Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Schmooozing With The Westside Illustrators!

Suzy Engelman Block - coordinator

The Westside Illustrators Schmooze met on January 12th with an amazing group of enthusiastic participants. The topic for this meeting was ‘Straying from our Comfort Zone…Exploring the Ideas of Experimentation and Adventure.”

We explored the subject from many different angles and pondered the thoughts of many who have come before us. Straying from our comfort zone, or more accurately staying in our comfort zone, is a universal, timeless concern on the minds of the great thinkers and artists of this world.

“To the degree we're not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves.” Peter McWilliams, author/activist

Dancer and choreographer, Agnes De Mille said, “The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”

What about those of us who don’t like that UNCOMFORTABLE feeling, "leaping in the dark?"

What about those of us who like to think things through …a little too much… until we are totally overwhelmed and immobilized?

Writer Ray Bradbury said, “Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things."

He also said, “If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”

Well, what if we try something new… and FAIL?

Yeh, what if we stink? The outcome will not be worth the effort. It’ll be a waste of time…disappointing, embarrassing, humiliating and downright depressing!

Well, dancer Martha Graham said, “You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

So how do we even know where to START?

We really want to experiment, explore and expand our horizons! Yet we can sit and stare at a blank canvas or keyboard for hours, days, weeks, or…? We can’t even pick up the phone or address the envelope.

I love this quote by Pablo Picasso. “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.”

And astronomer, Carl Sagan, who said, “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”

I really don’t think we need to reinvent the cosmos. We just need the courage to start something, and see what happens as we get lost in the process.

What if we actually SUCCEED?

“Unlike fear of failure and fear of rejection, fear of success can be far more insidious because it’s almost always unconscious.” Steve Pavlina, motivationalist

Succeeding could be totally out of our comfort zone! One has to actually perform and ‘put our money where our mouth is.’ In this publishing business, it means spontaneous creativity, undying creative energy, dealing with deadlines, taking criticism, maybe book promotion. Might we be sabotaging ourselves out of fear of succeeding? Yep…lots to think about!

But in the end, let’s focus on the inspiring words of writer Johann Wolfgang von Geothe.

“At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you."

Whoa! Try it…you’ll see it’s true! Now get to
work, people!

Happy creating! Xo…Suzy
SuzyBlock@gmail.com or SoozyEB@aol.com
Come visit me at…. SuzyEngelmanBlock.com

****Our next Westside Illustrators Schmooze is February 9th. Our topic is, “Promoting Ourselves…From Mailings, to Websites to Public Speaking." If you’re interested in joining us or have any questions, feel free to contact me at the email above.


  1. That was a great meeting. My son came along out of curiosity. He's more musical than artistic, but he got as much out of the meeting as I did and really enjoyed it. Thank you for all your hard work Suzy! Looking forward to next week!

  2. The last was a great meeting, and tonight's has at least as much potentiality. Love the groovy vibration of the space. And the talk is always lively and supportive. Thanks Suzy.


  3. What a delight, reading this! I got a lot out of all these quotes, as I'm sure all creative people will!! Thank you for sharing!!