This is a meme with a photo of a painting and the title of a blog post.

Talking Myself into a Masterpiece

This is a meme with a photo of a painting and the title of a blog post.

Talking to Myself

(NOTE: Being in my head as I create a masterpiece—or any time for that matter—is not for the faint of heart. Read with caution! 🙂 )

Michelle, you bought that big, empty canvas twelve years ago right after you changed the floor plan. You dreamed of painting with a deep yet vibrant color palette. You wanted a bold geometrical design. Remember the color-block pattern you admired?

Twelve. Years. Ago.

That big, empty space in the living room. It's been so lonely. That big, empty canvas. She's been lonely too. She's been hiding in the closet next to the Christmas wrap shoved between the extra window screens.

For. Twelve. Years. (Are you kidding me?)

A blank canvas we'll use to paint a masterpiece.

It's 2018! You just repainted the big, empty space in the living room. No one will be here Saturday. Make friends with the canvas. Make her beautiful and introduce her to the big, empty space. Rescue her from the crowded closet, dust her off, and just go for it!

Once properly adorned and decorated, she'll bring joy and peace to your family and friends. (She'll even give you something to cross off your list! You know how you feel when you check a box.)

Ha! Ha! What artist uses a plastic plate as a palette? You are no artist, my dear. Who do you think you are? I know I'm not doing this right, but I'm doing it anyway. I'm really doing it this time!

The paint colors we'll use to create a masterpiece.

Decisions. Decisions.

Which color to use first? Let's start with gold. I want something cheerful in that lonely space. Wait! You already ditched the geometric pattern? Well, I guess that doesn't look so bad—kind of rich and regal. Or does it?

Next color . . . a little purple? Ummm . . . Maybe that's a little too much. I'd better spread it out. (Shallow breathing . . . No breathing.) Oh my goodness! What have I done? (My heart is racing.) You are no artist! I told you so! I told you so! That's not art. That's just a mess!

First draft as we create a masterpiece.

Get it together. Take a deep breath. You can fix this . . . or you can buy a new, big, empty canvas when no one is looking. I know you can fix this. Just trust the process.

You love blue. Let's add some blue.

Second draft as we create a masterpiece

Covering My Mistakes

White paint diluted with water—whitewash—a solution to cover all of my mistakes. I bet there's a real name for that technique. Ha! Ha!

Sigh. Maybe next time I should enroll in a real art class.

This whitewashing thing kind of works for me. The milky eraser smooths out the hard edges and brush stroke. Hey, that's sort of like how I help my clients smooth out the prickly parts of their stories.

Do you like this whitewash step?

It's looking very "pastel-y." Not exactly the deep, vibrant color I was going for, and I still see brush strokes. Just. Keep. Going. You've waited Twelve. Long. Years.

I'm feeling a little bold right now. I think it's time to go all in. Let's add red!

That looks worse. Where exactly is this going? I have absolutely no idea.

Trust the process. Take a chance. This might just turn out okay, and you might learn something. You might grow. You might create some happy, if you just Give. This. A. Chance . . .

The red at the bottom looks like fire.

Are You Still There?

Are you still there? I just let you into my stream of consciousness as I took the leap and created this artwork for our living room. Throughout the process, I couldn't help but recognize the parallels between creating a piece of painted art and creating a piece of written art—your memoir.

When my Storytellers co-create their memoirs with me, they go through similar emotions. At first, they are excited to see so many possibilities. Then the blank page and their inner critics confront them, "Who do you think you are?" They realize a professional with the right skills can make the process easier and more comforting.

They think about taking a class or working with a coach. Despite their fear, they press on. They start to make connections between the events of their lives. They grow in ways they never knew they should or could. Then one day they print their manuscripts, and think Is it good? Will anyone read it? Then, What do I do now?

Connecting My Own Dots (The Events in My Life)

Twenty-five years ago I took a theorem painting class. We learned the technique and our teacher coached us along the way to create our unique version of her template. She helped us smooth over our mistakes and frame our work for display. Then, she left us with this advice, "Put your painting in the back seat of your car. In the morning, take a look, and you will realize you've created a masterpiece."

The result: our masterpiece
The result: our masterpiece

My Invitation for You to Create a Masterpiece

I invite you to do the same. Create a masterpiece—write or record your memoirs. Make 2018 the year you decide to tackle that big, empty page. Ask for help from a professional. There will be challenges that terrify you and cause you to think What have I done? and Will anyone read this? But I assure you—we can overcome those doubts together.

Let's not wait Twelve. More. Years. Let's co-create your masterpiece that will bring joy and peace to your family, to friends, and to yourself before this time next year.

Contact us to schedule a life story heirloom conversation and really do it this time!

Photo of Michelle Beckman, founder of Sunday Dinner Stories

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© 2018 Sunday Dinner Stories, Michelle Beckman