Tomatoes, hedgehogs, and the stalker-y nature of a great idea

Recently, a friend invited me to participate in a “blog hop.” All I had to do was answer four questions and invite three other bloggers to do the same thing. Being all yes-tilting these days, I said I’d do it , and today’s the day. In the interest of full disclosure, let me just say that I am, in fact, breaking all the rules that were given to me… even though there were only two, and they were both completely reasonable.

Okay, onward! The four questions are supposed to be about writing, but, as you’ll see, I didn’t limit myself.

What am I working on?

  1. A new 30-day Art Challenge. You can do it with me. Details at the bottom of this post.
  2. Tomatoes. I grow tomatoes every summer. Or, I should say, I plant tomatoes every summer. I grow tall, green, gorgeous tomato plants that rarely give me much in the way of actual tomatoes. Here are three of this year’s plants. They’ve grown at least 3 and half feet since I planted them. Not one has even the tiniest beginning of a tomato… Yet… I remain undaunted.
    *shakes fist at sunny blue sky where, presumably, mischievous tomato gods are snickering*
  3. A t-shirt and logo design, some custom art and doodle requests, and two (2!) 2015 art calendars.
  4. Illustrations for a writer-friend’s wonderfully charming children’s book. Here’s one of my early sketches, because who among us does not need to see a doodly little hedgehog now and then.
    Hedghogs (2)
  5. The forward bend in yoga. I know. It’s easy. But I want the front of my body to lie flat against my thighs, like the yogis in Yoga Journal. I recently read that the forward bend may be not be good for women as they get older, which only makes me want to do it more. (Yes. I’m competing with my younger self. This really can’t end well.)
  6. A figure drawing class (through Pencil Kings) and a painting/sketching course called “The Art Of Wild Abandonment,” from Christy Tomlinson’s Scarlet Lime site. Both are excellent, and I mention them because if you’re interested in online art classes, you should check both these sites out.
  7. New “Doodles & Art” &  “Work With Me” pages for this site. (Someday someone wonderful will do all my website work for me. I want that more than a pool boy… and I really want a pool boy.)

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

This question doesn’t feel like it applies to me. Or I don’t care about the answer. Either way, I decided to ask something else….

When do I (and by “I,” I mean all of us) get to wear the title (writer, artist, photographer, musician, maker, poet, yogi, rocket scientist)?

Are you doing it? Then you’re it.

I have more to say on this, and will say it at great length in an upcoming post, but at its core, there’s my answer. I know a lot of people won’t agree. I didn’t agree for a long, long time. But now I think what you actually do is more important than your degree, your credentials, your good intentions, or your big ideas. It’s all about doing the work. More on this subject soon…

Why do I write what I do?

The writer who invited me to participate in this blog hop, Beverly Golden, said in her own post that she believes ideas find us, we don’t find them. I believe that too. Creative  ideas appear out of nowhere all the time for me, especially in the shower, because ideas don’t know anything about boundaries, and they have no frontal lobes. (Which, on the whole, is a good thing. I don’t want anything slowing them down.)

How does my writing process work?

Yay, I already answered this one in my illustrated post, “In the moment of creative suckitude.” If you missed it, go see. Reading about my creative process will, if nothing else, make you feel much better about yours!


Here’s where I break the second rule of the blog hop. Instead of tagging three people to answer these four questions, I’ve got a request. I’m looking for blogs that are creatively inspiring – you read them and all you want to do is drop everything and doodle a masterpiece, or paint, or write, or take a picture, or make a collage, or compose a symphony. If you have a suggestion (or lots of suggestions), please leave a comment, and I’ll love you forever.


My 30-day Art Challenge

In July, I’m starting a new 30-day Art Challenge. My goal is to complete a painting (and/or inking) every day for 30 days. I’ve been unusually busy lately and have had trouble carving out time for anything that isn’t part of a class, or something I’ve promised to someone else (most of which I love doing, but the lack of spare time is a downside to being in this YES place), so this challenge will help me get focused and productive on my personal art goals. If you’ve been having trouble too, join me! Your goal can be to write a certain number of words every day, or take a photo, or write a poem, or do any artful thing every day that you really want to do but haven’t felt you had time for. It’s all about deciding your art matters and making time to do it.

I’ll be posting about my 30 days here, and on Facebook. If we’re not friends already on Facebook, send me a friend request. I have a lot of fun (and share a lot of art) over there.



  1. fictional100 on June 27, 2014 at 2:58 am

    dear Judy (I still like to start messages this old-fashioned way), I am reading this early, an early inspiration for the day. I love the varied content you place inside this post (both verbal and visual–I DO need a little hedgehog like him/her!), but even more, I love your creative use of links–none gratuitous, all of them reaching into the bigger cosmic network of ideas and tangible possibilities. I haven’t followed where they all lead yet, but I will. For now, I want to give you the Exciting Use of Links blog award! (The badge for this exists only in my mind.) Thank you, and good luck with all of these newly planted plans, including the tomatoes, bearing luscious fruit. 🙂

    • j on June 27, 2014 at 7:09 am

      Ha! I accept! *stands at podium crying… grateful that I don’t wear mascara*

      Thank you, Lucy!

  2. donna on June 27, 2014 at 5:02 am

    I can see you writing a children’s book, reflecting yourself (your’e one of my ideas of a glorious free thinker, enchanting, free spirit) kids need to be exposed to more people like you, kids will thrive if they throw up their arms sing on the top of their lungs, do whirlies outside, and feel like they can fly with new ideas, and experience real joy, and the energy of the universe, and of course love and protect animals. school kills kids uniqueness. (sp). you remind me of that kind of person, you were meant to do great things, you have an amazing energy and spirit.

  3. j on June 27, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Ah, thank you, Donna. After an emotionally rocky week, what a pleasure to read this, and I so agree with you about kids. While I think that schools can work well for some children, so many others (maybe most others) get their big creative souls crushed in them. I was recently talking with a friend about this and we were both saying that, as parents, a lot of what we were doing it seemed, was counterbalancing the messages our kids received in school. The hard part is that a teacher has 30 kids to teach and so she has to demand some level of conformity, but for some kids (my youngest) that conformity is much, much harder than the work itself, and it does long lasting damage.

    I could go on and on… too bad no one’s asking us. (I have, more than once, thought, “I should start a school…)

    • lunajune on June 27, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      you would be a Fantabulous Teacher

      • j on June 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm

        Ah, thanks, June. I’m not sure I have the best temperament, but I do have a lot of ideas about how it should be done. (Which I think makes me just like everyone else.)

  4. Karin on June 27, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Not sure if I can nominate many other “creatively inspiring blogs” — yours and Julie’s are two of my favorites, the kind of blogs that make me write something in response (though whether or not I actually end up sharing it is a whole different matter 🙂 ).

    I think I’ll break the rule and make it a 31-day challenge 😉 After all, JULY is 31 days….so I’ll determine to create something new on my front every day.
    Is sharing it part of the rule? Because I’m incredibly shy a lot of the time about that sort of thing, ha.
    Oooh last minute thought–I’ll do away with the “scheduled” posts I’ve got archived and instead share the new thing I just wrote every day. Usually a poem will suffer months of me debating whether or not to share it.

    Also, sketched hedgehog is super adorable. And I love the idea you’re doing calendars! Sign me up for one 🙂

    • j on June 27, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      Yay! I love when you play with me! Whenever I post about it here (all my posts in July), I’ll pop over and see how you’re doing. And of course you can dance with me on FB.

      Your asking about the rules made me laugh. I think posting is a perfect idea!

  5. Donna on June 27, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Love your blog and your art….you’ve propelled me to give it shot….so, for the 31 days in July, I will do something “artful” (poem, draw, whatever) and polish up my blog to be more “authentic” to my spirit…felling inspired, thx

    • j on June 27, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      Thank you, Donna! When you finish polishing, come over and tell me. I can be one of your first house guests. ; )

  6. Nina Badzin on June 27, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Love that you’re doing a new challenge and I flat out laughed (in a good way) at your answer to how your work is unique. Way to reframe and make it what you wanted. 😉

    • j on June 27, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      I laughed too. Thank you, Nina!

  7. Beverley Golden on June 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks for saying “yes” and for taking this challenge and putting a brand new unique J. Clement Wall spin on it. Love how many things you are working on and how you challenge us all to do the work and to share our passions and the ideas that “find us”, with the world. Happy July! Here’s to creativity and ideas blooming in great abundance.

    • j on June 27, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Well, I think you did a better job with this than I did, but thank you for inviting me. I’m definitely happy that we’ve found each other out here in the ether – birds of a feather.

  8. KjM on June 28, 2014 at 9:00 am


    “…because who among us does not need…” So very true, J.

    I like your casual relationship to the rules. Not unlike my own…casual/passing relationship…with reality. 🙂

    I do so love your art, in whatever form it manifests itself, and the carefree spirit from which it emanates.

    And yes, I know that you, no more than any of us, is entirely carefree. But that does seem to be, at your very core, in your heart, your primary disposition.

    And we are blessed by it.

    • KjM on June 29, 2014 at 6:31 am

      I’m looking at this phrase, “And yes, I know that you, no more than any of us, is entirely carefree…” and, you know, there was a time I could actually string words together and they said what I’d intended to say.

      Seems that skill’s gone away, for the moment.

      Anyway, I love what you’re doing, J. Now, let me quit while I’m…wherever it is I am.

    • j on June 29, 2014 at 7:36 am

      What a lovely description of me; I’m keeping it! The older I get, the closer to carefree I get – at least in the sense that I sweat less and less of the small stuff (like rules, and the quest to be perfect or forever shiny). Maybe what happens as we age, is we get more choosy about what care about, and there’s nothing wrong with that! : )

      • j on June 29, 2014 at 7:42 am

        Haha! If I were in charge of the interwebby world, I would make sure that everything you ever write has an edit key after you hit publish. I won’t even tell you how many Tweets I’ve deleted because Twitter lacks an edit key… and why? Why?! “How hard would it be to give us a way to fix our typos?” shouts the girl who is not a programmer and has absolutely no idea how hard that would be.

        My theory is our typos keep us in our place somehow, chaining us to our flawed and earthly bound selves, lest we all fly off and find our bliss, and have no need anymore for social media.

        But it’s just a theory.

  9. Alarna Rose Gray on June 29, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I like how you started this out with Katherine Hepburn’s quote, and reworked the rules to suit yourself. That’s what it’s all about. And your drawing is perfect 🙂

  10. j on June 29, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you for mentioning that. I always start the emails to my subscribers with a quote that allows me to focus on things that are not always the focus of the post itself. As soon as I saw that Katherine Hepburn quote, I knew that’s what I wanted to write about in detail with you guys. And, really, this post just wouldn’t come together for me until I decided to chuck the rules.

    I haven’t visited in you in a while. Think I’ll hop on over. xo

    • Alarna Rose Gray on June 29, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      I really appreciate the visit, and I should say what I wanted to and didn’t in the first comment here. Your blog would be one of the few I’d nominate for that creative inspiration – you have a way of making me feel the things that matter, and that’s usually a launching place for me. Thank you.

  11. j on June 30, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you back. I’m surprised no one had any blogs to offer up. That’s either sad, or just an indication that it’s summer and no one’s hanging out on the interwebs right now (a good thing).

    LOVE your latest post (as evidenced by my long-winded response). Can’t wait for part 2.

  12. Chris Edgar on July 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Heh, when I saw the question about when you “deserve” to wear an “artist” nametag (or have the placard up on your office, etc.), I chuckled, because I realized that this question doesn’t come up for me anymore. Perhaps the moment of true “deservingness” arrives when I no longer care about the answer to whether I deserve to bear the lofty artist moniker.

    • j on July 5, 2014 at 11:33 am

      I think that’s right, Chris, though I would add that, to me, the “doing it” part matters. You are clearly doing it. It occurred to me recently that there are people creating all over the place who are hesitant to refer to themselves as artists (or writers or photographers) because they lack whatever credentials they think entitle them to the moniker. I used to think that too. It took me a very long time to call myself a writer – long after I’d been published on websites and in journals I was proud of. I didn’t have a book, and without one, I felt I didn’t have the right.

      I don’t think that way anymore. I don’t want to anyone to think that way. It’s stupid and limiting, and, as far as I’m concerned, it values the wrong things. Yay you for having evolved beyond such considerations; that’s where I’d like to see every creative be.

  13. Pam on July 2, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    My tomato plant has one tomato-in-progress (so far.) Here’s hoping for us to have a chance to see many tomatoes on both sides of the bay!

    I decided (after shilly-shallying for a good while) to start a 30-day challenge, too. I’m going to work on a watercolor postcard every day (starting today.) I’m not promising to finish one a day–sometimes there’s a long drying time between steps!

    Color color color!

    Have fun. Looking forward to seeing what you do. xo

    • j on July 5, 2014 at 11:36 am

      I missed that I had comments on my blog, and therefore missed that you were starting this until I saw your first couple of (gorgeous, fun) postcards on Twitter. So glad you tagged me.

      Yay! I count six of us playing in July. And for what it’s worth, though I’ve managed to produce something every day, I already changed my challenge to be “Arting something new every day,” because that allows for things that might take more than one day to finish, and stuff that might not involve paint or ink. Like what if I want to attempt a 13-layer cheesecake?

      We are on the same page, as usual, my friend. Can’t wait to see what you do too! xo

  14. rejoycephotos on July 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Thirty-one blog posts in thirty-one days is my commitment! Thanks for the idea challenge. Here’s to inspiration and creative expression in all her guises! You always inspire me with your doodles and way with words… They move me and excite my child-self. You know me as a Sapphire Girl and photographer at Ah yes, I’m going to breathe sweetly into this…

    • j on July 5, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Woo-hoo! Hopping over right now to see how you’re doing! You might be the blog that makes me want to drop everything and create! : )

  15. j on July 5, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Oh my gosh, Joyce, your banner photo. That is breathtakingly gorgeous. I want to save it as my computer’s background! Had to come back and say that. Okay… on to the blog.

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