If I could be a Storyteller…

A good story can draw the attention of anyone, if told in an interesting way… Just to state facts seems very dry, with no enjoyment, and also no way of sharing your life, your experiences and the chapters of your life to share with others to earn trust… But not just tell your story, but be your story…

If I could be able a tell a story, I would hope I might be able to some day be able to write them as some of my favorite story tellers would tell… Not so much as a literary correctness, but to be able to paint images within a mind through words types and read aloud…

Of all the storytellers and writings I have enjoyed listening to, I think to Garrison Keillor in his way with words and small town descriptions of simple but deeply thoughtful descriptions is so visual in his use of words… He who said once; “You start with what you know, but writing is a matter of discovery… It is an act of Discovery”… How I enjoy his morning highlights of The Writer’s Almanac on the radio in the mornings or later from the podcast and his show “A Prairie Home Companion”…

Garrison Keillor: Movie: The Man on the Radio with the Red Shoeshttp://bit.ly/dfsQjC

A Prairie Home Companion: http://bit.ly/cbWsma

The Writer’s Almanac: http://bit.ly/9kZqG0

Of those storytellers that cast the most descriptive stories printed into whimsical and creative words, my mind thinks to many, but I keep coming back to Robert Fulghum (http://robertfulghum.com)… Often as I was in my teens while at our family cottage at by the lake in Northern New York, I would sit upon the back porch or in the evenings near the fire reading his books… How the way he could write such simple stories giving examples of his life and all simple things we all should learn young, and then describe it almost as if you could close your eyes and live the simple times… Often casting the memories I learned of my own memories of youth giving me a smile…

His Books: “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”, “What on Earth Have I Done?: Stories, Observations, and Affirmations”, “Uh-Oh“ and “Maybe (Maybe Not) (Maybe Not : Second Thought”…

“We alone are answerable for what we think and so when nobody else is around or involved. Categories of “Fact” and “Fiction” are irrelevant in here. Are dreams true? Is what you imagine accurate?”

“Inside these tight boundaries of flesh and bone is a borderless jungle in which clearings exist. In these open spaces, there may be an amusement park, a zoo, a circus, a library, a museum, a theater, or a landscape stranger then Mars.”

Now if I could inspire to be able to paint within words such descriptions as these two authors do, I would feel I have just begun, as there are more things to write about and share…

What is your story?

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The Last Dance with Mom…

Dancing is such an important part of our lives; embedded as part of so many religions, a major part within so many cultures and our lifestyles… The wedding dance that a father does with his daughter or mother does with her son is considered a special prized and cherished moment to so many people, we look forward to this special Dance and then after remember with such deep care… Such a special moment with so much meaning for parent, grandparent and child…

Personally, I’m not one to often dance just for the joy of dance, use to only slow dance once in a great while with someone special… If I had deep feelings for that person, we can dance to music not heard by others, to a rhythm of the deep care and love shared…

A couple months ago while visiting my Mom who was fighting cancer, was up late night around 2am-ish, not being able to sleep and I shared a few hours just talking with her about memories shared that would bring her some laughter… We got talking about Dancing, something my grandmother who passed away had told me too- she had no regrets except one, to see me married and to have that extra special dance with her grandson…

Then Mom said she wished so deeply she could have this one dance too, that special Mother-Son Dance… She then told me that she had hoped to someday watch me get married and wanted to have that special dance that a mother has with her son… I tried not to think to this, and reaffirmed she would get healthy again and we would have that dance someday…

We both all teary eyed shared tissues together, till I got her laughing… I told her that I would only do a slow dance with her if she did another with me afterward, standing up showing her my funny dance – the “Uncle Chuck Dance”… I’d started doing this dance with and for my niece when she was barely able to walk, her baby body waddle to control balance just to stand and take those first few steps… Later she would shake her hinny to music in her little diaper, she would dance, swinging her butt around, and I started to imitate this balance act to the rhythm of the music… How my niece, Mom and sister laughed… It’s been now about 22 years that this dance has brought laughter to my family, even still to this day… At the time it was nice to hear my Mom laugh, when I knew even then she had so much pain…

I am still not married and that special moment is now something that will never happen except within my heart and memory…

Monday morning, we needed to bring in a special bed for Mom, so she needed to come out of her room while we took her bed down and brought in the special adjustable bed… Unfortunately she was in such deep pain get up to walk, she needed help…

Happily she recognized me with a large smile, as we often joked about she said; “My Favorite Son”, as I am the only son with two sisters- no competition- another joke we all enjoyed… She laughed for a moment as she put her arms around my neck, and I helped lift her to her feet… Slowly we danced without music, taking baby steps to where the wheelchair was at the doorway, my last dance with my Mom and seeing her smile, she now watches from heaven…

Voice of an Angel

Last night, my sister Wendy asked me what music and/or musicians Mom enjoyed listening to, her wanting to post some of the music within her Facebook page to share with her friends and people she knows… Wendy had been playing some that she knew of off the computer, as I talked with Rick our stepfather… The sounds of classical, opera, jazz and songs from famous musicals filled the room as the evening wore on… So I told her a few that came to mind, though I am often hard pressed to remember the names of songs or who sung them, often just enjoying the music or the story behind the words sung… There are just too many groups and musicians to recall, picturing the album artwork in my head relating to the musical sound, but not recalling the singer/s or group’s name…


Our Hunting Fathers (“Messalina”) sung by Phyllis Bryn-Julson

One of my Mom’s dearest friends from college and also my Godmother Phyllis Bryn-Julson (singing in the video above), whom is a very respected opera singer… Mom would play her albums, singing with her in harmony words I didn’t seem to understand then…

When I was very young one of my first and fondest memories of my Mom playing music, the old stereo just shaking the pictures upon the walls and make the windows shake… I recall is of Wendy as a baby, when she was crying once… My Mom singing to the Sound of Music to Wendy, when she was just in diapers before she could talk, the tears stopping and a look of wonder in her face… We lived in Rochester then, a large house that the acoustics would echo up the stairway to the next floor…

Some of the albums would be classical music that would include, organ or piano, then others with song, Hymns, opera, songs from classical musicals… Two of the albums included my Mom singing on them, my grandfather accompanying her with playing the piano in the background…. She had even originally gone to Syracuse University to be a voice major in music, but had later changed to get a teacher’s degree…

The memory is a song she would sing with is from an Opera, Lakmé… This opera includes a famous and popular part of the concert- the Flower Duet, a duet sung by two women… I recall my Mom matching note for note in perfect harmony her voice to theirs… I was still very young but the image and memory has ever been one I always cherished… For me her voice became what I would believe would be what the musical voices of angels should sound like…

Evolving Business Plan for my Studio

Kitchen Table TalkI like to try to be available to listened to the Kitchen Table Talk show on the Pulse Network on Tuesday afternoons with Joe Sorge and Chris Brogan and if I miss it, take some time to listen to it at a later time in the Pulse Network archives… Over the last few weeks they have been talking about business start-ups and yesterday they interviewed Tim Berry, who spoke about Business Plans in the real world and the need to make them changeable… There was/is some great info to hear and think about shared on the show, which you can check out here: http://thepulsenetwork.com/technology/kitchen-table-talks/

Over the last year, I’ve been working on my reopening my studio, ArtWorks of Candor and have been using what I call an “Evolving Business Plan”… Now most people do a business plan to obtain funding or a loan, but I do a smaller one- 3-6 month practical plan and a year goal oriented plan…

Business plans are just estimated number projections with a overview of the “plan”, without many of the details and so much can change in just a few months, let alone three years… From new taxes, gas prices to the basic cost of business with adding in new products and services you might use, create and offer…

So a 3-6 month business plan filled in with working capital is what I and many of my friends use in Business… An Evolving Business Plan is one that can grow and be able to handle the unforeseen bumps or change in directions in the road of business better for me… It also allows for smaller, more affordable steps and allows for change for the future…

To help support this concept in an unforeseen way was Chris Brogan, at the end of the show announcing he was writing a new book with a 6-week deadline on “How to use Google”… Now Chris Brogan is a busy fellow and the Google + Project has only been out for barely 2 months now… He also did a seminar on how to use Google Plus 2-3 weeks ago, which must have taken him lots of time just learning this new Social service, let alone create a presentation to help others with using it effectively… There is no way you can tell me Chris had this in his business plan 6 months ago…

And by the way, Yes, I will be buying one of Chris’s books about Google when it comes out…

How does this relate to my reopening my studio with an evolving business plan? I was gearing up to teach some Social Media Workshops and I’ve chosen to wait while the Google+ Project grows a little more- after they have opened it up fully to the general public and have added Business Pages… I’ve lesson plans outlined already for the Facebook & Twitter workshops, still needing to tie them together a bit with images, visuals and create a hand out booklet… I now want to be able to add Using Google+ to the class… I know this will be truly valuable in this area that seems so challenged in adding and using Social Media effectively for their online presents… I am also enlarging the idea, to teach it in VA near where my Mom is, so as to be able to spend some time down there…

Having the “Evolving Business Plan” also allowed me to instead of just adding the Giclee Fine Art Printer to sell my own limited edition prints to creating a 2nd business to offer Giclee Fine Art Printing Service to other Artists and Photographers online and in the local area… So keeping a changeable, flexible, evolving business plan with ideas in mind really helped with several new concepts and services I am working on for reopening my studio…

Even though I’ve had two bank Vice Presidents in the past tell me I had created one of the best business plans they had seen in their 20-25+ years of their being in banking, I’ve also set aside time for a workshop webinar Thursday about Business Plan development he will be offering- “Plan-as-you-go business planning methodology”… You can read more about it on Tim Berry’s website:
http://timberry.bplans.com/2011/08/please-join-me-online-live-this-thursday-aug-18.html I believe you can never know enough and there is always something new you can learn…

So having a Real World Business Plan that is changeable to the times is key and being a little flexible can pay off…

Artists, would you like an invite into the Google+ Project?

I’ve had the chance to be trying out Google+ Project now for 18 days, with receiving an invite from my friend Jason Sadler of www.iWearYourShirt.com…  Which I might add, was very nice of his to offer it to me…  I had been very interested in all the buzz of the previous couple weeks from friends that had gotten in while I was in VA on family matters and I was very interested in this new Social Media Service I was hearing about…

Google+ Project is in BETA form now, only Personal Accounts, and are gearing up to add later Business Pages…  The test market using it now has some of the top internet innovators, designers, IT, artists, photographers, writers, web designers, writers and news people are among the 18-20 millions subscribers of the new Google+ Project many of you have been hearing about…  Basically some of the highest and most frequent up to date Social Media users seem to be on there, and they have invited their friends…  Looks like a great service to add with the other online services Google offers…

I myself have managed to see, chat and get to know many Artists, Photographers and Writers from all over the country and world here through using the Personal Pages that Google is offering in this BETA social Media Service…  Amazing at the raw, exciting talent and inspirations that I have met already and looking forward to meeting and seeing more!!!

Google+ made an announcement yesterday, that they are rolling out a new service and will be allowing 150 more friends of current users already enjoying the Google+ Project to be invited…

My question to you, would you like to receive an invite to get to start using Google+? 

All you need is a Gmail account, and remember to use your Real Name in your Profile & there is no major selling at the moment, Business pages are coming out soon…

So Feel free to drop me your name, your Art Website URL and I’ll send YOU an invite with the 1st 150 requests: charles@ArtistPrints.Biz

I’ll try to send the Google+ Invites out this evening and in the morning…

You can locate me on Google+ here if you have any questions…

http://gplus.to/CharlesTaggart

It’s Raining in my Heart

Waking slowly to that singular blue eye staring at me, the excitement in it as my now 2 year old pup gets excited that I am waking, as it’s “Breakfast time”, turning to show his brown eye before to start doing a spin around… Now both of my dogs join in, 250+ pounds of excited dogs doing what I call the “Breakfast Dance”, that always brings a smile to my face at their excited morning antics…

“The Breakfast Dance Squad”

I feed Snowy the pup in his kennel, as he is a messy eater… His excitement now at it’s peak, doing the side-to-sideway shuffle, hopping up and down getting excited for that first mouth full of morning crunchy treats… I pour it into his dish and he starts to eat, and I look up smelling in the air the sweet smell of rain in the breeze on this overcast morning…

Saxy his mother neat and dainty, crunching 1-2 pieces at a time and no crunched up slimy chunks surround her bowl like Snowy’s… Even my first Saint Bernard was like this, Food all over the place… She looks up to me with a mouth full, her eyes as if saying, “Thank you this tasty breakfast”…

I continue my morning routine, brewing Java, be it regular coffee or espresso, a bit of bathroom time, then grabbing a mug full of the good stuff, I head to my studio-office… I sit down and flip open my PowerBook, then opening up a browser to check for mail, Facebook messages, checking quickly my Twitter messages and lately checking my Google+ stream… In Facebook it’s become a ritual this past month or so- always checking on my Mom’s page and looking for things she has been commenting on…

As I sit in front of the monitor, I start to hear the water spray sound of wet wheels from a car going by the house on the road out front… Stopping a moment to listening more intently, yes, I can hear the soft rain on the roof above… So I go out to let Snowy inside before he gets soaked and I have a house smelling of BIG WET DOG…

This morning was no different then any other mornings, except that it had started raining after so many weeks of it being so hot without rain… I stood there for a moment, just enjoying the cool fresh breeze, the droplets of rain running down my shoulders and arms, racing to jump off the ends of my fingertips to dive towards the dry earth below… Snowy seemed quit happy to come inside, finishing his bowl of food in just a few giant gulps… I think he was excited not because of the rain and his getting wet, but in knowing Saxy often doesn’t finish her bowl of food and he might be able to gain an extra bite or two- he’s turning into a little (120 pounds) fatty ball of white fur…

So I sat down, taking a look at the groups of text and images in browser windows before me in one window- Facebook… Laughing for a few moments at some of my friend’s statements, reading some of politics from one old friend that tend to rub me the wrong way, enjoying the Artwork some of my Artists friends have posted, then I noticed something my Mom had posted in the comments of one of my posts from yesterday…

What I read brought a tear to my eye and sadness deep inside, it’s raining now in my heart… But I also wanted to share this…

My Mom’s Facebook Post

My Mom has been fighting cancer now for a little over two years, the doctors saying they had caught it early and chemo would work… 3 months ago, the scan showed they where right, the tumors had gotten smaller and they felt that they where now just scar tissue… Then about a month ago, she was experiencing major headaches and they found the cancer had spread to her brain in two locations… She has just finished 15 doses of radiation and is now waiting for the MRI in a couple weeks to see what step to take next- laser surgery and maybe more chemo…

Over the past month you may have noticed I haven’t been posting as often as I had been… This isn’t just because I am in the process of reopening my studio and starting a 2nd business- though that is part of the reason… I am going through some major family matters and I would like to apologize for my being kind of “Cold” or very “Business Minded”… I am trying to turn the negative energy of worry and sadness into positive energy- filling those sleepless nights with learning and executing the needed steps for reopening my studio… I will say, it is a major challenge to dig deep and find the  abundance of artistic inspiration and creativity that normally is overflowing, as if the well seems to be drying up and I need to dig deeper…

Outside the soft sound of raindrops seem to echo this sadness that seems to flood my heart… But also happiness, as my Mom is right- with all the doctors are doing, “At least I will be”…

The tears of worry and sadness still fill me within; it’s raining in my heart even though I try to smile…

**If you’re a friend of mine online, feel free to give my Mom a follow, drop her a note… If you have a story to tell, be it of a friend, a family member or even maybe something good you might want to say about myself or my sister Wendy- it would mean a lot…

You can locate her Facebook profile name here- Neenah Kromer- http://www.facebook.com/#!/nkromer1

Thank you…

Charles McL. Taggart II

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