Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am so ready to get the Saturday Spotlight running full force! When possible I will be letting authors and writers take over my blog. For one post, they will be holding onto the reins. They will introduce themselves to us, share some thoughts about who they are, their writing, their books. They will take us on a small adventure and then return us to the spot we started in and then to head off into the sunset leaving some links for us to choose from if we decide to follow up with them later.
So I’ll definitely be keeping my introductions short so there is no wasted time. Please give a big welcome to Cassandra Arnold. She is a wonderful lady, she is multifaceted and full of amazing life experiences which include being a mother, doctor, artist, and author. She has worked with Doctors Without Borders and has lived in several different countries.
She is a multi-talented individual with some great insights to share with us. I am so excited for you to read her thoughts today and surely she will do the better job of introducing herself than I ever could. She has a perfect introduction of words for us to ponder upon. I ask that you sit for a moment some time day and ask yourself the question she poses. So, without further ado, I will be passing the torch to her:
“Are you creating yet? What are you waiting for?”
I have had so many life tags over the years: small business owner, mother, partner, ER doctor, elected city official, physician with Doctors Without Borders, activist, dreamer, and now, artist and author.
So you may be asking me why art? Why writing? Why not retire in comfort and stop all these agonizing creative challenges and struggles to make perfect images and find the perfect words?
Because – in a nutshell – I believe that these things have the power to change the world. And I want to do that more than anything. Books have changed my life so many times and in so many ways.
I want to create paintings and digital art that move people. Books, poems, and stories that take people to other places and bring them back inspired to make a difference, to be able to love more deeply and create what their own souls are longing for.
“I have lived in or visited more than forty countries and my favourite place is still the imagination”
In August 2018, I released my first book about my work with Doctors Without Borders.
It took me six years to write.
How could I encapsulate so many extraordinary experiences in a way that people would engage with, learn from, share and enjoy?
One of my Amazon 5* reviewers said that I had invented a new genre, the docu-journal, and I think that is nicely put. The book is part notebook, part poem, part photo album, part factual, short and immersive. It makes people cry.
“Two weeks ago, I didn’t even know that Niger was a country… now I am deep in its south with Doctors Without Borders, responsible for saving people’s lives.”
All the profits are donated to Doctors Without Borders, so for me, it is a way of continuing that vital work out there in the wider world.
And now that is done, while I contemplate the sequel, I am diving deep into the maelstrom of novels.
Of course, I want income from Kindle sales and page reads in the thousands (don’t we all?) but more than that, I want to polish all the rough-cut drafts nestled in my hard drive and see if what I have created strikes a chord with readers out there.
Do my characters come alive?
Are their challenges meaningful?
Do they change in ways that readers will love and rejoice over?
Will I be able to make someone stay up all night unable to resist turning just one more page?
Editing a full-length story is a whole new and daunting skill to master, but there are so many excellent resources out there online and in Facebook groups. The generosity of people ahead of me on this journey astounds me every day. I am slowly inching my way from being a 100% Pantser to plotting in advance, which helps with word count when I do NaNoWriMo, a 50,000 word novel in November. (nanowrimo.org)
Being a writer today is to be part of a global community
Yes, there are still the solitary hours wrestling with the page in front of you but there are also all the others out there doing the same work and cheering you on. Jump in! Join in! We will all celebrate with you when your creation goes live!
Oh – and please – don’t talk to me about marketing right now!
And being an artist is also to belong to a worldwide tribe
My house is full of paintings and artifacts that I collected as I travelled over the years.
I always knew that I couldn’t paint, since I was one of the kids at school that was thrown out of art before we got to the exam years and the serious stuff. But I longed to express myself in images so I made collages with my six-year-old son, and in page after page in my journals.
It wasn’t until I moved to Canada in 2010 that I found a teacher I could connect with and the fun began. I paint mostly from my imagination and there are surprises all along the way. This one began as a beach scene but like most of my work, it had a mind of its own.
I have been an Active Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists for three years and have shown my work with them in Calgary and Vancouver.
This year, I joined an artist collective gallery The Painted Moose, near Calgary, Canada, took part in the Inktober month long challenge inking challenge, and the 100 Day Project on Instagram. https://www.the100dayproject.org/
Digital sketching has become the best part of my day: low stress and more fun than I ever imagined when I bought a smartphone with a built-in pen and a drawing app. The instant Undo button is my new BF for sure.
Wrangling acrylic paint on canvas is less forgiving although the larger scale does lend itself to a different kind of impact.
You can read more about Beyond Borders and my other books, see more of my art, or connect with me on social media at:
- My Amazon Author page https://www.amazon.com/Cassandra-Arnold/e/B00DHTQUPK
- Instagram @cassandra_art_and_stories
- Facebook @CassandraArnoldArtist
I would love to meet with you there!