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On the Cover (And My Issues with Being Seen)

by Jean Van't Hul
May 3, 2013

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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