IT IS COMPLETE-ED!! Terrible misspelling, but it's the closest I could come to a villainous accent in text form!
Anywho, all that to say...the manuscript to Carefree, Like Me! - Ch.2: Sacra the Joyous is completed!! :)
The folks who I've let read it have absolutely fallen in love with it, and I can't wait to share it all with you too. Stay tuned for an exciting opportunity to be a part of the magic too. ;)
July, however, more than seeing the start of a new chapter of my book series also saw the start of a new chapter professionally for me. This month was slower compared to what I've been used to these past few months, but it's offered me the opportunity to have an abundance of learning and growth at a slower pace.
I've learned in the most beautiful way that I LOVE being a teaching artist, and that teaching is a huge part of my life purpose and mission. Three separate events proved that to me, and I'm stepping fully into that bit of my artistic journey as well.
July 29th, concluded a month-long workshop class that I taught at Artworks Trenton, and it was such an incredible experience. I ran two sessions. One for Teens and another for kids ages 6-12. I taught a class about the basics of character design and storytelling, and the kids loved it.
The only critique that I received was that class didn't last long enough, and one boy in particular told his Dad that he was sad yesterday was the last day. Warms the heart! :) My only wish too was that I had more than three days, but it was established by the organization. Unfortunately, a handful of students couldn't make the last day, but it was still a great time!
I also did a reading at Mercer County Library System Lawrence Branch that was amazing!
I was so deathly afraid that like 1 person was going to show up, but thankfully 10 wonderful kids and their parents signed up and joined me for the fun! They all were super invested in the book and had some really profound questions. One boy in particular had me rolling. When I mentioned my next book takes place with the Ancient Aztecs he shouted, "SO DOES THAT MEAN THERE WILL BE HUMAN SACRIFICE?!" I was like O_O "Impressive and historically accurate, but I don't think parents would appreciate that." LOL!
They also loved the small workshop that I ran too, delving into the character design process to understand how I begin to understand my own characters. You can check out two of the budding artists' creations below.
Thank you to the incredible Karen Grant & my new amazing Twitter-made-real-life-friend Jennifer Cohan for supporting me and stopping in to listen and hang out with me! It was incredible meeting you, and both yours and Karen's belief in me and my work means the world. Of course, thank you Mama Dukes Brenda Davis for always being so supportive and being the best cheerleader I could ask for! Onward and upward !
Exhibit C: Further proof of the need to teach!
As you all may probably see, I have been working my BUTT OFF. haha.
I'm finally in alignment with what I want, and each day is fresh, new and difficult - which I LOVE. Every day I strive to know more than what I knew the day before and build not just a career but a new way of life. I left a wonderful corporate job with its safety, because I knew that I had more to offer and that my spiritual team would give me the wind necessary to soar high once I jumped. They whispered in my ear that it was time to start anew and not to worry; that I would be helping and inspiring and getting the abundance I needed to continue. I felt like a total basket-case LOL, but I knew what I had to do. I had no guarantees of anything and still don't truthfully, but I've watched my risks pay off in untold ways. One of those ways is being able to see children light up when they see someone tell them their dreams are valid.
As such, I'm really proud to announce that I've been selected as an official teaching artist with Young Audiences of New Jersey and Pennsylvania!!!
Empathy is at the core of everything I do, and I'll be offering a workshop based on that premise. YANJ is a wonderful arts education org. that works with artists who are willing and able to teach workshops and assemblies in the NJ and PA area. It's perfect for me because I get to teach, but I maintain my freelance identity!
I would not be able to claim this without a supportive community, Eric Thomas and Jacqui Dent Ivey in particular. Eric, an incredible soul and friend who just gives and gives, introduced me to YANJ and became one of my biggest cheerleaders as I launched into a new career. I met Eric through Jacqui, who herself has become like a third mother to me haha. Their mentorship, love, and belief in my work has kept me afloat and able to do what I love best in myriad ways. Hard work is not enough. The folks with whom you surround yourself and the community that gives you love is just as important if not more.