On the Cover (And My Issues with Being Seen)

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VERVE Magazine -- Article on The Artful Parent

I'm on the cover of VERVE Magazine, a local magazine with the mission of "Covering Asheville's most fascinating women." This is equally exciting and nerve-racking for me. The last time I was on the cover of something was when I was born—2 weeks early in an ambulance on April Fool's Day. I'm sure I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about how I felt about my questionable fame then. 

This time around, I've had a chance to observe myself responding to the cover and I realize I have issues.

This is normal, right?

I mean, we all have issues. Some of us have issues with cockroaches. Some of us have issues with sugar. Some of us have issues with being seen. Some of us have issues with all of the above and more (yeah, that might be me).

Now I recognize that this sounds ridiculous coming from a blogger who is purposefully writing to share her ideas with others.

Maybe writing on the web is the perfect combination of sharing freely and yet remaining safely hidden (even it it's just in my own mind).

A book feels the same way. I wrote a book that I want to share with as many people as possible, yet I don't have the same desire to eat a whole box of chocolates sitting on the floor behind the sofa. 

One of my favorite parts of living in a big city like Boston was how anonymous I could be. Walking down the street and not knowing anyone and secure in the knowledge that no one knew me? I relished that.

This is probably not something you're supposed to tell others. 

Just for the record, I love people, too. I have wonderful friendships that I absolutely cherish. But I'm better one on one or in smaller groups. I don't go around talking about myself or telling people what I do.

Writing this blog feels intimate. I'm inviting you into my home.

When I wrote my book, I was writing for you and imagining sharing my ideas over a cup of hot coffee in your home. Maybe walking around your house with you, brainstorming ways to create or tweak your ideal art space, talking about ways to fit creative activities into your busy day, even sitting down with your kids and showing them some of my favorite art activities. 

Groups are good, too, in modest doses. I LOVED getting hands-on with kids and their parents at my recent bookstore event. And I am truly looking forward to the others that are scheduled.

I'm still not sure exactly why I suddenly feel so exposed by being on the magazine cover. Not sure why I have these issues with being seen. Let's just hope I don't sabotage myself too badly when I'm on TV tomorrow morning. Maybe you could send some good anonymous vibes my way…

By the way, the VERVE article itself is quite nice. You can read it online or pick up a paper copy if you live in the Asheville area.

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  1. says

    Jean, You are beautiful! Congratulations.
    I love that you say you wrote the book for us – like you were drinking coffee with us in our homes. That is the exact feel your book has, except in my mind we are drinking tea!

  2. says

    As someone who falls into the good friend category, I think that you are a beautiful person inside and out and I’m so happy you’re sharing your talents with the larger world.
    Blogging pairs a bit of anonymity with the chance to be seen and heard. Perhaps it is just the balance of those two that has changed, but your involvement at blogger conferences, your book and now print and television media are also an important part of your ability to reach others with the awesome things you have to say. Don’t shy away from the limelight, Jean. But don’t feel bad if you want to go eat chocolates behind the couch… I’ll have to try that too.

  3. Amy says

    I feel you, I would flip out if I had to be on the cover of something or do book promotion things.

  4. says

    This is awesome (and understandably a bit scary). I’ve been a faithful follower for several years now and think you are amazing.
    We are actually headed to Asheville today for a few days (we are on a long roadtrip, and currently in the great smoky mtns) and I keep thinking about you and your blog (’cause I don’t know anyone else in Asheville).
    I’m going to look for the magaine and grab a copy!

  5. says

    Yeah. Thanks. It’s definitely something I need to work through. A friend of mine just told me a bout a new book called “The Shy Writer Reborn” — I just downloaded it to my Kindle and am hoping it helps!

  6. says

  7. Dena says

    While I understand how you feel, I really just wanted to write and tell you how lovely that dress is and you look glowing- time to shine, oh yes!!!

  8. says

    If it helps, you look positively wonderful. But yes, I understand exactly what you mean, our family is in a catalog this month (though on the back page) and it feels odd. i also look fat, but that’s a whole other issue . . .

  9. says

    Oh Jean, you are stunning – inside and out! So very proud of you and excited to watch you coming out of your shell and getting a smidge of the credit you deserve.

  10. Carrie says

    Jean, you are stunning! You have flawless skin and your “niceness” just shines through!
    It is so common for artsy people to be a little (or a lot) introverted, it seems to go with the territory. In my case, and perhaps yours too, it is because I am so sensitive. I just read The Highly Sensitive Person and all but one chapter really resonated with me.

  11. Elizabeth says

    You totally deserve this and rock that cover! Congrats from Austin, Texas!! Every Momma I talk to who gets crafty with their kiddos turns to you for inspiration. You make this stay-at-home-mom gig even more fun. Thank you for your years of dedication to your blog and your beautiful new book (which I will be purchasing ASAP). You are the BEST!

  12. bobbi says

    many people find the “being invisable” part of computers and blogs and writing comforting. I had to give a speech last night… thought i was a deer in the headlights! YIK! but give me a web page… and i can write for days! go figure!