Welcome to Mary Anne Radmacher's blog.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"How Does IT work?"

This is a variation of a question I am asked repeatedly in interviews and in person.

"HOW does _______________(writing, creating, collaborating, thinking up ideas...) Work?"

The core of the inquiry implies that that is one way.  A single path.  A sturdy, works everywhere for anything, methodology. 

Philosophers have been suggesting (thanks to Soren Kierkegaard for posing this to me as a teen) that the "either/or" approach is limiting.  Patti Digh, author and trainer,  loves to promote the use of AND.  Not this or that but rather, this AND that. I march in that parade.

When it comes to innovating, inspiring, imagining, creating, making...there are few makers who fall into the
"one size fits all" category.  Like the inventive cook in a home kitchen...there is a starting place. Perhaps it is a recipe.  Perhaps it is whatever is available in the chillcase or the pantry.  And then...it's "a little of this and a little of that."  Many culinary delight would be missed if a kitchen only produced all food items in a single method.  So it is with ideas. With art. With wondering and planning.

I have core practices that straddle all my disciplines.  In some form.  What it looks like in a production art effort is a very different snapshot than what it looks like when I am creating a custom piece for someone.  There are similarities at core points and from there, outward, things look very different. 

The question can be more specific to be effective.  "In THIS instance, did you follow a single methodology or did you employ many different approaches?" 

To reverse engineer the subject:  work backwards on an endeavor that didn't feel right or work well for you.  Were you applying an approach that worked successfully in another effort?  The concept of transferable skills is a brilliant one.  And there are instances that a fresh, utterly untried way, is what is essential to the success of the effort.  HOW do you call out that freshness?  Yes, I am asking.  How do you call out that fresh approach in your own home,work, personal pursuits.  I'd love to know.  You are welcome to write me through my web page: maryanneradmacher.net or you can comment here. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Review of LIVE WITH INTENTION submitted by a loyal reader

Master of Intention

 “Expertise is defined by 10,000 hours of practice.”  Malcolm Gladwell 

In her latest work  Live with Intention  maryanne radmacher expands on her beautifully calligraphed phrases in a way that inspires reverence and authentic action.  It has taken maryanne two decades to compile every word, every symbol, every quote found tucked among the pages of this collection.   For years she has held her intentions deeply within her core (being) and learned through her art, her writing and her living how to reflect on ordinary things to produce extraordinary shifts in her life and the lives of others.    As any master, she has mightily practiced to solidify her craft. 

It is truly an art form to be able to write simply with depth and complexity.   How many of us have struggled with finding that one thing important in our life?  In her introduction maryanne writes an intentional poem.  It is as if each phrase of the poem portrays a gem strung on a necklace.  The continuous strand is shaped by Rumi's wisdom: he says we will be lost if we cannot find that one thing!   How beautifully simple to write her intentions and name it your one thing.  All at once I am struck with the thought that I too could find my important, one thing and that there is a chance, after all, that I am not lost.

The expansion of each element of the poem becomes a stand-alone chapter that is spirited, fun with conscious reminders of our humanness.  Maryanne crafts each phrase drilling down to find the core of the practice.  She names "practice wellness” health and "listen hard" spirit.   She then weaves the element through the structural lenses of "promises to myself" and reacquaints us with the importance of consistency and courage.   The "word birds" tucked within the structure of the book are simple reminders that we too could practice and give wings to our daily thoughts, actions and behaviour.  The secret is to hold our own intentions giving us a conscious map of how we wish to reach and stretch.   Our intentions are like gems, treasures bringing a rich reality, direction and humility to everyday living.  


As I peek above my computer I am perched on the shore of the Pacific Ocean.  It is cool, windy and raining on Whidbey Island.  Despite the weather I am toasty, comfortable writing at my inside work table.  I am also warm and cozy with the thought of meeting maryanne.    For over 2 decades I have purchased her beautiful cards, offered her small gift books to well over 250 wellness recipients and bought at least 4 copies of every book she has written.  The last few years I have taken her online writing courses.  To say the least I am a super fan.  Being in her company has allowed me to explore with confidence my own notion of goodness and she has helped guide me toward a richer and more meaningful life.  She has helped me navigate that fading away feeling when work life shifts, as I have grown older.  She has helped me search for my cracks and encouraged "mud on my words".  As the hour nears I wonder what has drawn me to her?  I wonder what is in store for us?   



Book review written by Donna VanSant
Date right after Live with Intentions was published!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

BUNDLES and some BUSINESS BACK STORY

997 words describing More Than You Might Have Wanted To Know about my current business philosophy and my BUNDLE practice. RADMACHER MONTHLY BUNDLE: The PHILOSOPHY

In 1985, I created in isolation. At my kitchen table. I produced work that was meaningful to me but I have very little connection to the people who purchased it.  Then I secured a warehouse space as I began to expand my “distribution.”  In isolation, I created.  Then...
a good friend, an artisan who had a production studio open to the public suggested I follow his example. Work. Create, and have relationship with the people who consider
your work.  I did.  And I did it over and over again...a gallery, three stores and a huge production company.  Let me emphasize HUGE for a handmade production studio. It was so big, I became a manager of employees instead of an artist who creates.  Personal loss, divorce, economy, 9/11, staffing issues: all conspired to make my enterprise smaller.  Incrementally smaller.  Until I handed it off and dedicated  my time to writing. In isolation, again.

Almost all of my best words/work have been written when I have been face to face with an extraordinary experience or a person in need of encouragement, celebration or comfort.  I missed that.  My work is built on connection and  relationship and my creativity and the vital flame and spark was starting  to diminish because I was creating in a void. In isolation.  Again.

Early this year I created a social media piece to share.  Freely. As with anything I post on social media - It is a gift...to share personal (not for commercial use).  But this particular piece was in high demand.  People were writing asking, PLEASE -
may I buy this?  I had twelve of the same empty frame in my studio.  I wrote: I have twelve of these to sell. I named a price and said first come, first served. They sold out in
minutes.  I intersected that experience with a show my husband is mad-crazy to watch: American Pickers.  They “bundle.”  The put an assortment of like objects together and put a price on it that reflects huge savings at a single, desirable price.  I could do that.
So, I did.

I’ve had many efficiency experts reach out to me and offer to help me streamline my process,  install “BUY NOW” buttons and trim up the process.  I’m  grateful they pay attention to my ways.  I’m grateful they notice my web site has errors in it and that m ordering process is kind of clunky.  Because taught myself how to build a web site.  And it’s clunky.  But it’s my kind of clunky.  I am earnest.  I am eager. I am enthusiastic. No one would ever (that I can recall) describe me as sophisticated.  Or streamlined. Because...I’m not.  I am real, and messy, and aspire to do too much in a single day every single day because I believe that I WANT TO live as if this is all there is.  And that means that my capacity for mastery falls in a very narrow field.  Connection and speaking for the hearts of those who struggle to find words to convey meaning to themselves and others.  That is my motivation for my own writing and it is what  motivates me to write for others. I’m sticking to it. 

Could my web site use more attention and some sprucing up and more of ZIP and less of Doo-DAH?  You betcha.  However, I model for a certain segment of creatives (and other professionals who learn from my demonstration model) that just doing it is sometimes the greatest accomplishment.  I am the ambassador of “know when good enough is good enough.”  And at the end of the day, I forgive and let go and get up and go at it again. 

I’m more accomplished at things now than I was 30 years ago. I imagine I'll gain additional skills in the next years that I am blessed, if I am blessed, to have them. But today: what you see is what you get.

RADMACHER MONTHLY BUNDLE is personal.  I know the names of people who order. I know some of their favorite colors, and the kinds of dogs they love.  I KNOW things about them because I am intimately connected to them.  And this is essential to my work right now.  So, please know that I know I’m not making the sales figures I could be making if my web site were more professional.  And if my ordering system was  more in line with what is common to the marketplace.  But here’s what: I’m not  common.  I do not do “business  as usual.”  And I’m  pleased to be able to declare that.
So those who are familiar with tried and true phrases might be reciting, “There’s the right way and there’s the hard way...”  Right now, in this time in my life, even though it might look like the “hard way” it’s the right way for me.  Because it is what I choose.
Videos without privacy screens, photos without make up.  Unvarnished narrative because this is how and where I live.

So. This is about a thousand words summarizing thousands of words of experience. If you have read this far, thank you. If you’ve wondered about the less than stellar web site or the kind of rambling  emails I send, at least you know they come from ME, not a PR expert.

Thank you for loving my messy, authentic, paint-spotted work that I release into the world.  AND you will not find an ORDER NOW button for my RADMACHER MONTHLY BUNDLES.  You have write me - and tell me you want me to send you an invoice.  Because I want you to order my work, and I want to do it in relationship to you, your life and your favorite things. I want to write your name  with my hand on your order.  And I want to PERSONALLY thank you for making it possible for me to earn my living doing what I love. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

An Aspiring Poet/College Student Reviews My COURAGE DOESN'T ALWAYS ROAR book

Kayla, following the model for an effective review, asked me minimal questions and submitted her first book review.  Kayla, who processes the grief of losing her sister when she was a youngster, has turned to conventional poetry to understand her loss.  She may now consider branching out into other forms of poetry, she tells me. I'm happy to share her review with you, with her permission.

Kayla Patek
English Composition I
Dr. Vaughn
2 December 2013
A Wonderful Writer’s Words of Encouragement
    Mary Anne Radmacher’s most well-known writing, Courage Doesn’t Always Roar, is the topic of this review. With its descriptive word choice, unique style and beautiful message of the different types of courage, this little book is meant to inspire. In a Q&A I did via email with the author (she lives in Seattle but considers herself a true Oregonian), she told me that her word choice was because she wanted to connect with a variety of readers. The author’s book was difficult to obtain! I had to go to Fairview Heights, IL, in order to buy her book for this assignment. The book was required because I’m critiquing it (positively) in this essay. If you could ask ANY author ANY questions with NO limit on the number, how many would you ask? That’s easy for me. I would politely ask Mary Anne as many questions as I could think of that have to do with this assignment. I would choose my words, and way of asking, carefully. Word choice must be creative when writing inspirational pieces.
    Mary Anne uses words like ‘courage’, ‘try’, and ‘again’ to create imagery. This would demonstrate the image of NOT giving up too easily without a fight. Other words used (and phrases repeated for emphasis) include: “It takes courage” and “To reinvent”. My favorite phrase that I found while reading was “Change of any sort requires courage…courage to write a new story of your life with the pen of each day…of every moment.” These words made a huge and joyful impact on me. Mary Anne and I both have the same gift; we are writers…of poetry, stories, books, and essays. Writing is a blessing and gift. In composing poems, stories or essays, each piece has a different style.
    This encouraging author “uses a style of figurative language that borders on poetry.” What author does NOT include figurative language in her writing? There is an easy answer to this rhetorical question: NONE. An example of her use of figurative language would be “Change of any sort requires courage…courage to write a new story of your life with the pen of each day of every moment.” (Metaphor). I could not find an example of poetry in the book, but the rhythm and flow of the words says it all. Mary Anne Radmacher’s message was meant to inspire us all.
    The words that inspired me most were at the very end of her short, little book: “Perspective in the LARGE, grace in the small, an open hand, a practiced…pause…a ‘YES!’, courage doesn’t always roar.” These six phrases at the very end of the writer’s book have words so strong that I became blissful upon reading the two pages upon which these phrases were printed. Inspirational authors are blessings to the writing world. Writers, such as Mary Anne Radmacher, give people hope in trying times. Thanks to her words, positive energy is spread all around the world. Inspirational authors are amazing people, and Mary Anne Radmacher is NO EXCEPTION. Her messages are of of hope, bravery, strength, willingness and more.
    In conclusion, the most well-known writing of Mary Anne Radmacher, Courage Doesn’t Always Roar, is wonderfully inspirational AND encouraging because of word choice, style and the message conveyed by the words on the page. I loved her variety of words; synonyms, figurative language, etc. The style of how Mary Anne writes interests me. I’ve never known or heard of an author using figurative language that borders on poetry. The best part about the book was the message she wanted to give the audience. Now, a personal note to Mary Anne: Thank you for allowing me to write this review of your great, little book. It has caused me to expand my horizons as a writer and branch out from only publishing memorial poetry.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Happy Childhood

I recognize that I can tell
the stories of my childhood
in ways that give wings to these days.

It's my story.

I can tell it any way I want.

My friend, Frankie Kiehl, told me repeatedly as she lay dying of pancreatic cancer, that she had
one important message to leave with me.  She said in many different ways that there is only
one "storyteller" of my childhood: me.  I Can Tell The Story any way that I want. 

I was put in a room, by myself, a lot.  My parents were surprised by me and it turns out their
plans for a "second honeymoon"  on their 25th wedding anniversary were cancelled because
they had me, instead.  I was their second honeymoon.  With trumpets.  And drums. And
lots of dancing.  More dancing than they bargained for.  So I got invited to a room, by
myself, a lot.  That could be a sad story.   But the wings on the story?   I was given the
opportunity, as a youngster, to learn to be entertained by my own thoughts.  Those
experiences prepared me for the somewhat solitary life of an author.  Wow. Thanks, mom
and dad!  And while they were at it, they instilled in me a lifelong love of books.  Because
there were always a stack of books in the room.  And they were adult books, not books for
"children."  So that experience gifted me with an expansive vocabulary.  And a love of
dictionaries.  And encyclopedias.  It's been a mighty helpful interest.

See how that works? 

Such a simple difference between VICTim and VICTory.  I choose VICTORY. 

Tell the stories of your childhood in ways that give wings to these days.  mary anne radmacher