildren, and a snowy Christmas tree. Everyone loves the creativity Christmas offers. Just look around you, it’s all there for you to enjoy and participate in. There are so many ways of creating beauty. Many of us have past times that give us peace of mind and help us to reconnect to our inner lives. Some of us love to garden, others love to cook, but what we all have in common is a desire to create. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Reach for your star and you will find your own truth path.
I love vibrant colors. And if there is one common element in my work, it’s color. Outdoors, I look for the sun’s rays of pink and amber creeping across the meadow, catching the magic hour when lights are warm and reflected light is bouncing in the cool shadows. Sunrise and sunset sweep the rainbow colors across the skies. Atmospheric landscapes have a beauty that often goes unrealized. Rich purples, yellows and blues on a rainy, foggy day are subtle, but magnificent. God’s heaven on earth.
Portofino Charm Acrylic/Canvas 18×24″
Indoors, I have a myriad of subjects to paint. I have photos from my photography then and now. I record people, places and things that are inspirational. It is thrilling to watch a blank canvas evolve into work-of-art.
Next week, I’ll be taking part in a special art show where I’ll be featuring two of my paintings: Maine Boats and Coney Island Bumper Cars. If you want to see more of my work you can visit my website.
Maine Boats (formerly boat bunches)
Watercolor | 10×14″
Coney Island Bumper Cars
Pastel & Watercolor| 10×14
Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.
Nope, it’s not working. How do I do this writing thing?
Writing fiction fell upon me through my own devices of dreams and things. After some research online where I found the affair of my 19th century, barely out of her teen years debutante, I thought, I must write this story of love, disappointment and murder.
I know, I said to myself, I’ll write a book. After all, I had written a chapter for a history book and been wooed by a publisher. I wrote up school catalogs, wrote course curriculum, wrote up interior design and architectural history lectures, proposals for jobs, poetry and love letters. Surely writing a book would be a piece of cake. Sure, right.
I sat down, pen in hand, put pen down—booted up my trusty Mac, surely that would inspire me, nope, that didn’t help, read “Writing for Dummies,” nothing helped. This is not going to work. What do I write first, the end? What words do I use? How do I find my characters? Where does all this come from? It shouldn’t be any different than giving a lecture. OK, I though smugly, I’ll approach it like a lecture. I could talk for hours about interior design, lighting, space planning, history, architectural anything. Still nothing. I remember the emptiness, the confusion, the lack of words. I didn’t think I had this gift to tell a story, no less write one. If it is pretend, then leave it to the imagination of the gifted.
Tommy the train to NYC
Then I met Brenda. I met this young woman on a train ride into New York traveling to a Michael Hauge workshop.
Michael Hauge is a story and script consultant, author, and lecturer who works with writers and filmmakers on their screenplays, novels, movies, and television projects.
Hauge is a screenwriter who works with storytellers like me, well—me trying to discover my inner sanctum. I didn’t grasp the lesson that day, but on our break, I heard what Brenda had written and asked her if any of what I heard was true. She said no, that she had made it up, Ahha, a storyteller. I asked Brenda to explain how she did that. We talked several times, and she helped me start my story of this young girl, married to a drug addict, and her hero that came along and saved her life.
I discovered the art of writing, a creative endeavor. Creativity is a right brain activity. Have you explored your creativity? I always remember creating. When I was maybe seven years old, comic books were the rage. I would sit at my desk and draw what I saw in the comic books. Wonder Woman was my hero. As I got older, I drew all kinds of things. I played the piano, I took dance lessons, voice lessons, sang in school shows, sang in school choir, took my mother’s dresses apart and remade them. Took my radio apart and my clock apart and put them back together, well, with Daddy’s happy help, it was my curiosity that pushed me to explore. The list goes on, and I wrote little poems and notes to friends and family. I was just not a storyteller.
I wanted to tell this story, and by golly, I was going to. I investigated availability of curriculum to learn the skills of fiction writing. Workshops, online courses and seminars, mentors, crit groups, conferences—later, newly armed with the craft of writing for which I should be awarded a PhD in the subject, I had the first draft done, however, not without help and encouragement from Brenda and my editor. This is not an activity that is easily done alone. I am a member of the Connecticut Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, where so many other writers gather and help each other. The first draft led to the second and the third drafts. By the time I worked on the fourth, I had my publisher’s editor who was amazing. With her edits, I practically rewrote the whole manuscript. In October 2015, Indigo Sky was published by Soul Mate Publishing. I finally felt like a writer, and could call myself ‘Author.’
My book can be found in three formats, paperback, eBook and Audiobook. If you like to watch trailer previews of Disney, you will enjoy the trailer preview of Indigo Sky.
The link to my trailer is right here above on my Author page.
The most wonderful gift that came out of all of this is my growth as a writer. I can teach, edit, develop, critique, mentor and encourage new writers and even participate with seasoned writers doing related activities.
So . . . what is your creative bent?