When Small Things Snowball

When I first started selling my book on Writing the Artist Statement the shopping cart installed on my website malfunctioned.

Now, mind you, I didn’t know this at the time. I just thought no one was buying my book. Since I’m always into the next project on my inner to-do list, I pretty much let it go at that.

Far be it from me to force anyone to buy my book! [Which, in those early days, meant I equated selling used cars to book selling, and wasn’t about to get my hands “dirty.”]

Then something unremarkable happened…an artist emailed to tell me that he was having trouble buying my book off my website.

When small things snowball

Not only was I squeamish about selling something I’d created (sound familiar?), I was equally squeamish about going into the administrative area of the shopping cart and poking around. The back-end of anything online simply confused me, and I’d spend hours trying to navigate the most streamlined pages.

But it was a good thing I did. There were 20 artists who had tried to buy my book and were rejected by the shopping cart. Obviously things were not copasetic in Denmark! And, to my dismay, the cart never let me know. This had been going on for over 3 weeks.

Seriously embarrassed, I immediately sent out an apology email to all 20 customers (one at a time, since I had no idea about autoresponders, or lists, or really much of anything!) All I knew is that a miscarriage of online justice needed to be set right.

Then something remarkable happened

Almost everyone had found another way to get my book, but the husband of one artist immediately emailed me and asked: what else can you do to help my artist wife sell her art?

I laid out a basic coaching package (heck, I didn’t even know what a coach was back then!), and the next thing I knew, they put me on a year-long retainer and the rest is art-career coaching history.

This was my conversion to the Silver Lining theory: behind every cloud, there is a Silver Lining. The key to this theory is every.

Am I really so naive?

It’s true that you can’t keep me down long, no matter what the circumstances (and I’ve been thru some doozies!), and that you can deadpan me into believing almost anything for at least 30 seconds.

But at my core, I believe in the reality of my own experience.

So the researcher in me decided to test out the Silver Lining theory. (Getting a doctorate really cements this natural tendency!)

Pretending is prelude

Immediately, I realized that I had to send my skeptical self out of the room, or she’d cloud the results. In order to find out, I had to pretend that I believed all bad things were really good things in disguise.

I also understood that I had to give any event in my life time to reveal the Silver Lining. To do this, I had to pretend that time did not exist relative to good events showing up at the party of my life.

Fast forward ten years later

I don’t have time or space to list the hundreds of Silver Linings that I discovered with this simple approach. The smARTist Telesummit alone holds at least 100 incidents where I thought everything was going to hell in a hand basket, and instead gave me roses.

The key turned out to be pretending that I believed. That set me up to actually notice the Silver Linings. And slowly I understood that many, many Silver Linings slip behind our screen of disbelief unnoticed.

Tinkerbell does not have to die

Now here we all are, with everyone and everything around us screaming that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and we can’t save Tinkerbell just by believing.

Are you going to buy what they are selling?

Or is it just possible there is a Silver Lining here, waiting for you to notice?


And, oh, yes, and here is that book on Writing Your Artist Statement: Revealing the True Spirit of Your Work that started this snowball…

Check it out, and then tell me – what’s your favorite silver lining?

10 Responses to “When Small Things Snowball”

  1. Sari Grove says:

    Well, I tried to buy your book Writing the Artist Statement now, on the buybooksontheweb.com site, & when I tried to process it with the Paypal Express option, a red note appears on the buybooksontheweb.com page saying this ” ErrorCode=10729&Desc=Shipping Address State Empty&Desc2=The field Shipping Address State is required” …I am guessing though it says $6.00 shipping to Canada, that this server does not have much experience with sending things to Canada, or the provincial designation Ontario is coded somehow in the program maybe like “ON” or some other acronym…Thought I tried that…The silver lining is that I get to write this in your blog today…Why? Because now all your millions of readers are going to see my name & link to my site & I just hung a solo show yesterday, (12/12/12), & that will bring me increased good karma coming from here…

    • Well, Sari – that’s a downer! I’m trying to reach the publisher now and I’m on a tacky, tacky music hold…oh, and now I’m supposed to leave a message.

      This is what happens when an originally fabulous company gets bought out and then run by idiots.

      The silver lining here is it’s going to push me to put out a 2nd edition and get another publishing house….

      Heading over to your site right now!!!

    • Sari, now it’s my turn… click thru to , I guess, your home pg, only to be mystified as to what to do next (except sign up for your newsletter)…as for your show, I couldn’t read it, or figure out how to find out more since there were graphic images on top of other images with different colored words that were too hard to read… I’d love to know more about your show only I’m stumped…

      • Sari Grove says:

        Mmm…Think deeply…Why? Why is it a jumble? Hmmm…Because I live in a very cold country called Canada…It is a completely different culture here…It is like you were looking at a site from Italy or Brazil…It is a different language…What you are seeing is actually a reflection of what it is like here…This is a true representation of the art scene here…I could lie, but I am a Virgo…I am only showing what it is like here…You are welcome to come here & either sort out the art world of Toronto, or just decide that it is nature, wild & disorganized, or organized in its disorder…Stumped is how I feel too most of the time…Cut off…I have so many people coming to the show the library had to close for two weeks to put in an automatic book return sorter, which pushed my opening day two weeks forward almost…I don’t even have more works to sell because I am all sold out except for works in progress…My websites & blogs are so chock full of visitors that I can barely get in myself…So I apologize for the mess, but I figure a neat & orderly work area is only for those who aren’t working at the work instead of working at putting things into piles…or something…All that said, I will neaten things up a bit when I can…Thanks for your honesty…Love hearing you write…Sari Grove

    • Sari – head’s up! I’ve got the publisher’s attention and you should be hearing from them soon (Infinity)… the work around to do this has been a scream, including my posting a not-so-patient email (which I thought was going to the publisher) on another site that compares publishing houses (so that publisher’s name, associated w/ this website’s comparison shopping eBook, came up first on a search, ahead of the publishing house itself…)

      …sort of like trying to follow your exhibit info on your home pg… guess we must be flowing complex layers of energy, huh?

      Then, the response came – not from either of my phone and email messages to the publishing house – but from the “wrong” email I sent. The person on that site knew exactly how to get their attention…wonder who’s going to get my business next?

      • Sari Grove says:

        Yes…We are both flowing complex layers of energy…Mine comes from the fact that just the mere getting to a show, in Toronto, is difficult for most people due to the cold weather…By the time they arrive, they are annoyed, irritable & have a “what have you done for me lately” attitude…Then they expect a plethora of booze & food, gorgeous looking other guests with great outfits & an extensive collection of hyper-realistic art at below profit asking prices, though nobody actually has any disposable income in this hyper-socialized post-war market…This combined with the mercury heavy ADHD that many seem to be suffering from, makes attention spans limited…So, my websites & blogs have a completely “no pressure” layered complexity, that allow people to exit with mystification or enter but at their own will…It’s not a volume business here…It’s really a one at a time, many may be picked but few are chosen kind of a thing…Your silver lining thing comes into play several times a week here for me, if not once a day…I have to rationalize almost everything right now…It’s funny though, what is keeping me going, once again, is the art…You know what goes around comes around? Having some of my work nearby to look at late at night or in the wee hours of morning, really makes me feel great…It tells me how good I am…I had forgotten to keep my works long enough to enjoy them a bit & appreciate them before setting them free…I neatened up the site a little…Truth is the server, Wix, is a bit of a jumble too…But their graphics ability is so great I forgive them their jumble…Hey I am only 46 years old now…Married 16 years…On my career track, I hit it when I am 52…So, hold onto me for another 6 years…I bet my internet presence will be better then…

  2. Lisa Guarino says:

    Yes for the Silver Lining.

    There has been much said in regards to doom and gloom.
    Yet what’s opposite of that— Brilliance and Light.
    Both negative and positive exist in this world. Example electricity– positive and negative charge.

    So it comes down to what we choose.

    Molly Gordon, ( I’m in her group coaching) would said something like:
    Today I’m ____ about something and I’m not up to that today.
    Something to try every day.

    I believe we’re in an incredible time. A time to step out of the dark.


  3. Yay Lisa – and what better group of light practioners than artists, right?

  4. My favorite part of this post?
    “Tinkerbell does not have to die!”

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