Janet Lee Carey-Dreamwalks DreamWalks Janet Lee Carey Award-winning author of novels for children and young adults

Don’t Be Afraid of Canyons

Dreamwalkers, here’s the second half of my conversation with artist and writer,
Margaret Kellermann about doing art through this edgy time. We looked at painting last time. Now we make a leap to audio art as we discuss Margaret’s newest venture! Whether you’re moving forward, wandering around a creative crossroads, or standing on the edge of a deep canyon, wondering where to go next with your art, we hope this talk gives you creative courage.

Janet: Hey, Margaret, we talked earlier about how art paths can twist or come to a halt at the edge of a chasm. In those difficult moments, sometimes we can make a leap to another art form. I saw you do this as you leaped this year from painting to a new creatively challenging project with Annie California Book One.

Margaret: After writing my novel Annie California Book One, I realized that it started and ended with Annie on the edge: the Grand Canyon in the West and Purgatory Chasm in the East. She’s terrified of heights, but right in the middle of the book, her friend Crow Boy gives her an excellent piece of advice as they climb a ladder to the barn loft: “If you feel like you’re falling back, lean forward. And if you feel like you’re falling forward, lean back. I’m right here to catch you.”

Janet: I loved that part and need to hear Crow Boy say that when I’m at the cliff’s edge. I had to move past fear this year as I challenged myself to wait and listen. Sometimes my stories tell me where to go. Other times I have to hold still at the edge of the next thing. But whether I’m working or waiting, I find courage knowing other artists face these same challenges every day. Can you tell the Dreamwalkers where Annie’s story took you this year?

Margaret: Last fall I received a Funds for Artists’ Resilience (FAR) Grant, given through Ink People For the Arts. The grant allowed me to hire a studio engineer. In two weeks, we created a professional audiobook for Annie California Book One. This story, published in January 2021 in paperback and on Kindle, is a revised edition of the original 2018 book, which had some issues. The new audiobook is now available on Audible through Amazon,

so there are three ways to enjoy the story, if you like. Right now, I’m working on getting the audiobook out on radio or podcast. I’d love for people to be able to hear it as a bedtime reading series.

The purpose of the FAR Grant was twofold:
1. to give a handful of artists some funding to keep them resilient, because they had lost many of their usual art venues during the pandemic, and
2. to ask those artists to create a project that would encourage the public to be resilient.

In the story, my character Annie’s resilience is seen in her stubborn truth-telling, despite her dysfunctional family’s objections! The book is her journal, a chronicle of a crazymaking road trip across the country, as Annie tries to figure out a deep family mystery.

Janet: I can see how Annie passes on resilience as she seeks a way out of her broken family’s collision course. I took Annie California Book One with me when I got my covid shots. Annie was my companion in the waiting room. I knew she’d lift my spirits. Now I have the audio version, I travel with Annie through your voice and laugh at her wry humor. The audio version brings vitality and presence to the story.

Margaret: Thanks, Janet. You are always encouraging. I had so much fun at the studio, doing the reading and putting in guitar riffs of original tunes every few chapters. It made me want to do more audiobooks for others. The engineer had fun with it, too. So, if anyone wants me to read their book as an audiobook, let’s talk! Contact me through my website.

My personal mission has been, for the past several years, “to encourage people to use their creative gifts.” I want to encourage all Dreamwalkers to not wait for someone in government to tell us when it’s okay to start living again. We can start something now. Something small and doable, like taking our journal for a walk and sitting on a park bench and sketching or writing a paragraph. Something. Anything. It all adds up. It doesn’t need to be a cliffhanger. It can be … what, Janet? What can it be?

Janet: Something. Anything. A cry in the wilderness. A leaning out into the wind.


“Don’t be afraid of canyons. They’re nothing but sky where the earth used to be. Why would a little bird like you be afraid of sky?” –the Weaver Lady in Annie California Book One

Thanks for the great discussion, Margaret.

And a little bit more!

Hey, Dreamwalkers. Want to hear about 7 Ways to Find Reliance? Check out Margaret Kellerman and D. Scott Smith, MBA Motivational Listener Interview. You can watch this discussion anytime. Here’s the  LINK

Until we meet again Dreamwalkers, walk well.

3 comments on “Don’t Be Afraid of Canyons

  1. This a beautifully written blog post!
    I can’t wait to read Annie California and listen to Margaret’s audiobook! Especially the part when Annie is afraid of being on a ladder and Crow Boy assures her.

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