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.



Reviewers and critics around the world told me not to love Vincent.

He’s overdrawn. Even hysterical. In key parts of his story, he drags and deflects and assaults those around him. He’s too creative. People don’t understand what he’s all about.

Great artists are not peaceful souls. – from the movie Loving Vincent

Critics said such things about Vincent van Gogh in his day. Why should Loving Vincentthe first fully painted movie about his death, escape such harsh judgment?

Humans haven’t changed much since Van Gogh’s day, have they? Nobody appreciated Vincent’s talent when he was alive. In less than a decade, he produced 826 paintings.

He only sold one during his short life.

And so it goes with the most creative movie I’ve seen in recent memory.

When I landed in Los Angeles for my soul-feeding time with Debra Fetterly, one of the first things I said was, “I want to see Loving Vincent. It’s playing in Pasadena.”

Debra, one of my most adventurous friends, was a little underwhelmed at first. “I’ve read a lot of mixed things about that movie. A lot of people don’t like it.”

In the end, we decided to experience it for ourselves. Because you know what?

We let others draw too many lines around our experiences today.

Instead of getting out and forming our own opinions about things, we let ratings and reviews and critics tell us how we should experience life. And in the process, WE MISS SO MUCH WORTHY LIVING.

Debra and I were glued to the riotous screen for almost two hours. When the movie finished, we sat through the credits. Our mouths were still open as the lights came up. Once we were home, we googled information on how the film makers oil-painted an entire movie. We gobbled up information about featured characters from his paintings. The next day, we were STILL discussing Loving Vincent.

I’m SO GLAD I chose to experience something that underwhelmed others. Time after time, I find when I ignore internet noise, discarded treasures smash the boundaries of my life.


Want to see how my unwillingness to go along with the crowd impacts my writing?


Stories are the thread of connection. They’re like promiscuous sex. We can dally and fool around, or we can go all the way.

I’m glad I went all the way with Debra Fetterly.

Debra lives in greater Los Angeles. I found her writing a little over two years ago. Whether she writes about California’s history or its wine, its challenges or her San Gabriel backyard, she imbues her words with the welcoming soul that she is.

I was lucky to meet her in person last November. But on this trip-to-Australia-that-won’t-end, I got to spend an afternoon with her. At her house. In the very backyard she describes. I met Darwin the turtle and shared a cupcake with her granddaughters and saw Jay’s exquisite model train.

In the harried pace that is travel today, it was a gift to sit in a garden. To nurture connections. To slow down and just be.

Thank you Debra and Jay and the rest of the crew for letting us crash a family gathering. We’re glad you chose to spend part of our two-day delay with us.

Get to know Debra at her blog Breathe Lighter by clicking here: Click to Breathe Lighter.

Have you met any of your online buddies in person? What was the experience like? Describe it in a comment today.