In 100 Years, I Want to Know I Gave 100%

Well folks, I’ve reached 100 likes on my blog posts.  Don’t I feel special!

Italicized writing from this website: Within My Power – The Power of One Man Print E-mail

The following was written by Forest E. Witcraft (1894 – 1967), a scholar, teacher, and Boy Scout administrator and first published in the October 1950 issue of Scouting magazine.

Forest E. WitcraftI am not a Very Important Man, as importance is commonly rated. I do not have great wealth, control a big business, or occupy a position of great honor or authority.

Yet I may someday mould destiny. For it is within my power to become the most important man in the world in the life of a boy. And every boy is a potential atom bomb in human history.

A humble citizen like myself might have been the Scoutmaster of a Troop in which an undersized unhappy Austrian lad by the name of Adolph might have found a joyous boyhood, full of the ideals of brotherhood, goodwill, and kindness. And the world would have been different.

A humble citizen like myself might have been the organizer of a Scout Troop in which a Russian boy called Joe might have learned the lessons of democratic cooperation.

These men would never have known that they had averted world tragedy, yet actually they would have been among the most important men who ever lived.

All about me are boys. They are the makers of history, the builders of tomorrow. If I can have some part in guiding them up the trails of Scouting, on to the high road of noble character and constructive citizenship, I may prove to be the most important man in their lives, the most important man in my community.

A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different, because I was important in the life of a boy.


I find this interesting that when you search for this poem, some sites recognize it as anonymous.

A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.

  – Anonymous

The above text quote is from this website.

You would think they would credit the author, Forest Whitcraft.  Someone changed the last word from “boy” to “child” and now Forest Whitcraft loses credit for profound statement.  He seems like the type that wouldn’t care too much about that.  Well me, I am not that evolved.  I work hard as an artist (photographer and writer) and I want credit for my work. I also like validation.  You’ll have to buy my memoir to find out about the deep seeded reason for that! But I think everyone loves validation.

I have been using Pinterest and I am still so new to the site, that I am not sure how I feel about it.  I worked really hard to upload watermarked images, but I am still finding people using my photos that do not have the watermark on them.  I am reporting people to Pinterest that do that.  I feel bad about it though, like “Oh, how can I be your friend still, even though you are stealing my photos and not crediting me?”  Like, I ‘ll lose a precious fan or potential customer.  News flash — if people steal the photos and don’t credit me, it is safe to say, they are not going to buy a photo. Dah! I am also looking out for other photographers.

I had a mini discussion with a photographer about photo piracy on Twitter, when he posted that this photo had been pirated. This is what he said,

@memomuse1 Sorry I didn’t get back sooner but I once heard this: once you put a photo on the web you no longer control it. You can always control how put it there but once it’s up assume it can and will be taken.

@memomuse1 I do post on Flickr & on my site & a few other places that people can see my stuff. I don’t watermark anymore & just accept fate.

@memomuse1 Not a big fan of watermarks because they detract from the pic. Flickr has some protection at least. So I roll mostly w/Flickr
@PositivePauly You are an artist Paul and I agree with you on watermarks, but I guess it is part of the dealio these days as a photographer
@memomuse1 I do post on Flickr & on my site & a few other places that people can see my stuff. I don’t watermark anymore & just accept fate.

Why does this have to be the case?  Should we just give into plagiarism and photo piracy?  I have come to the conclusion, I will make a living as a teacher, educator, and hopefully someday, as a writer.  Now, as a stay-at-home mom, I am not bringing in an income.  I do have assignments that pay as a freelance writer and photographer, but as far as my art goes, I do it because I love it.  An old friend of mine, asked me recently, “Are you making money with your art?”  I responded, “Well, it depends on what you define as making money.”  This bothered me, mostly because, it reinforced the fact I am not making money.  But that is not my incentive.  I guess what fuels me most is when someone appreciates the art in a photo or one of my blog posts moves someone enough to take extra time to comment on my blog.

I don’t really have a plan yet on what I am exactly trying to do.  Yes, it would nice if I sold some photos at my art online gallery at and yes, it would super awesome to go viral on Pinterest as the awesome cowboy and rodeo photographer lady. But the truth is, I am slowly building a platform, of real people (like you who actually read my blog) who actually like my blog because they really do like it.  I have been caught up in forcing all my work out there that is even annoys me how I am marketing myself.  Little known secret — I was an elementary and special education major in college and I have a Master’s in English (Creative Writing), so I have no idea what I am doing on the business/marketing side.  I just am feeling the intensity of the NOW of the internet and social media, especially along the lines of platform.  But I have so much to learn still.  My good friend sent me this article, which might be of help to you if you are trying to build a platform, as well.

I feel the internet makes me fall into old mind traps of how I will get discovered instantly and then I can write thank you notes to all my people. Ha.  It’s so funny, sometimes I really think I have nailed it.  Like this attempt I had last night to channel Don Draper and write copy on Pinterest to get some traffic to my Talenthouse portfolio, ultimately to get more supporters to vote for my photo of Chris LeDoux.  Ha.  I guess nobody wants my ugly mug sitting on their pretty Pinterest boards (I would have uploaded an image of an attractive cowboy, cowgirl, or horse if I could have, but Pinterest only found the image of me sitting in a barn with my typewriter on my lap).

Yep, that's Memomuse, with her typewriter and a whole lot of hay! Photo by Sara Turner

This was my advertising copy:

There’s a whole barn full of cowboys here in my portfolio at Talenthouse (click on my photo). And they all tell a story — hop in the truck and let’s take a ride to Wyoming to see the largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration in the United States! Hell yeah, hop in and let’s put some gravel in our travels.

×Thumbnail of Megan OteriMegan Oteri
Photos of Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Chris LeDoux, JB Mauney, Clint Craig, Brian Canter, cowboys, cowgirls, and broncs and bulls, and scenic Wyoming. Black and white photos with an artistic perspective. I’d love to get your feedback, so be sure to leave a comment if you have time. Thanks for stopping by my photo ranch!So, there you have it — I am really good at photography, writing, and teaching.  Advertising and marketing — well, I think Don Draper would take pleasure in firing me.I changed the Pinterest photo and copy (my husband helped me rewrite it).  He has more sense than me.It now reads: There’s a whole lot of cowboys here at my ranch. Visit them at my portfolio at Talenthouse (click on photo). And they all tell a story — hop in the truck and let’s kick up some dust and take a ride to Wyoming to see the largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration in the United States! Let’s go to the Daddy of em’ All!And I put this photo in instead of my ugly mug!

FYI:  To make the © symbol: Press the Alt key and “0169” at the same time.  My husband helped me with that.  I do an inner “high-five” via my left brain every time I execute that simple, but at one time, completely foreign and unreachable to my right brain mind.

Photo by my Awesome husband (my #1 cowboy) © Awesome husband All Rights Reserved
Memomuse's hand - high fiving all you right brains (and left brains and whole brains)

I actually met with a literary agent at the 2011 South Carolina Writer’s Workshop, and after two rejections of my gift book, The Original Journal (see tab above if you are not familiar with that project), I decided the third pitch needed to be something else, or my ego would literally strangle me with its wounded limbs.  So, I pitched my memoir.  The agent put her business card on the table.  I had no idea what that meant, having suffered (cue ego sad music) two rejections from other agents.

She said, “My next appointment has cancelled, so do you have questions about the publishing business and process?”

I searched my mind and had one thing on my mind, “How did my pitch go?”

She smiled, she is from the Mid-West, and so down to earth and said, “I gave you my card.”

I was like, “Yeah, OK, what does that mean?”

She laughed kindly and looked me dead in the eye (this time I wasn’t about to cry like after the rejection from the last two agents), and said, “I want to see the first 30 pages.”

I think I could have hugged her.  I really wanted to.  I was on top of the world.

I have several drafts, and as Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird, I certainly have a shitty first draft.  And a shitty second draft.  I am working on the second two chapters. I finished the first chapter.

So I have a tangible lead — but I get caught up in the get-discovered-via-the-all-mighty-internet scheme very easily. I know it happens — Julie and Julia, the lady who makes stuffed animals from children’s illustrations, and Justin Bieber.  Granted I don’t have a YouTube channel and I don’t write about food (hell, I hardly cook) and I couldn’t sew a button on a jacket to save my life.  I write. I take photographs. I am memomuse.  That should be enough.  But I really do want to get discovered.  Fast. Like now.  But I am doing what I do and eventually it will take where I’m supposed to go.

“Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go.”
― Natalie Goldberg

And I am taking baby steps to figure out the rest, or sometimes I jump into the internet pool and Cannonball!  Sorry if I have splashed you while you were relaxing and sunbathing quietly.  I just have no idea what I am doing.

In 100 years, I want to know I gave it 100%.

Have a great weekend.  Voting starts for the photo of Chris LeDoux on Talenthouse on Monday.  I will put a link in the Monday Museletter.  I will also be posting a story about meeting Chris LeDoux at Cheyenne Frontier Days.  Those sparkly Wyoming cowboy eyes sure can make a cowgirl blush!

Friends who make us feel full

memomuse, windswept by the sea

I recently went to a writers’ conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (South Carolina’s Writers’ Workshop).  My friend, Annie, went with me.  What a joyous time we had.

This friendship makes me feel like a giant of greatness

She is the type of friend who makes me believe in my dreams and more importantly, myself.  Our conversations touch on all kinds of subjects.  Faith. Secrets.  Love.  Loss. Letters in boxes from dead relatives.  Avatars.  Transformations.  Butterflies and their grace.  Energy healers.  Being worn out.  Being torn down.  Being build up.  Writing.  Food.  Skeletons in our closet.  Closets for our skeletons.  Energy drainers.  Friends that we shouldn’t label as friends.  Thoreau’s essays.  Books that bounce off invisible rhythms of our souls.  Serendipity.  Fate.  Circumstance.  Jobs.  Dreams.  Hopes. Love. And so much more.

Sometimes friends are gifts beyond our scope of understanding. 

Mirrors of beauty

They give us a mirror and we can see our beauty.  Annie is this mirror for me.  Maybe because I am an old soul I am drawn to older women. 

I have another friend who is 95 and we’re kindred spirits.  Her name is Jennie.  I am lucky to have a friend like her.  She takes me for what I’m.  I don’t have to censor or apologize for being me.   

Friends have no age

She baked homemade baklava for my wedding and all my guests.  She is also a writer.  I met her in a writer’s group, years ago in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Everyone except her was salivating to get published.  Jennie just wanted to write her stories. For herself, her grandchildren and children.  One of those stories is an amazing story about being right there at Pearl Harbor before the bombing, during the bombing, and after the bombing when her husband, who was a Navy officer put her and her pregnant belly on a ship back to the mainland.  Enemy submarines following her ship the whole way. 

Jennie taught me the most important thing about writing, by example: don’t get caught up in publishing it – write to write. 

In other words, write for yourself. 

Important lesson.  A lesson I am still trying to take the test for.  I have flunked several times, as I am desperate to get published.   For someone to recognize my words, myself, my fate.  Someday, I may be on a bookshelf you can check out or maybe I’ll just have finished manuscripts on my shelf with all the other journals.  But Jennie’s wisdom sits on my shoulder when I write, whispering her words, “Write for yourself. The rest will balance out eventually.”  I listen, as she is a wise friend.

Annie, too, shares this gift of writing for herself.  She hesitates to call herself a writer, but she journals religiously or when she has time.  And oh, does she have a story.  She could have pitched her memoir to any one of those important gate-keeper literary agents at the conference and they would be all over her book.  She gets caught up in all the questions and tangles I do.  “Where do I start? Who would want to read my story?  How do I organize it?”  I am able to give her sound advice.  Advice I echo from Jennie.  “Write for yourself Annie.  The rest will work itself out.”

Annie is a spry, sexy, woman who I often forget her age. She is 72.  She looks maybe 50. 

Isn't she something!

Her energy feels like maybe 25.  We can’t help but giggle and crack jokes around each other and miraculously, I don’t get on her nerves.  Some friends can only stand me for a limited amount of time.  And I can only stand them for about the same.  As it should be.  Some friendships are deeper than others and that is ok.   

 Some friendships I try to force that round peg in the square peg. 

I hear myself murmuring, “I’ll make it fit,” as splinters pierce skin.  But I can be annoying.  I talk too much; I’m impatient.  Hell, I got so many flaws, I couldn’t list them all.  I will be the first to tell you that.  Or the second, as you might be the person I am telling it to and you already know that! But I can also be beautiful, inspiring, encouraging, nurturing, and warm.  I am a friend for life and I got your back . 

With some friends we depart and reconnect a week later, a month later.  But with Annie, I didn’t want to leave her side. We were together Friday (all day in the car, lost on country roads) and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  I felt empty when she left.  Sad.  Our connection is cosmic. 

Annie and memomuse

Annie and memomuse

 There are very few friends I can be so real with.  I am lucky to have a handful of real friends that take me for what I am. Sometimes too blunt for my own good, sometimes so creative I have a hard time containing my excitement, sometimes discouraged and heartbroken by the world and all the realities that can get a creative down, sometimes a conversation hog, sometimes a mother still adjusting to being a new mom, sometimes a writer (need I say more), sometimes a wife, sometimes a sister, sometimes a daughter, sometimes a sinner, sometimes a saint, sometimes a lady some of you know as memomuse.  But true friends really do leave footprints on our hearts.  True friends tell us to shut up and listen.  True friends tell us to keep talking.  “Go on, I’m listening.  You’re on to something.  Keep the faith.  Don’t give up.  No, you aren’t that annoying.” 

Photo by memomuse

These friends who leave footprints on our soul also are the ones who provide the intensity and depth of the ocean near by the sand.  Some friends leave muddy boot marks that make our hearts itch and scream.

I recently ended a friendship that just didn’t make me feel good. In fact, it made me feel icky.  I had to sever ties.  I ignored the instinct in my heart that this friend judged me and looked down on me.  I do understand that this friendship’s chapter ended and I am grateful to have read the book.  But I am focusing now on friendships that make me feel alive and grow and thrive. 

Life is too damn short to try to shave that thick round peg into a right-angled square peg. 

 I have realized that I have shaved parts of myself in all aspects of my life (work, creative, family, personal, etc.) trying to fit into that nice, neat square peg.  I was born for circles. As they are infinite and each point on a circle is the same distance from the center. 

After the conference was over, Annie and I sat at the hotel bar out in the bright warm sun and danced in conversation. 

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Back and forth, back and forth.  Ebb and flow.  Taking turns so naturally.  Bouncing off each other’s thoughts.  Then another kindred spirit joined us, a writer.  We all gathered, sipping Bloody Marys, and soaking up the sun.  Butterflies kept dancing around us, fluttering along our shoulders.  We were in touch with this great big force of self, surrounded by the magic of friendship, of muse. 

So, I raise my glass to old friendships and new friendships.  Because they all matter.  And like a circle, sometimes they continue on, sometimes they just stay at their point in the circle.  And some, like Annie’s go round and round, with giggle storms that make your belly ache, conversations that make you want to shout to the world, and comfort, no apple pie sitting on an open windowed shelf, can touch. 

What friendships nurture you?  Do you foster them?  What friendships make you feel bad?  Do you continue to shave off your round peg to fit it into the square hole?

Journal Your Journey.

Hope. Wish. Dream. Be. wherever you go, are going, and plan on going...never look back. Journey on.

Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.