When All Avenues Are Exhausted

This week has been a roller coaster. To put it mildly.

I’ve hinted about a project I’ve been slowly gestating. One that combines all my passions: postcards, poetry, art, community building. I’ve also hinted that all hasn’t been going as smoothly as I had hoped it would be.


In February, I created a series of postcard-sized art poems during Post-It Note Poetry month. After a few days I realised how hard it was to adequately capture each card as an image.I asked a friend who is a professional photographer about them and he assured me they would scan fine. And so I kept on producing them. 

Half way through the month, I took the first 14 in to be scanned. The results were less than brilliant. I put it down to a dirty screen on the copier and kept producing.


The thing was, when I reviewed the scanned images in March with my co-conspirator, when all the drawing, cutting, pasting and building was done, we both came to the conclusion that the scans were underwhelming  – the acuity of the colour had been bled out of  the art, flattening and dulling it. So I sought my friend, the professional photographer, to see if he was able to do a better job with them.

When he sent through the images and I had a good look, I was devastated. He made the images sparkle, there was colour, it wasn’t consistent though and the acuity in the words was sacrificed for the colour. 

There was no easy fix. 

I felt like giving up. 

But at the same time, my brain had kicked into creative problem solving mode. I was already mentally creating my dot point list of alternatives.


The night before the photos arrived, I’d also been gifted an idea of the next possible art poem mash up. Woke up with it at 3am. So yes, devastated by receiving the images that hadn’t lived up to my expectations,  but hopeful of having a back up.The new idea didn’t work and my first foray into water colour was pretty abysmal. I showed up the next day to try again, back using my original poetry technique and a new text. The results were a little more heartening. It gave me enough hope that if everything did fall through with the February cards I had a medium in which to continue with a new series.


I put off going into The Valley, to see the printer, for a week. And with each passing day, my anxiety  grew. Like all anxiety, it was completely irrational. I had a way forward of this path became a dead end. Still, it was a tsunami of anxiety that engulfed me Wednesday morning…it would have been so much easier to just not go. 

But I did. 

I went. 

I was prepared for the worst. Hopeful for the best.

The answer was definitive: I had created something unreproducible. With that knowledge I was able to let go and focus on a way forward.


The new idea was reproducible, and to sweetened the deal, I was quoted a cost half of the cheapest quote I had. I felt all along that this probably had to do with the printer and making local connections. The original artwork from February will be listed for sale in the coming weeks and will be the seed funds for the project that I hadn’t quite sorted out. Everything finds its place if you let it. 


But I’ve taken a battering – my confidence isn’t at an all time high, like when I started! I feel kicked about. However I’m so much wiser now. Mistakes I’ve made will never be made again. I remind myself of my first publisher’s mistake: not all black is black. Ironic to find myself defeated by black again! Timelines are rejiggable. And best of all, this has been kind of running under the radar so I didn’t have to front up to say: hey, about that, I failed.

All through, I’ve kept to my mantra of smooth and easy. Where it hasn’t been, I’ve embraced the fact I’ve learned something new or been connected with an unexpected opportunity. 

There’ll be more about what I have been brewing (because the actual project does not change, only the content does!) and a chance for you to step with me through the creation of that content in the coming month. 

Embracing Venus’s shadow has never been so heart breaking and simultaneously ecstatic.