GOALS: update

WOW it has been a busy couple of weeks!  Who knew that chasing my dreams and accomplishing goals would so all-consuming.  But it has been such a blast so far and honestly really encouraging.

(If you are interested in following along on the day to day I provide a lot more frequent updates via Instagram (@the.megan.mill) and Facebook. 

Goal: Author/Illustrator

If you want to know more about the book I am writing or get a copy of it, you can see the Kickstarter page here .  There are also other rewards, like vinyl stickers, postcards, prints, or commissioned art.  The campaign goes until the end of February and as of right now I am only $700 away from my goal!  Which means 39 lovely backers out there have helped me to get 72% of the way!

kickstarter_19 days to go

The process itself has consisted of so many different pieces, from sketching, inking the final drawings, painting the illustrations, scanning, digitally editing, page layouts, text editing, marketing, researching publishing methods, connecting with nannies on social media, reaching out to organizations and companies to collaborate (that hasn’t been as successful as I would have hoped… thus far anyway… but if you want to collaborate please let me know!), filtering through unsolicited advice, thanking backers, prepping files for print… Gosh, the list goes on and on!

made some art_web_higher res

In reality though, it really has been fun to have a goal to reach for and go after.  And even more encouraging has been the chance to get to connect with so many awesome people!  Lots of nannies have messaged me to say how excited they are for this book… how they have been looking for a resource like this or how they wish there were more children’s books on the market related to the topic of nannies.  I never knew how big the nannying community actually was!  So many others out there who also love kids and crafts, creativity and playgrounds.  But also so many other who have gotten close to a little one, developed a bond, but then had to say goodbye.  It really is a tough balance of holding on and letting go.  And not just for nannies… in life in general.  No matter who we love, nothing is permanent and we will all face changes, transitions, and goodbyes.

waving goodbye_web

Because of the excitement I have seen and how much I have enjoyed this process, I am feeling more and more confident that this will not be my only children’s book.  I have one or two more in mind for now… But am trying to not get too far ahead of myself… Gotta finish one first!

tea party_web.jpg

For those of you who don’t know me or really know my history, I have struggled with depression on and off for most of my life.  There have been a lot of days where everything has felt so remarkably meaningless and it was hard to get excited about anything.  So the fact that I have goals right now… and not goals that were part of a pre-determined plan (graduate high school, go to college, get a degree, get a job, etc.), goals that I am excited about and actually want to achieve… this feels big. My life feel full of passion and authenticity and dreams!  (Man, I sound like a sappy commercial or something…)  And to bring it back down to earth, ya, there have been hard days.  Days of anxiety and self-doubt and frustration.  Days where I have said “holy crap holy crap what am I doing, I’m not qualified for this, I’m going to fail, ahhhh”.  But all-in-all it has been a good season.

Though, speaking of seasons, it has been remarkably cold here in Virginia recently.  So one of my other goals to walk all of Blacksburg hasn’t gotten a whole lot of focus.  In fact, I think I have only been on three outdoor walks since the new year. But as things warm up I am excited to get back into that as well.  Today I went out on a trail I never knew existed and found a beautiful field, informational plant signs, and some deer poop…. So, that was a win, right?

Thanks for following along on this journey!  I would love to connect with you, hear your goals and passions (or what you saw on a walk today!) so feel free to leave a comment below! :)

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GOALS: update

GOAL: walk all the streets

I am tired of seeing the same route every time I go for a walk.  I am tired of the extra pounds I have put on since being married.  I am tired of not having any goals that I get me excited.  I am tired of not feeling proud of myself… and in fact, feeling kind of like a loser.  So I am working to change that.  Let’s go 2018.

Goal #1: Walk all the streets in Blacksburg.

(Yes.. I recognize that I am going to have to put some constraints and limits on this but I haven’t yet figured out what those are.  One I do know, however, is I will not be walking the highway (460 for you locals).  Two: I will not be trespassing on any private property or restricted areas.  Edge boundaries are TBD.)

Three days so far to test this idea.  It’s actually been a blast, getting to walk streets full of old memories, but also explore new little nooks and crannies of the town I have lived in for now… what would it be… 6.5 years.

December 17 to 20

I think there will be more maps to come… This project has gotten me thinking about all the knowledge of this place I have accumulated over my time in Blacksburg and how desperate I was for information when I first came here as a freshmen at Virginia Tech.  Stay tuned for more in the future!

december 18d

dec 17 to 20 listsdecember 18 to 20

GOAL: walk all the streets

Shockingly Original Post Idea (aka thanksgiving)

Hi friends,

Happy Thanksgiving!! I know the holidays can be a difficult time for some, ranging from the normal stress and pressure associated with travel/plans or more intense emotions (grief, loneliness..).  So I hope wherever you are today, whoever you are with, that it is as restful as possible.

I just wanted to share a few of the things I am thankful for this year and then share one new art-related technique I attempted recently.

As for things that I am thankful for… there are so many in this season of life right now that it’ll be hard to list.  And I am thankful for feeling like I can even write that.  As some of you know, I have struggled on and off with depression since middle school and there have been quite a few thanksgivings that I haven’t felt so thankful.  Sometimes it is just so difficult, when you’re in the darkness, to see any light at all.  Especially when there is additional social pressure because of a holiday.  Or when your brain says, “you really should be happy, you have nothing to be so depressed about, what is wrong with you, look at all the people in the world who are so much worse off than you.”  Comparison, though it may seem logical, is not beneficial in those moments.  But I digress…

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my family, both biological and in-laws.  I am thankful for their love for me and each other.
I am thankful for how much effort my parents have put into their marriage throughout the last year.  Coming back from the brink of divorce is no small thing and I am so grateful.
I am thankful for my husband who works so hard for our family and who cares so deeply for those he loves.
I am thankful for the time I got to spend with the family who hired me to nanny for them.  I can honestly say that I can think of no other way I would have rather spent that time and I can think of no other family who would have been more loving, more wonderful than they are.  (Love you Caro!) See you again so soon!
I am thankful for my part-time architectural drafting work and for the free time to pursue art/design/collage/sewing/baking/knitting/children’s book writing.  It really has been such a life-giving combination so far.
I am thankful for our new apartment, for no rats, for privacy (and no topless neighbors on the roof outside of my kitchen window), for a guest room I am not embarrassed to have guests stay in, for a washer and dryer in our apartment (!!! goodbye laundromat!)
I am thankful for friends and moments together and laughter and phone calls (even though they definitely aren’t the same as hanging out in person).
I am thankful for the freedom I feel to explore my beliefs and express myself and be who I am.
And I think I can also honestly say in this moment, that I am thankful for the lows… They make the good times so much sweeter, they help me empathize, they provide creative inspiration.  But I am also SO thankful that that’s not where I am right now.

What are you thankful for?

 

And a final little aside: I have been working on developing a children’s book recently and, even if it only ends up on my shelf and the shelf of my beloved little friend, it has been a really awesome experience.  This week I attempted to digitally add some color to a couple of the layouts I had drawn during inktober:

These were just quick digital sketches designed to help me plan how I want to physically paint them with watercolors and it was really satisfying to get to interlace analog and digital methods so seamlessly!

Which one do you prefer?

Thanks for reading.
Talk to you soon!
M

Shockingly Original Post Idea (aka thanksgiving)

It was just an adjective.

Simple sounds
muffled amongst the layers of meaning
that wrap overlap and veil
Meant to convey
they confuse refusing to be as simple as they seem
Because we’ve imbued them all
Convoluted them all
And if they’re not in a dictionary yet, just you wait
And the words on the screen broken down
are just pixels perceived by your eyes
Any meaning perceived
all lies behind
where the lines are converted to sounds
wrapped around and around with meaning
A mean thing
created by the creatures determined to drown out the actual sounds and
Perhaps the magic of music is found
in the substance of sound without meaning,
sound just being

If I could only just be.

And feel

(The wind of the word
a i r
and the Teeth
(Are you feeling your Tongue Touch the Tip of your Teeth
and your breath breath breath)
the swish and the swash of the grass and
the buzz of the bugs
and the squish and the squash of the marsh
and the gal-lop gal-lop gal-lop)

When did sounds become words
and words become meaning
and meaning become so abstract
that I can’t even grasp what it is to mean.

It was just an adjective.

And sometimes I bake.

Last weekend my family came in town for a football game and my sister spent a couple extra days with me.  One rainy day we made and decorated gingerbread cookies after searching the entirety of the new river valley for a gingerbread-man shaped cookie cutter. We were unsuccessful.  Apparently they don’t sell those pre-halloween.

cookiesweb

cookiesweb2

cookiesweb3

and last week I also baked my second pie from scratch:

pie

It was apple and it was delicious.

 

The End.

And sometimes I bake.

the damage of one dandelion

He was everything that has roots in the cracks of my skin that are sidewalk scars – the bleeding wrinkles of time in my soul that had scabbed over but ripped open anew – and I hate him for it.

He was the middle school girl in science  class
Too high in the social strata to acknowledge her
Unless it was a partner lab day and the other popular girls were out sick.
And then they were best friends.

He was her father’s anger
and her parents’ fighting
Unaffected by her perfect grades
(And the voluntary additional chores
And resume-building
And extra curriculars)
And she was still sitting helplessly at the top of the stairs,
listening.

He was the boy who asked her to go swimming
At the empty house
And then cornered her in the pool
And left her feeling guilty for not seeing the signs earlier
And thinking she was the one at fault.

To pull a weed with a system of roots so deep can tear up entire worlds.

 

the damage of one dandelion