Fear Diary

In February 2012, I started the Fear Project. I was inspired after seeing an online presentation by an illustrator who talked about ways to bring some semblance of structure to her chaotic creative process. I totally connected with what she was saying. Back then, fear in general was on my mind, and I felt the urge to work on a longer-term project. These simple ideas led to my embarking on the Fear Project.

Three and a half years later, it's still here — always on my mind. It's made its way into print and online publications; it's been shown in galleries across the country; it frequently comes up in conversations with people I know and don't know. Every fear that has been shared with me has deeply moved me. I'm always amazed at how eloquent and honest people are when expressing this darker, more secretive part of their lives. I'm continually grateful for all the kind words and encouragement I've received about the work.

Some things have come up lately that have made me realize just how important this project is to me and why I need to keep moving it forward. (Let's just call these "things" signs from the Universe.) I haven't been posting Fear Project pieces as much as I'd like this year, and that's been bothering me. Any excuses I can come up with are sounding more and more lame ("I'm busy." "I have to do this or that, first." "Too tired — I need a break. It's time for a little more House Hunters International").

I believe in practicing what I preach in the classroom, and when I cajole my students to "do it, make it, practice," I mean it. When it comes to developing something, anything, there just aren't any shortcuts. And as for waiting for the big lightening bolt of inspiration to strike? Forget about it.

I've received lots of Fear Project submissions lately, probably because the work has shown up in a few publications all at once. A great thing! But overwhelming. Many of my pieces are multi-layered and can sometimes take me more time to create than I'd like. So, I'm simplifying.

Welcome to the start of what I'm calling "Fear Diary" (still part of the Fear Project). Three fears posted per week (that's how I started this whole thing!) over the next year, but this time I'll be including many more pieces that will be, well, smaller and more manageable. Not that any of these fears presented this way mean anything "less" — it's just that I really want to honor more of the fear musings I've received over the past few years and get (kind of) more daily with it. I'm giving this a shot.

OK. Jumping off the precipice now ... with "Fear of Being Old."