Saturday, August 31, 2019

Writing Advice from Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert’s free 10-step Writing Academy:
1) Tell your story TO someone. Pick one person you love or admire or want to connect with and write the whole thing directly to them —like you're writing a letter. This will bring forth your natural voice. Whatever you do, do NOT write to a demographic. Ugh.
2) Start at the beginning of the story, write what happened, and keep going until you get to the end.
3) Use radically simple sentences.
4) Don't worry if it's good; just finish it. Whether or not your project is good, you'll be a different person at the end of it, and that’s always worth doing.
5) Don't write with the aim of changing anybody's life. That will lead to heavy, irritating prose. Just share what delights or enrages or fascinates you. If somebody’s life is changed by it, that’s a bonus. 
6) Whenever you can, tell stories instead of explaining stuff. Humans love stories, and we hate having stuff explained to us. Use Jesus as an example: He spoke almost exclusively in parables and allowed everybody to draw their own lessons from his great storytelling. And he did very well.
7) Your work doesn’t have to be any particular length or written for any particular market. It doesn’t have to even be seen by another human being. How and if to publish your work is a problem for another day. For today, just write.
8) Remember that you’ve been doing research your whole life, merely by existing. You are the only expert in your own experience. Embrace this as your supreme qualification.
9) Every writer starts in the same place on Day One: Super excited, and ready for greatness. On Day Two, every writer looks at what she wrote on Day One and hates herself. What separates working writers from non-working writers is that working writers return to their task on Day Three. What gets you there is not pride but mercy. Show yourself forgiveness, for not being good enough. Then keep going.
10) Be willing to let it be easy. You might be surprised.
- Elizabeth Gilbert via her Facebook Page @GilbertLiz on 08-31-2019

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Art News: River Arts District Gallery To Open January 15, 2020 Featuring Artists Karen Maugans, Raphaella Vaisseau, and Walter Arnold

In Suite #104, 191 Lyman St., the current location of Karen Maugans Gallery in Riverview Station in Asheville's River Arts District, come January, 2020, three artists will join to create a brand new Asheville art destination. 
From now until then, you're welcome to stop by any day from 10-5 to meet Karen and view her botanical art. Karen's website is Call her at 407-456-2225.

As for Walter Arnold's work, it can be found in numerous galleries including Woolworth Walk, Kress Emporium, and Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Discover more about him and his process on his website, The Digital Mirage, and on his blog, Art Of Abandonment, where there is a link to the Ron Howard short film, "When You Find Me" which includes one of Walter's images that was selected from almost 100,000 entries as part of Canon's Project Imagin8ion. Well done.

I am thrilled to be a part of this new gallery and look forward to seeing you all there. My website is, and I may be reached at 941-993-7001. In the six months before we open, you're welcome to call me for press information and updates.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Sunday, June 23, 2019

A Good Move to Asheville, North Carolina for Raphaella Vaisseau and Heartful Art

Raphaella Vaisseau at Olivette Riverside Community
     During the three and a half years I took care of my parents in their final years, I thought about all the places I have lived in my life and where I might want to go next. I picked Asheville, North Carolina.
     I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and lived there for forty years. Next was Los Angeles for ten years. In 1997, I committed myself to being an artist and moved to Ashland, Oregon. I stayed there three years and then moved to the SF Bay Area and opened Heartful Art Gallery in Sausalito in 2001. In 2008, I moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida to be closer to my aging parents, and in 2015, I moved to Miami to be their caregiver. They wanted to stay in their own home as long as they lived and my going there to help them allowed that to happen. So grateful. They had been happily married for 73 years, and both passed fairly naturally at age 96. By December, 2018, I had completed handling their affairs in Miami and set out on a journey to my new home in Asheville.
     I had never lived on the East Coast, and was attracted to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the forests, and the thriving art community in Asheville, a town of 92,000 people. I loved the idea of being able to have Asheville as a home base and take short trips up the East Coast to NYC, Boston, and Maine, travel to the North Carolina coast for a weekend, or explore the surrounding states of South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and beyond. This country is vast, beautiful, and has so much to offer.
     I've been in Asheville for six months now. There are many "best parts" of living here, but my favorite is nature. It is accessible. I don't need to seek it out or drive anywhere to get to it. I simply look up, look around, pause, and enjoy. It's everywhere, around every turn in the road, on every path.
     Mountains surround Asheville. To me, they are living art, with the sun rising and setting and splashing shadow or color on them, clouds and storms moving over them, trees blossoming in spring and turning colors in fall, and birds singing everywhere.
    For a nature lover like me, this area is perfect. I'm told there are sixty waterfalls close to Asheville (I've hiked to only 3 so far), and neighboring Transylvania County has over 250. I love trees. Being in a forest is a breath of Heaven for me, and I now have hiking boots, trek poles, and a backpack. I'm all set.
     True, Asheville doesn't have an ocean. However, I so cherished the Gulf Coast waters of Caspersen Beach when I lived in Venice, Florida, the ocean lives inside me now. Also, I know winter does exist here, since I arrived in the middle of an ice storm last December. But the weather here is moderate, especially compared to the cold of Minnesota or the heat of Miami.
     As for my required necessities, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and EarthFare provide plenty of organic, healthy food. Then there's the bonus of family and friends. My sister-in-law and niece both make their home here and have families of their own. Friends from California and Florida live here now too, and, being the gregarious person I am, I'm blessed with wonderful new friends as well.
     So, that's the story. In my life, I like to move toward my next adventure and this is it. I'm happy here. I'm painting, creating, and thriving. Onward.
- Raphaella Vaisseau