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Matisse, France, Travel, Creativity, Adventure, Expatriates, Dreams, Reinvention


Chasing Matisse: The Book

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Matisse, France, Travel, Creativity, Adventure, Expatriates, Dreams, Reinvention

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January 1, 2003

Chasing Our Demons

We would have to leave Perche on December 27th, the day Blair and Bret were flying back to Arkansas. We had to have a place to move. I had been dealing with that major issue and stress only a little. I emailed back and forth with Randall Vemer of French Home Rentals, who became our immediate and stalwart supporter when he first read about our project. He had been contacting more of his company's property owners to tell them about us and Chasing Matisse, to help us find another place to stay. One interested couple was going to lend their beautiful apartment, and then it rented. I believed something would work out, that something would fall out of the sky to save us as Perche had. That things would somehow fall into place.

Another reason I hadn't dealt with this primary issue more-the basic roof over our heads-is it requires a certain kind of energy for me to put my neck on the chopping block. I don't always have it. I must feel rested, energetic, positive, able to withstand rejection. I have to have some reserves in order to put myself out there. As I writer, I've put my neck on that line what seems like zillions of time, and it's gotten chopped off plenty. It's never easy. You never get used to it-even when you think it won't matter, it does. I hadn't had that kind of energy until the day Holly left, and we all rested and reorganized ourselves.

Money, or more accurately the lack of it, has been a draining stress and burden in our lives, especially for the last few years. It has paralyzed us, depressed us, instilling fear and doubt about ourselves, creating any number of problems for us and between us, complicating our lives in untold ways. I think the fear is worst-destructive and debilitating. At one point, I didn't know if I could ever get it out, and I knew it was killing at least a part of me. (Not to mention I don't want my children to be fearful about money. I want them to create abundance in their lives as I've always expected to. There was no doubt in my mind. I don't want scarcity-our fear-to be their conscious thought.)

We've written and believed, hoped, wished, and persevered on the paths of what we're called to do. That's what artists do. We've believed in ourselves and our work. We've betted on ourselves. We've made an investment in ourselves and our future, taken this risk that many people would be afraid of, and created this debt.

I believe no less in us and our work, and I believe in Chasing Matisse as a dream come true for us and others like us. That people do want to live and work, think and see in different ways, and many will pursue them. Or they will read about us and fulfill a part of themselves through us, because Jim will write a beautiful book about this learning to see, because we have the ability to record and translate this experience into a universal language that people will somehow feel transformed by. That, again, is what artists do. But this is a hugely expensive project, and the book contract advance is long gone. Again, we're betting on ourselves.

Jim is the one who deals with all these money issues directly-he and our accountant friend Lloyd Cobb in Little Rock, who valiantly took over our business affairs in the U.S. We owe Lloyd a debt of gratitude and are thankful for his brilliance and his affirmative spirit. And for having had him and his wife, my dear friend Dianne, in our lives for so many years, cheering us on.

With Lloyd's help and counsel, Jim was spending Christmas week dealing with the trying business of juggling money from one account to another (stressful enough when we're at home and banks are open) so we could send a check to Europe By Car. We'd chosen to lease the lesser expensive station wagon rather than the van (which had more room for our nomadic luggage). As in this case, Jim is the one who's directly borne the brunt of the financial demands-and been debilitated by the stress of more demands than finances.

I was looking for a new place to stay. The question was, a cheap hotel with tiny room and all our stuff and work to do, or another apartment?

Randall Vemer was helping again. I have never met Randall, but I want to one day. He is an outstanding artist himself-first a professional musician who had to stop playing, now a painter, web designer, agent for French Home Rentals, and superb human being. A look at his web site,, will give you an idea.

One of my needs/goals/desires in this great adventure of ours is to be involved in a larger community of artists. And that has already happened in Paris-Ruben, Patricia, Michel, others who have sent emails of support, and Randall in Portland, Oregon. The world is opening up to us, because we've stepped out in it. It's not been easy at all. It's been very hard, and the money is a huge problem. But with angels like Randall.there is a wonderful return.

posted by Beth on January 1, 2003 | View All Diary Entries

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