I’m Just Happy to Be Here


“I’m Just Happy to Be Here”

This is the best Chris LeDoux picture I have.  In fact, it might be my all time favorite of the country crooners series.  A true Wyoming cowboy.  Wyoming cowboy true and true — he had the most beautiful sparkle in his eyes.  I was able to get a quick run up to the truck chance to ask Chris LeDoux any question.

My inside man, Thumper, who worked the left back behind the chute gate at Cheyenne Frontier Days said, “Be behind the chutes at 5.”   I had been shooting the rodeo all day and the hot July sun had me exhausted.  Truth be told, I needed a quick nap and a shower.

I didn’t have batteries for my Pentax camera.  I did, indeed, have my notebook and tape recorder, though.  So I hung out.   Thumper said it would be worth my time.

Chris walked in and out of the tan dusty, empty chutes with the Japanese film crew, who were doing a documentary on him.  The chutes were absent of the noise and the beautiful clutter and clang of spurs, boots, chaps, and the colorful cowboys.  The clutter free chutes, absent of cowboys and animals, were enchanting.  I got to tag along, thanks to my inside man, Thumper.   I remember I was told to be absolutely quiet.  Not a word from the rookie.  So I kept real quiet and just watched Chris.  The contrast of the Japanese short men and him, against the empty chutes, backdropped against a crisp July Wyoming sky was striking.  Chris just had an ease to ease.

Chris got in the CFD pick up truck, after the film crew finished the segment.  Some silver fox cowboy of a committee chairman was driving.  Chris was in the passenger’s side, leaning out, smilin’, with his crisp clean white cotton country sleeve shirt on. The truck was about to zoom off.

It looked out of place, all big and red there parked dead square in the middle of the cowboy ready area — all cowboys cleared out — not a cowboy anywhere.

I skipped over there, as Thumper, gave  me a clear Wyoming handlebar mustache look and said, “Now’s your chance, kid.”

So, I was nervous as all hell and grinning from ear to ear.  I giggled out, looking into his Montana sky blue eyes, that glistened gorgeous, and said,

“Thoughts on being at the Daddy?”  Holding out my handy-dandy tape recorder right up to his chin.

Wyoming cowboy and poet crooned out with that truer than true Wyoming glimmer, “Just happy to be here.”  It was one of those moments you only hear in a country song. I was lucky enough to experience it with a legendary cowboy.

***

Please vote for my photo of Chris LeDoux: http://www.talenthouse.com/creativeinvites/preview/a0f9dff66f714fed1a26d107a29d7516/507  As promised, I sang for my supper (your vote).  I hope you enjoyed the story and you enjoy the photo.  I just love me some country.

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Monday Museletter April 16


Happy Monday Muse!

I hope you all had a great weekend doing the things you love and spending time with loved ones.

Talenthouse Voting Opens Today

Voting opens at 10 am PST, so that is 1 pm EST.  Here is the link:  photo of Chris LeDoux.  I will be posting a creative nonfiction story Tuesday, about meeting Chris at Cheyenne Frontier Days in 2003.  So tuned, it’s a really cute story.  The title of the story is, “Just Happy to be Here.”

Blogging Award

I have been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award by R.T. Dickinson.  I will be posting my nominees and 7 things about me on Wednesday.

Sesame Street

My son has been watching Seseme Street.  He has started counting.  Not like 1, 2, 3, 4, but he holds up both his index fingers to show us he knows what 2 means.  He also lined up his bath toys in the tub and was counting in his toddler language. It was adorable.  He loves Elmo!  And he loves to sing and dance.

New Camera

My husband bought me a new camera for my birthday.  Yippee! It has two lenses. Oh yeah.  I love it.  I still haven’t figured out how to put a watermark on, using my own software.   I don;t really care if the photos I post today get pirated.  I am still getting used to the camera.

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Pirated Photos

The Facebook website that had pirated photos uploaded by some if its fans, took down the pirated photos of mine.  They also put up a link to my Talenthouse portfolio, saying this: “Looking for more cowboy photos, check out the awesome shots by Megan Oteri!”  I think I had to have this happen for me to force myself how to figure out watermarking.  I have uploaded watermarked photos (with Artflakes watermark) to my Pinterest page with links to my Artflakes online art gallery.

Gardening

My garden is starting to look amazing.  I love how it feels when a seed sprouts; I feel so empowered.  Gardening also helps me practice patience.  I am not a patient person by nature. I want it NOW. In fact, I want it before now! We are growing spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, beans, blackberries, strawberries, carrots, oregano, basal, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, and peas.  What a beautiful sight to see a garden grow.

Spinach growing in my garden

Brain Tumor Thursday

I feature a brain tumor survivor every Thursday on my blog.  I thought Liz’s story was incredible.  Featuring these people, sure puts things in perspective.  My mother has non-cancerous brain tumors.  You can read more about that here.  You can also find out about how Brain Tumor Thursday got started.  I do tell my readers about Brain Tumor Thursday in the Monday Museletter so they have a head’s up.  I know some people do not want to read about that.  I can respect that.  I think the profiles are inspirational — there are so many people dealing with serious problems.  It humbles me.

Chapter 2 – My Memoir

I hope to get chapter 2 to my memoir revised and edited by the end of this week.  Here is the story of meeting an agent at the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop:

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.

Have a great week ya’ll and hopefully I will see you here tomorrow for “Just Happy to Be Here,” to sing for my supper — to get your vote for my Chris LeDoux photo.  I really love Chris’ music and country music in general.  I am in the process of putting together a photo story book about the rodeo in Cheyenne.  You can view (Pinterest) or buy (Artflakes gallery) some of those photos here: my Pinterest page and my Artflakes online art gallery.

This is my favorite photo I have ever taken of a horse.

I took this photo, Eyelashes on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.

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 Artflakes.com 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 http://www.sturnerphotos.com

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!