If you are a creator, chances are you want folks to see your work. Creative people know what I’m talking about. (Of course, we’re all creative in some way.) Yes, we paint, we write, we knit, we make stuff because it pleases us, because it sends us into a zone where we lose track of time, but we ultimately want to share our creations with the world. But how do artists who are usually solitary souls do this? It’s difficult to shout out about yourself to the world. It feels weird. It feels false. I have felt this way many times as I promote my blog and my writing. I am not an outgoing salesperson. I do two of the most alone jobs I can think of: writer and gardener. At the same time, what I produce entertains and educates people so I do want them to know about it. How to get the word out sincerely and without annoying people is the question.
I got the answer this winter when I discovered Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work. It’s a book that teaches people how to self-promote when they don’t want to self-promote. It’s a book about how to keep working in private while sharing what you’re doing with the world. Quietly, nicely, and most importantly, passionately. Kleon’s asks, What are your passions? Share them because people will respond to that passion. They may not be into everything you’re into, but they’ll be into some of the stuff you’re into. And those folks will pass the word on.
In light of this, I’m embarking on a series of Show Your Work posts. I’ll be writing about the stuff that sends my heart soaring. The things I love. In fact, he talks about the idea of a cabinet of curiosities. The cabinet that cultured people had centuries ago to show off their interest in the world and their intellectual curiosity. We all have a cabinet of curiosities, Kleon says. It’s the modern day bookcase. We usually keep our most favorite stuff in that cabinet. Our favorite books, boxes, knick knacks, travel souvenirs, whatever. When I looked at my bookcase, I was shocked at how right he was. There, in just scanning it, I thought of at least three posts I could do about the coolest stuff on there. My favorite gardening books, a favorite box I got from far away, little recyclable coasters I love. So much of me is in that bookcase.
So without further ado, I’m sharing a photo of my favorite bookcase. It’s made of pine wood from a company called Ballard Bookcase in Seattle that no longer exists. It sits beside two paintings I bought for their Parisian feel. One features a flower shop, the setting of my novel, The Forgetting Flower, and one of a bicycle, which my protagonist rides around Paris on. They warm my heart. What also warms me is the green chair beside the bookcase. This is where I write most days. It’s the brightest room in the house and right by windows that face the back garden. I love that chair and I love that room. The best of me is there. In fact, I love it so much I decided to call my newsletter, Dispatches from a Green Chair, because that’s where I produce it. I work and dream there. I also drink tea there and snuggle with my kids and squeeze in when my cat Aleksy has taken it over. Oh well, you can’t say “no” to your cat.
Do you have a favorite bookcase in your home? Where is your favorite place to sit? Send me photos in the comments, please! I’d love to see where you are most happy.