I harp a lot about seeing the world adventurously.

In my last post, I shared my reaction to the movie Loving Vincent, the world’s first oil-painted movie about the death of Vincent van Gogh.

Today, I’m talking about another artist.

Marc Chagall.

His paintings are otherworldly dreamscapes. When I dream in technicolor, the images resemble what I see on his canvases: Rich and haunting, distorted and childlike. His art always makes me believe I can fly.

And I don’t think I can fly these days. The fallout from my incurable disease has fundamentally altered me. I’m scared and timid, scattered and exhausted. While I’m still a professional on a stage or on the page, in private my heart aches. My soul is barren. When I tried to describe how I feel to my husband recently, I drew a hot air balloon tethered to the ground.

“Here’s where I need to be,” I whispered as I scrawled a line to the sun. “But these cables are cemented to the earth. They won’t break.”

I also drew a cache of weapons, good for shooting me down if I ever broke free. So much for living adventurously, huh?

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s exhibit on Marc Chagall’s designs for the stage was a riotous antidote to my malaise.


Marc Chagall designed sets and costumes for three ballets and one opera during his lifetime. As I wandered through rooms packed with his paintings-come-to-three-dimensional-life, I was gobsmacked. How adventurous of a painter with no theatrical experience to say yes the first time! With every outing, his creations became more ambitious, more daring.

By the end, I was in tears.

I’m not afraid to live adventurously, not anymore, and that means living to feed my soul. It’s liberating to choose experiences that interest me, regardless of ratings or the incessant online chorus of don’t bothers. I believe experiences call to us because they have a critical life ingredient. When I let others talk me out of those adventures, I’m missing an experience that will mould and morph my life and impact everything I create.


See how adventure shapes my fiction.


thomas car rodinThomas’s Car sneaked into my bag
A gift from a little boy.
But everywhere we go
That car is a nag
Though it’s just a toy.

In Vancouver, it shouted
“I want to see!
I want to do everything!”
When I locked it away, it pouted
It couldn’t stand to just be.

In LA, through Serras it zoomed
and even got trapped underneath one.
When it found the Rodins
I thought we were doomed
To it, each shape was the sun.

It zipped down walkways
And flew through the air.
I said when it attached to my boob,
“We’ll stay here for days
And really be quite a pair.”

But when we found art
That was formed like a city
All squares and rectangles and shapes.
“This place is really smart.
Let’s get down to the gritty-nitty.”

So we wandered a while
And we watched all the cars
Zoom around and around and around.
Up a conveyor they would pile
Like they were reaching stars.

“I want to play, too!”
The little car said
As it quivered inside my hand.
“It’s like a car zoo
I can run fast and go right to bed.”

“But just think,” I retorted,
“Of all the things
You’ve gotten to go out and see.
If here you’ll be sorted
You’ll miss experiences life brings.”

The little car sighed
Some exhaust it did spit
Into my sweaty palm.
“So my options are fried
If I decide with my friends to flit?”

I said, “You can come with me.”
“Where to?” it asked.
“To a land Down Under, across the sea.
Without you, so sad I’d be
To smile again, I’d have to be masked.”

“I want to go with you,”
My little friend needed to flee.
“You’ve given me the urge to roam.
We make a great two
And there’s lots of world left to see.”


Chris Burden‘s Metropolis II is part of the permanent collection at LACMA. If you’re in the LA area on a weekend, the installation comes to life at scheduled intervals every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check out their website at for more information.

Thanks to Thomas Young for gifting me with this fun little car. I’m having a blast with it. To see Thomas’ Car Take the LACMA in pictures, check out the gallery here: Andra Watkins Tumblr

MTM loves him some sketchbooks. Moleskines. Leather bound journals. Museum folios. Handmade pages bound in glass.

The last one in the list was a gift from me. To commemorate my Natchez Trace walk, I bought MTM a Donna Branch. We decided to use it on this trip to record memories and messages from our 10th anniversary.

photo 1

That’s why our first day stranded in Los Angeles was fitting. I perused the LACMA website and found this:

photo 2

The Sketchbook Project is a traveling library of art books. We got our library card and checked out dozens of sketchbooks. On moods. On architecture. On landscapes. On seasons. On stories. Random bits of the lives of those who created them, captured between two cardboard covers.

Anyone can buy a bar-coded sketchbook like the one pictured at Participants customize the blank slates however they like before mailing them to the Brooklyn Art Library for inclusion in the 2015 traveling show. Every time someone checks out a book, the creator gets a message that it’s been viewed.

I can’t wait to get started on my 2015 sketchbook submission. What would you put in YOUR sketchbook, Dear Reader? I’d love to have some company in the 2015 traveling show.


To view photos of the Sketchbook Project’s stop at LACMA, click here: Andra Watkins Tumblr