Shades of Green and Gray: Embracing Challenges to Become a Better Artist

Colors and their meanings have always intrigued me. A fleeting purple sky, a blue moon and fuchsia rain are imaginative visuals that can be rendered in the mind or on canvas to create out of this world scenarios, but in reality we are often faced with less thrilling colors.

Lately the themes of green and gray have been popping up around me and actually gave me the idea for this post. I was walking leisurely one day and noticed an abandoned lot. It was filled with gray gravel, most likely to eliminate the growth of weeds, but not to be outdone, the weeds were bursting through those rocks with a vengeance. Upon seeing that, it reminded me of my journey to become a published author. Now when we think of weeds we usually dwell on the negative. Unsightly and un-pretty, they can take a stranglehold over gardens, lawns and walkways and throw our carefully manicured existence into disarray. But if we look closer at weeds there is positivity to be found. To me a weed is a neglected plant longing for attention. Look at me! It seems to say. It never gives up! The persistence of a weed is legendary! No matter what chemicals you use, or how many times you pull them up they always seem to rise up again.

Just like weeds, we should always be POSITIVELY persistent about our art. As writers and artists, we were born to be told no so we could defy the odds. I recently made a decision to self-publish my novel as some of you are aware. I had finally made peace with myself that my writing was good enough to be sent out into the world even if an agent or a publisher had not yet agreed with my assessment. It actually felt good to be seizing control over my work. My mind was where it should be, in a positive place and moving forward. So pardon my surprise when this week I learned that my manuscript is being considered by a small press publisher! I had sent my novel to them a while back and had forgotten about it. Now I’m a “finalist” in a group of six other writers that may get the chance to be nurtured and published.


I wasn’t even sure how to take the news. I was shocked and thrilled of course, but it made me go deep into analysis mode to think about why this was happening now. I have concluded that once I released the negative energy I was holding around being “rejected” by the establishment, it allowed new energy to come in. I stopped focusing on why someone didn’t want me and put my attention on how I could still achieve my goals in spite of it. I was a weed poking through gravel!

Another green and gray theme of sorts also recently came to mind as I was watching my grand “old” Boston Celtics battle for position in the NBA Playoffs. In 2008 they were a team with vigor as three future hall of fame players (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett & Ray Allen) converged after some blockbuster trades brought them all together to play on the same team. They won the championship that year and realized dreams that they all had been longing for their whole careers. The color of the team uniform is green which symbolizes growth, health and vitality and the mascot isΒ Lucky the Leprechaun. How is that for a theme?Β Now four years later, after being plagued by injuries and some streams of “bad luck,” they are trying to deny the notion that they are old and gray and too slow to run with the young legs of other teams. What I’ve learned from watching my favorite team is this, they too are like weeds, rising up when all around them thought they were dead.

It remains to be seen if the Celtics will win another championship this year or if I will garner a spot on that small press author roster, but all be revealed in time. I do know this about the both of us, we will never say die, we won’t give up and we will always stay true to our talent. It’s never easy being green, but when we refuse to fold, we stand out brightly in between the shades of gray.

NOTE: I will keep you posted about the status of the small press publisher. Stay tuned!

POST DISCUSSION: When was the last time your persistence paid off? Share with us!

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Comments (19 Responses)

  1. jim says:

    Persistence is one virtue I have always had ( sometime to my detriment lol) Like most of us who challenge our artistic soul to make a statement we do not always have a true rock to have our sermon on !! We all fight the good fight to prevail sometimes winning sometimes not so much. But we in fact do win all the time, we create our art and someone sees it, it might only be our closest friends and family but we do share our visions. Making a little money from it and getting a larger rock to give our sermon is what most of us would like and that is what we fight for. I have started teaching workshops one on one and it is just another way to work my craft to spread my style and ideas about my art !!!
    Good Luck Tameka but whatever happen know that you are a very talented writer and that many of us who have been lucky enough to read your words know your artistic heart and soul are good and pure.

  2. Jim! I have missed you so much in the blogosphere! I’m glad that you are back and posting your beautiful photos!
    Yes, it’s true that we may not have the platform that we long for, but as long as we are being creative and connecting, we are doing what we are supposed to do. This I do believe. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and compliments! They are definitely appreciated! Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Janaki Nagaraj says:

    Great going…you are immensely talented and it will certainly pay off. All the best with the publishers.

  4. Thanks so much Janaki! I finally rested my brain after the poetry challenge! Whoo-hoo! I appreciate your well wishes. I’m saying my prayers! πŸ™‚

  5. Andy says:

    My dear friend,
    First let me say I am a big SIXERS fan so will be enemies for the next couple of weeks (LOL). You are very kind and talented my dear. Follow your dreams with confidence and let time and efforts prove you wrong. I believe you will attain your goal (smile). All the best my dear.

  6. Thanks so much Andy. I like you anyway even if you love the Sixers. We’re gonna win though so you might want to get the brooms ready for the sweep. πŸ˜‰
    Just joking! I loved to see Allen Iverson play. I miss him in the league. Your teams is young and quick so this should be a great series.

  7. jerly says:

    Beautifully expressed and lovely pics. the green and grey combo is a revelation in beauty to me. yeah to release; is to be positive

  8. It is quite an achievement to even reach that stage and as an aspiring writer you give me hope.
    You’ll attain your goal eventually because like the weed you can’t be stopped and in time you’ll burst through.
    I’m not a big fan of green right now as your Celtics knocked out my Hawks πŸ˜‰ Good luck on future endeavors and thanks for visiting my corner of the blogging world!!

  9. Debbie says:

    Well done and congrats! I agree with you once you are able to let go of the negative energy a new light shines through.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  10. Uh-oh! Sorry David! Your Hawks gave a valiant effort though. They will be back next year. Thanks so much for your kind words! Yes, I will continue to work to burst on through. Have an amazing week ahead!

  11. I agree Jerly that the pairing of green and gray can be quite beautiful. Thanks for your words and for stopping by. Cheers!

  12. Hi Debbie! Carrying bad energy is too heavy of a weight! I love the lighter feeling of positivity. It is a daily process though to stay in balance. Thanks so much for your visit!

  13. Oh and I forgot to say David, you are not an aspiring writer. You are a writer, period. Cheers! πŸ™‚

  14. Rachel says:

    Awesome news about the small press publisher!! Way to make the finals!!! At the very least, the world has sent you confirmation that your work is definitely good enough. Keep thinking like a weed that sprouted right where some dog peed!! πŸ˜›

  15. Hi Rachel! Thanks so much! Well, I learned a few days ago that I didn’t make the cut. But… I received fabulous feed-back from the publishers and they are offering to list my book on their blog, newsletter and Facebook page when I self-publish it. I am really happy with that and to also have been in the running. I am very close to being ready to self-publish and my engines are still revved. Ha! I love you suggesting that I stay rooted where a dog peed. I am just ornery enough to do just that! πŸ™‚

  16. D.L.Sparks says:

    I loved this! I related the weeds scenario to life….my life in fact. It hasn’t been easy and I have had my share of “weed killer” tossed my way but Still I Rise. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  17. Thanks D.L.! I have to keep coming back to this post when I feel myself slipping. It’s so easy to forget the green and focus on the gray. So glad you stopped by and that the piece resonated for you dear. Weed Killer begone! πŸ™‚

  18. Since I’m reading your posts backward, I know the result. You are one of the best to me. I like that you embrace challenges everywhere, not only in writing. I love your attitude towards life.
    I’m not sure if I agree with the weeds part because they actually rob a plant of its nourishment but if you say it’s persistence, I’d rather see you as that widow who continually knocks at the judge’s door πŸ˜›
    Nothing will ever knock you down because you are a winner Tameka πŸ™‚

  19. Life is one big challenge Melissa. I just try to meet the obstacles with as much strength as possible. I don’t always reach my goals, but I will continue on as long as the sun shines down.
    I wasn’t looking at weeds in a literal sense, I was viewing them more as a symbol of resistance against destruction and as a way to view challenges. πŸ™‚

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