Meet Roderick W. MacIver

"Heron Dance"

"Sunset Migration" __by Roderick MacIver
"Sunset Migration" __by Roderick MacIver


This talented artist creates a site called "Heron Dance" to publish his online newsletter and display his artworks, which are treats to be joyously anticipated each time. A dear and multiply-talented friend alerted me to this site several years ago, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I've neglected to share it with my friends till now, so it is "high time" I did so!

The paintings of nature, especially, are breathtakingly lovely and also his personal "letter" to his members is always refreshing and often inspiring. If I were given to envy, I could quite easily be envious in all areas of his excellence!

In addition to this great artwork, he also authors books related to and highlighting his art and his intense interest in nature. As though all that were not enough, he seems to be a really likable, authentic kind of guy, someone who would be a delight in "eyeball-to-eyeball" discourse on a variety of subjects.

But what has prompted me now to bring these things to your attention is that this current periodic letter to his viewers is exquisitely appropriate for creative writers, so much so that I am impelled to share it with my fellow Hubbers! All the rest of the treats included are simply bonuses for you which I hope you'll love too.

Ordinarily I would avoid simply posting a lengthy verbatim quote and, if I felt it greatly needed sharing, at least I'd attempt to paraphrase its message. But, quite honestly, this time the only way to share it adequately is to include the entire quotation! Would one attempt to paraphrase Shakespeare, I ask you? Not I! So I'm hoping that you won't object, while I fully believe you'll understand my reasoning as you read it. The language of it is as special to it as the message it delivers, a message which may encourage any of us as writers if or when our challenges might seem enough to crush our creativity. Instead, this message assures us that they actually fuel it and may even be essential to bring forth the best that is in us! Does that not sound worthwhile?

I've been thinking about it ever since I read it a few days ago, and have since been looking for the best way to share it with my colleagues here. I've simply felt that for me to try to paraphrase it would spoil it. I think you'll see why. Besides, Rod MacIver has already paraphrased the message he was sharing and passing along from his friend, Archie Campbell, so nothing for me to do but simply to post the whole letter verbatim for your pleasure! To my best knowledge, this Archibald Campbell is not related to the historic man of the same name, nor to any Hubber we know!

Read on, my friends . . . . By the way, you just might need a box of tissues because if you're anything like me, you'll not only get the serious message, but you'll probably laugh so hard there will be tears streaming down your cheeks!  So get out the tissues and keep them within reach.

Rod MacIver
Rod MacIver

The Letter - Verbatim

"Dear Heron Dancers:

"Archibald Campbell stopped by my place for a little visit this last week. I hadn't seen him in a while. He was finishing a book, he said, and getting over a love affair gone wrong. He wanted to talk about failure. I could tell he was a little down. I'm going to try to paraphrase what he had to say, because I found it interesting.

"I'm an expert in failure, he said. The creative process is about failure. People think it is about talent, but it is about failure. Being single is about failure. People who can't live with failure should go to work at the post office. Or get married.

"I pointed out that he couldn't be that much of a failure. Every time I see him he's with a different woman, and they are all interesting and all attractive. Well, he said, “I've been rejected by more women in the last year than you've been rejected by in your whole life. That's just the way it is, and I'm okay with it. Human history, given what it is, does not speak very well for human nature. Or human judgment. If most people liked me, I'd be like a politician. No, I'd rather emulate the outcasts—the people they hang from the cross. The people they reject—the Jesuses, the Walt Whitmans, the Henry David Thoreaus. The people who are revered after they are safely dead and don't threaten the established order of things.” Archie had kind of an edge to him that afternoon. Like I said, he was a little down.

"And the creative process is about failure. The creative process is about writing your book for years and then throwing it in the fire one night because you know it is no good. And the creative process is about starting again the next morning and doing it right. And then, when you finally get it written so that you feel okay about it, it gets rejected. Not salable. But you keep trying, because you believe in it. You believe you have something to say. So yes, there's ego involved. And maybe some alcohol. Maybe you need a little alcohol to believe that the world is wrong and you are right.

"Then there's the other failure in the creative process and in life—a lack of belief in yourself, a lack of self-discipline. You are supposed to sit down and write your book, but instead you answer emails and meander around on Facebook. It is a lot more fun approving friends on Facebook than it is failing at a painting. Picasso created over 50,000 works of art in his life. He did 10,000 of those in the last ten years of his life—that's an average of three a day when he was in his eighties. If you think those were all masterpieces, you haven't seen them, but regardless of what he did or didn't do the previous day, he got up in the morning and went to work. He didn't fool around on Facebook.

"The real problem with failure, Archie said, isn't failure but mediocrity. The failures are obvious, and you can deal with them. The problems are the mediocrities that you keep pouring energy into in the hope that they will make it. Just a little more time, a little more energy, and bammo! Success! Except it never happens. It's always just a little more effort. That applies to relationships as much as it does to the creation of art, to the writing of books. The mediocrities are the energy sappers, the projects that are almost right, the relationships that almost work. But they don't. In order to have energy to put into the winners, you need to slough off the mediocrities. But it isn't easy to walk away.

"Yes, in general, the good books get published and the lousy books don't. So it isn't a total crap shoot. And yes, the single people who go through life with a good heart, and goodwill, and who don't mind rejection, don't really lack for company. But the hardest part is acceptance. Accepting your work for what it is after you've poured your heart and soul into it, accepting others for who they are, flaws and beauty and all. Accepting reality: beautiful and mysterious. Accepting reality, even the reality that keeps presenting the same lessons over and over--lessons you need to learn but don't want to. Even that reality has its beauty.

"By then, Archie had finished off my last beer. He left. Going out for a paddle on the river, he said. Alone.

"In celebration of the Great Dance of Life,

"Roderick W. MacIver"

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

It's my hope that you will enjoy that letter and what are surely major truths in it as much as I did.   Knowing the kind of readers I have, it seems highly probable.

Of course, I'm also feeling virtually sure that you'll experience the sense of joyous wonderment and freedom from mundane cares that his glorious watercolours and other works engender! I use that word "engender" because they don't necessarily "hit one between the eyes" so much as implant themselves to grow and expand, almost like nature itself often does. Some of them may grab your sensibilities instantly but many may slowly begin to awaken and take hold of a deeper consciousness.  At least, those have been among my experiences with them. 

If you haven't been previously introduced to this astonishing man, I'm pleased to now do so. If you're already a fan, then I trust that it will be a refreshing reminder for you!

So, what more need be said?  His charming works speak for themselves!  I thank the artist for them and thank you for indulging me by sharing him and his works! 

Link to Heron Dance!

More by this Author


kellydove profile image

kellydove 6 years ago

very nice pics follow me

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SilverGenes 6 years ago

Nellieanna, thank you for this wonderful article. I will be visiting his site for sure. Your observation, "they don't necessarily "hit one between the eyes" so much as implant themselves to grow and expand, almost like nature itself often does" is a very apt description for the art that becomes a part of us.

The idea of mediocrity being worse than failure is true. I think it's a heinous thing to be almost there, to see the shore but the boat can't navigate the water for the final surge to harbour. Sometimes, we love our vessels simply because we have cared for and polished them so frequently - of course, with the hope that they will emerge as something better.

I have had a ridiculous repetitive dream all my life, wherein I find myself locked in a department store overnight with everything you could imagine there for the taking. Two issues emerge. The moral obligation to touch nothing, but then permission is granted. As soon as it is clear to enjoy, I discover I am in an old Woolworth's store (remember them?). Mediocrity is hell. Failure is like old family vacation slides.

I'm bookmarking this hub - thank you!

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

There's something very peaceful and comfortable about this art. Thanks for introducing it.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for introducing this wonderful artist and your great review of his work which it deserves.

ltfawkes profile image

ltfawkes 6 years ago from NE Ohio

One Christmas, a friend of mine and his wife got their three-year-old son a little red wagon. It came as a box of parts that needed to be assembled.

On Christmas Eve after the kid had gone to bed, the mom and dad got in a pretty heated argument. She thought the dad should put the thing together so that when the kid came downstairs Christmas morning, the first thing he'd see was a shiny red wagon sitting under the tree.

The dad said no. He wanted the box under the tree, and then he and his son would assemble the wagon together. Dad won.

Dad and son spent all Christmas morning assembling the wagon. The kid was thrilled each time his dad showed him how to fit the screwdriver into the slots and how to find the right nut, and fascinated as the wagon slowly took shape. That wagon was his most treasured possession for years because he had "built it himself."

Mom told me later that she'd learned a lesson she'd remember for the rest of her life. Life isn't what happens when you achieve your goals. It's what happens while you're working toward your goals.

If you're writing or painting for the thrill of seeing your book in print or seeing your painting hanging in a gallery (i.e., for fame and fortune), you're risking disillusionment.

If you're writing or painting (or doing anything else, for that matter) for the sheer joy of doing it (and you can find joy in most of the things you do if you look for it), you'll live a long and happy life.


PS - Oh, yeah - I really like these paintings and I'm going to visit the website.

msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

What great talent. It is more difficult to do watercolor than it is paint, this at least I know about painting as an art. Thank you for sharing with us, Nellieanna.

Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

If one can escape the mediocracy of survival and utilize their frontal lobe which is used for problem solving reality simplifies...being in a peacful setting with nature is a time tested way of being able to simplify the present and see a more inclusive picture that provides solutions to complex situations...

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Kelly Dove - Thanks for the quick comment.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

SG - Your comments are always so deep & well thought out. I really do appreciate that - it expands my thinking on whatever subject. I'm thrilled that you plan to bookmark the hub & quite pleased that you plan to visit his site, too.

Yes, it's so true, isn't it? Art of any kind which becomes a part of us usually needs time to "take root".

Yes, of course - mediocrity is sad and disappointing. But on the other hand, by whose definition is it mediocre? Is it by comparison? - (probably so, either by oneself or others!) But how much recognition and evaluation - by whom - is required to qualify an effort for a higher category? Perhaps the worst kind of mediocrity is the self-pronounced kind. If one has no belief in or respect for one's own work, it's almost condemned to mediocrity, even though others might have thought more highly or it if it had been offered. One's own sense of its mediocrity could keep it from others' evaluation.

But, ah! Yes! It's like an interminable nightmare and your description of its like being "almost there, to see the shore but the boat can't navigate the water for the final surge to harbour" may be exactly that, a self pronounced inability or ineptitude, when perhaps a little more "going with the flow" would glide one on to that shore. When it comes to creativity, when it feels like too much "struggle" - it probably has missed the boat. It's as if the muse has gotten weary of trying to awaken one to move on with less friction. I wonder.

Sometimes "everyone" raves over something which perhaps you and I might think rather commonplace - or we might rave over something few others would find of value. It's rather relative and often a matter of subjective taste, perhaps.

OH, yes - of course I do remember Woolworth's, where one could buy a bottle of "Evening In Paris" perfume for mere cents. Now the stuff is worth a fortune on Ebay as a collectors' item. In fact it's considered one of the world's most famous scents! I loved that blue bottle it came in and it wasn't at all horrid smelling! In fact, I think YSL came out with one very similar and just called it "Paris". So much for evaluation.

But certainly, viewing an array of Woolworlth's merchandise in a typical Woolworth's setting in contrast or comparison with viewing a fine store's display does point up what seems mediocre or not!

In your dream that reality was surely a bummer! haha! ( But to a kid with a dollar or two to spend on all her Christmas presents, good ole Woolworth's looked pretty good! hehe - Also, it instilled respect for making them herself!, too. A dollar could buy a lot of basic raw 'makings' and some added creativity could convert them into something more wonderful - or at least a mother would think so! ;-)

Thanks so much for these comments!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hi, suziecat - Oh yes - there is a peaceful, comfy quality about the art. I couldn't agree more! It seems to beckon one into it. My pleasure to introduce it! It's a little off the "beaten path"! Thank you for viviting and commenting.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hello, hello - and thank YOU for coming by, reading and leaving your impressions! It's gratifying and I was most pleased to share his work

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ltfawkes - I so very much agree!! It IS in the pleasure of doing, going, and learning that the joy is found, rather than arriving at the destination! Going for the scoreboard or the number of "hits" has never interested me. I'm too spoiled by having had the great good fortune of discovering doing for the sheer joy of it early-on, I guess, so much so that it feels like "having to" and pressure if I'm forced to be watching scores. So, yes - absolutely! You put your finger right on it when you said "Life isn't what happens when you achieve your goals. It's what happens while you're working toward your goals." Thanks for reminding us.

And it's a lot like collecting art: - one is advised to collect whatever one really likes. Then if it turns out to be valuable, fine. If not, one still has the things one really likes.

Thanks so much for the visit and great comments!! I think you'll appreciate the Heron Dance site!

I loved the red wagon story too!! It sounded very fist-hand to me! ;->

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Melinda - thank you! Yes, watercolours are quite different from other paint media, for sure, and they have such a different quality. They really seem more fluid, as one might expect. Many techniques in their use are almost the opposite of those in other paint media, in fact. For instance, one doesn't "add" white paint to a painted object. One must leave it white from the start, which means that all shiney highlights must be planned and left before the objects which are to be highlighted are even painted! On the other hand, watercolours can suggest so much by their translucent and fluid qualities. I love using them more than any others. I'm happy that you visited and enjoyed it!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Mentalist - quite so! And even being in a peaceful setting or mode in the frontal lobe itself is more conducive to problem solving as well as to creativity. After all, a human being is all of a "piece". Our various senses, including our higher intelligence are all part of the whole which we ARE. Having parts in dissonance is a poor way to keep it running smoothly. The highest state is the whole state in which it all works together harmoniously and smoothly, right?

I'm so glad you dropped by! I always welcome your comments, which are thought-provoking! Thank you!

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Oh, now I am hopelessly in love with Archie! Thank you for sharing his wisdom with us, Nellieanne. I just have to bookmark this. And yes, this is perhaps the secret of happiness: “Accepting reality: beautiful and mysterious. Accepting reality, even the reality that keeps presenting the same lessons over and over--lessons you need to learn but don't want to. Even that reality has its beauty.” If only I knew/understood this ‘law’ ages ago, I would have spare myself tons of misery.

christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Oddly enough, the truly engaging thing about each of the pictures that you posted here is that, brilliant though they are as nature pictures, there is a type of characterisation about the various birds that gives them an individuality of their own; almost as if you could divine what they were thinking about when the picture was done. I noticed that particularly in the picture of the owl.

Thankyou Nellieanna for another inspired article.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Martie - YES! You're so right!

I like to call myself an optimistic realist or a realistic optimist for that very reason. I know that I must embrace reality or - what have I to embrace? Just illusions! And there are plenty of desireable parts to reality, but if one chooses illusions, one never knows the real goodies, or at least not for sure! It's all too fuzzy, what is or isn't real when dealing with or dwelling in illusion.

So one must take the tough with the tender, the sour with the sweet, the "bad" with the good. And to do that, it helps if one sees the beauty in it all and embraces it all with love and enthusiasm, so as to not be a pessimistic, bitter realist.

Yes, Archie is wise. And I'd bet he knows, too, that he's better off without the women who reject him. Who wants to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you? How infinitely better to know that they don't than to be deceived or delusional, wasting time (life) on them! It's bound to hurt but it needn't be allowed to take even more of one's life /time in pointless regret over what didn't happen & sadness that it didn't. That's just giving illusion more place in one's life that crowds out the good stuff in reality. And it certainly doesn't mean the other person is a bad person just because he/she doesn't feel it, either. It's a "no fault" reality is all. Well, anyway - that's my view of it.

Thank you so much for the lovely comments, Martie! It's such a pleasure to see you!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Christopheranton - that's a most astute - and fine-tuned - observation! But how could I expect less of you? You're a keenly observant, fine-tuned person, I surmise! (been reading your hubs - heh heh)

I had a feeling about it too - but hadn't quite put my finger on what it was. That owl truly does seem to be thinking intently and focusing intensely! The kingfisher, hummingbird and even the ducks seem alert, too. Most interesting.

I do appreciate your taking time to read my hub and leave your clarity for me! Thank you!

always exploring profile image

always exploring 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

I loved the 'Archie story. I know someone just like him.

My favorite picture, the humming bird with the vivid

green and blue colors.

Thank you

McHamlet profile image

McHamlet 6 years ago

Very interesting hub and I love the pictures, particularly the one with man in the boat. This is a very talented man you've introduced us to. On the letter, well, we are suckers for mediocrity, if we weren't there'd be far fewer millionaires hanging around Hollywood. At the same time it's all relative; to the victim of starvation, war or extreme poverty, the mediocrity the majority of us in the western world endure must seem like heaven. However, we do I think have a duty to make the most of our privileged position by not accepting or participating in the vast amount of nonsense that's out there in the air in this great commercial playground we now live in, to dig a bit deeper lest it sweep us up and carry us away to its never-never land of empty promise...

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Nellieanna what a wonderful presentation of this talented writer and artist, the watercolors are beautiful and my favorite is the man in the canoe. Peace and tranquility jumps out at me and I want to be that man canoeing in the morning dawn sunlight.

In celebration of the Great Dance of Life

"The real problem with failure, Archie said, isn't failure but mediocrity."

I agree with his thinking however without failures we wouldn't have the works of so many genius people. They toiled day and night failing till they were satisfied thinking they got it right and in many cases that was not the piece, but instead it was the composition or painting or science project that they rejected as mediocre buried in the closet or in a drawer that finally surfaced and was the found gem.

I find the biggest time waster for me has been procrastination, it stifles ones thoughts. Steals our time at the same time creates negativity and sloth. In due course one has accomplished nothing, instead became a time waster and that novel, painting, music score is left sitting and possibly never getting finished.

We must stick to what we set out to do and see it to the end, aim to fail, I like his mention of Picasso the amount of paintings he created and especially in his later years, like a Grandma Moses being discovers somewhere in her eighties. Could it be that our youth and to much of our adult life was as time wasters?

But then accepting "Acceptance" that is tough for any artist, we are and always be our own worst critics. What we perceive as failure is acceptance for others, we won't settle on mediocrity because so many artist's are perfectionists and it has to be in our eyes a masterpiece, thus the reasoning behind works of art being buried away for years upon years and when discovered becoming acclaimed as genius work. he he.

I loved this hub and will definitely bookmark and go back to his site. I rate this hub UPPPP and thank you for an enjoyable read over my Saturday morning java, have a wonderful weekend. Hugs

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Nellieanna, Thanks for writing about this artist and I really like his art. Paintings that reflect nature so beautifully are always a pleasure to see.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Very nice Write Nellieanna! Thank you again!

dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Reading this hub and the comments is like learning everything you needed to know in Kindergarten... "mediocrity" by definition defines who most of us are. We are average. The key is to be outstanding in the ONE thing you truly enjoy.

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

There's so much talent in the's so humbling to see evidence of it! Thank you Nellieanna for introducing us to yet another gem. His paintings are lovely - so simple and yet so luminous. And he has a very enlightened friend in Archie :)

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Great information about his work and if it comes from you, then it is more than worth it. Great works and so talented, Thank you, Maita

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Always Exploring - that's kind of my feeling about Archie, too. He's familiar. Glad you like the hummingbird. It's so different from his other watercolors. Reminds me of my lotus paintings, which seem to me to be so different from my usual style. More definite, more deliberate, more color, less space, less accidental. Thanks so much for coming by and sharing your responses!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

McHamlet - yes, the one with the man in the boat is good and it opens some speculation. I find myself wondering whether it's tumultuous like "The Old Man and the Sea" or peaceable and quiet. Something about the colours & the lighting seems a little unsettliing somehow.

Yes - that's so true. Mediocrity is relative. I suspect that even the most inspired among us lives largely in personal mediocrity performing "real life" with rare moments of inspiration. Few people are always "on" or even always effective, even when focused on a project, much less when just doing regular things.

Perhaps greatness is so rare overall that we over-emphasize it when it occurs, if it is perceived. Perhaps at the same time, everyone has moments of greatness during our lifetimes of mediocrity but they're rarely recorded so that they can be known and given recognition. When they are, in those cases, so many rarities have been isolated and encompassed & so many improbabilities have been overcome, that we are duly swept away.

There's a factor of uniqueness, too. Both one who creates and those who behold it bring extreme subjectivity to it. If it happens to 'click' - it's "great" - then. To another person it may or may not. The one who is creating, though, must be true to his own subjective & unique ability & offering even if no one else gets it. Because it is what he alone can produce and he cannot effectively produce anyone else's inspiration.

Then, too as you point out - in an era of "accepting or participating in the vast amount of nonsense that's out there in the air" - those moments of greatness seem all the more rare and improbable. But sadly, you're absolutely on-target that the danger of being swept up and carried away to the "never-never land of empty promise" is a huge hovering likelihood unless something changes in the dircection of the western world. Even among good, nearly great efforts there'a a certain pallor dulling the brightness one hopes for, if its only a byproduct of the general passive awareness of the impending disaster of oblivion and sameness. That there is so much available and so many are trying to be great, the relative few crystalline moments of true greatness are even less likely to be noticed than when the pervading background was lack and ignorance. So much "good" garbage crowds out and distracts from the really good and rare moments of truth and brilliance.

As always - you raise thought level and bring out ideas!! Thank you!!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

I knew you'd appreciate this, Ken. Your response is uplifting. You're become so keenly receptive, I look forward to reading your impressions!

Your interpretation of the man in the boat makes such sense & I've been ambivalent about it. But, of course - it must be morning dawn producing the colour & aura. I'd questioned it. My first impression of the painting when I saw it was truly a flash of "The Old Man and the Sea ". Something about the way the boat was tilted and the sky seemed a little threatening. But seeing it from the perspective of a fisherman in dawn's early light gives it a peaceable meaning. Whew!

I must admit that it was the point Arche seemed to make about a need for some failure to fuel creativity which caught my attention initially about his philosophy, rather than his mention of mediocrity, which I simply viewed as depicting the opposite of creativity in it, &/or possibly the result of having too much ease & not enough failure to spur one to action.

The other responses in comments here have opened up other interpretations for me which I find provocative, stimulating and worthwhile, too. Very good discussion!

You've brought me back again to considering the effects of failure on creativity, though. You probably are familiar with, in the process of learning to sell, one is urged to learn to accept rejection, because it is inevitable & always outweighs acceptance, but the "no's" are necessary to endure to get to the "yes's". Most folks are put off by even a one-to-one ratio of rejections to successful attempts. But the reality is the ratios are much more tipped toward the rejections, at least five to one, & when a person is "green" at it - probabaly more like ten no's to one yes. And that's usually only the first round in the process - each of which contains the same ratio to wade through. That's why good salespeople are valuable. They're the ones who have learned to endure and persist.

But these ratios pervade in other areas as well. As you say - one may try many times to get a composition - or, as you mention, a painting or scientific experiment just "right" without success before reaching that "promised land" of "Voila!" when it works.

Also as you point out, there is a need to be able to recognize it when it happens! That gets trickier when both/either rejection or acceptance must be to one's own work & initally performed by oneself before even offering it to the public. Easy to know you've gotten there when you're selling a car and someone says "where do I sign?". But when you're putting your heart and soul into numerous efforts trying to get an article or any other creative project most perfect - they begin to all seem mediocre.

I'm quite critical of my prose & my presentations of whatever it is. But I do get to a point when I can feel it's "there" and let it be.

I don't think about poetry though. It pours forth from somewhere I know not & I can't really question it much. I may see small ways to "improve" it - but I must be careful or I'll undermine it trying to make it just a bit better.

And anytime I set out to deliberately write poetry, I can be almost assured that it will be horrid. Likewise, if I try to revise it, I find I'm best advised to just set down another one instead & leave the original alone or else I end up with an unrecognizable mess & no poetry. Fortunately most of my poetry is so short that opportunity for grammatical and typo errors is slim, unlike my prose which is a virtual irrigated cornfield of errors!! LOL So I have to work on my prose. Also I seldom pre-plan it much so that often it's redundant, in reversed or mixed order &/or generally illogical. I can work on it & still it can be all those things! Yet it's the only writing I can do deliberately & hope for any kind of inspiration to crop out in it too.

Yes, procrastination is a factor. But I find that I sometimes need it. It becomes my "fertile flux" in which non-intellectual wisdom can arise because thinking is on vacation. So I sort of ride along with it and give myself leeway. True, it can stifle one's thoughts - but at those times is when ones' awareness of that other kind of "gut" wisdom gets a chance to be heard. And thought-only output produces a sterile result, IMHO - which is fine for scientific papers, but seldom quite does it for other types of presentations in which some heart & soul,-charm-, is an asset. Those don't come from thinking alone. Thought helps organizes & verbalize them, though.

Negativity about such lapses, free space or "waste" of time, I think, is a choice. Giving it a more positive character gives it a chance to perform those otherwise unseen & unheard inner lights and voices which often separate the genius in us from the mundane or even the clever. It requires a kind of courage to "be still & let it happen" without stewing and straining over it. But the results can be so outstanding!

And then we must always take into consideration that we stand a chance of some rejection. Not everyone will get even our masterpiece, whether it be via brain power, heart & soul or all working together! One thing no one is to anyone else is indispensable & whatever we turn out in creations are even less necessary to others. Doesn't mean we or our stuff won't be valued and cherished - but we must provide something to the other person they do need or they will have no reason to pause from their own pursuits. However, what is ironic is that we can't be who we are or do what we do for that reason! LOL It just needs to FIT. That is what is so rare.

Glad you did enjoy the hub and thank you for your great response!! I do value & cherish you and your thoughts.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Pamela - oh - yes - birds, especially, in nature art draw me. I have a watercolor a friend did years ago which I must share - of an exquisite bird. I see these efforts and wish I could capture those essences so beautifully! My birds are either distant ones or accidental! LOL. But I'm not such a great artist as these. Thanks for the visit and comments, dear lady!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Micky - thank you! I appreciate your visits and comments, my friend.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yep, Dallas. If one can achieve the combination of expertise and inspiration and 99% perspiration in one field of endeavor one loves, it is quite an accomplishment. But perhaps for some of us being more average in several fields we truly love is personally gratifying and perhaps not a total waste for others either. And I doubt anyone can achieve the epitome of being outstanding by just trying to or aiming to. It's almost as if that is a byproduct of the pursuit of the love of it anyway. When we see someone, though - who is a successful professional in a creative field, it's awesome. They must have learned to get up on a blah morning and turn on the juices of that creativity, more than the average amateur can. That's almost another field in itself, perhaps. But one thing about it - it has to be out of the joy of doing it, as you mention - and then it gives much joy to others and leaves us awed and breathless!

I love your comments.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

FP - yes - there is much relatively undiscovered real talent in progress all around, yet so quietly it could be overlooked.

But yet, with today's means of communication and access, - it's become more and more likely to run across more of them, such as this one, and realizing it can be both thrilling and unsettling! To think of the human resources blossoming in almost private gardens, while some with more PR get great amounts of attention, perhaps having no greater talent, really - gives one pause. With today's pace, it's rare that people really take time TO pause and pay real attention to it all. It's probably impossible to do so. While noticing one, others are not being noticed. So it's often a question of quality vs. guantity. I like to have it all - but prefer quality if I must choose.

But what fun to stumble across an artist like this & also to find Archie's "arch" wisdom included just because of Rod's astute notice of it and willingness to share it in his own newsletter to his followers.

It all impressed me and reminded me of the beauty and the goodness of humans, which is not so commonplace these days.

Thanks, dear, for a great observation.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Maita - sooooo good to hear from you! I know you've been very busy and we haven't seen so much of you here for a bit. Thanks for taking time to come by and share your impressions! See you soon, I hope!

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Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

Well, I must admit that I feel that way far too often. It just goes back to the old adage that if you through enough crap on the wall, sooner or later, something sticks. It's having the resilence to stay there throwing that makes us a little better and little more dedicated than the next person. I use to tell my younger children that it was not so difficult to be outstanding because there were so many people in the world willing to accept mediocrity. That lesson comes home to me here in multiple lessons about life whether it is writing or dealing in relatonships. It is interesting to see that even those who have "made it" still find frustration in continuing to create and just continuing to live life as a human being. It just shows one that true happiness is such a function of inner self merged with the appreciation of those around us. Thanks for a very good and interesting article on a great subject! WB

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equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

This letter actually helped me discover a secret door with a room not investigated in myself. Whilst reading, I asked myself, Why do you like writing, Francis? Are we ready to be honest, or do we just scribble away on another day? I have not finished this answer to myself yet.

I find it so utterly amazing, the talent of some strangers. With the stroke of a brush on a canvas, they express more than I can do with a thousand words. These paintings are awesome. Thank you, Nellieanna, for sharing another of your "friends" with me, and enriching my life.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Wayne, I'm touched and pleased that you visited my hub. I'm a native Texan, too, you know.

Yes, it's persistence & determination which win. Maybe many people who don't prefer mediority even more don't prefer hard work or rejection, some of which pave the road to success.

It's also a matter of consciously choosing what one really wants & going for what one's willing to pay the price to achieve. Fame is not everyone's main goal and sometimes struggling for it stifles the creativity that is preferred. When it's a conscious choice, there's courage in making it, either way.

As you so aptly point out, after many folks "make it" to fame, they're still faced with frustration both personally & creatively. Point is that if one is really LIVING life, it's always challenging & that's what's good about it. Scorekeeping has to be one's personal evaluation & we must embrace all of it, good & bad, if we're to fully experience any of it.

You're so wise in pointing out what true happiness is! I love that analysis. Thank YOU for visiting and commenting. I'm honored! A always admire your wise comments on hubs!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Equealla, do you realize how greatly you enrich my life? Your comments are inevitably self-honest and productive! You "get it" so fully!

How right you are that it's important to check one's own motives to be sure they're realistic, authentic and personally fulfilling. Why else do what we do, right? Well - you say you've not finished the answer for yourself, but I suspect you did so when you began to examine your motives!

Like you, I'm also awed by the incredible talents of many folks, both famous and "amateurs". I suppose the difference is a matter of simple logistics. They used to say that "the cream always rises to the top" - but in this day of homogenation, I think the cream droplets remains interspersed in the whole milk! It's up to all of us to discover the droplets of cream among ourselves!

Many of those who reach "the top" are there as much by luck or "hook & crook" as by talent. Their major talent seems to need to be figuring out how to get there, no matter what they offer creatively. Usually it must have at least mass appeal and therefore it has appeal for the money-makers to promote it. At least that's how it's beginning to appear to me. One wonders if the greats of the past would have gotten inside the publisers' front doors! haha.

Well - no matter. If we know to & how to enjoy all the journey, whatever its destination & detours, we're already ahead of the game!

So happy you visited, my friend!

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miss_jkim 6 years ago


Thank you for sharing this most interesting piece. I loved Maclver's letter and I am glad you posted it as it was written. He has a way with words, they are indeed like seeds planted in ones mind and heart. There will be much to reep from them.

His paintings are beautiful as well. Again, Thank you for sharing such a golden nugget.

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

Major, major love this hub. Bookmarking it and sharing it with friends. Extraordinary!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Dear miss_jkim - So pleased you enjoyed the letter and paintings! Indeed, much to be reaped from these words and pictures! Thanks for visiting the hub!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hello, raisingme! What nice comments - I'm delighted you like it so much! Thank you, thank you!!

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

I am emailing it around the universe! You are most welcome.

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dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Nellieanna, Perhaps the "joy" is being aware of the joy! Success as you know is a state-of-mind! What you are currently doing is a "joy" to you. The countless, smiles fuzzy, and "feel-good" feelings you create in your websites and your hubs are priceless! I enjoy reading all of them! Your Ann Landers, comments, Erma Bombeck wit is priceless!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Raisingme - I'm delighted! And I hope it brings a lot of pleasure, too!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

haha! Dallas, you do me great honor!

And it's true that the secret is in enjoying "it", whatever "it" may be. I think back over different times of my life when "it" was probably anything but joyous in itself, and yet - somehow - joy could be eeked out of it. And even more often, joy was there for the taking!

Of course, one can only create or find joy for oneself and perhaps remind others to look for theirs. If I may say so, your own sparkle makes me feel proud. And that you've likened me to some folks I wouldn't have thought to liken myself to is quite flattering, since they are some beloved folks, as you say, in Americana & they include Norman Rockwell! WOW. You're priceless!!! Hugs.

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R. J. Lefebvre 6 years ago


You and your friends are remarkable. I must confess that I was not actively searching the HubPages or the web because I don't feel comfortable spending a lot of time searching-like finding my way through a maze. You and Lorrie have spun me around, however I may bring some clippers with me. Thanks.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh my, Ronnie - I have had problems receiving my email notifications of new comments and just now found yours, written 6 weeks ago. I am appalled and hope you will return and see that I am most apologetic. I'm honored that you've visited and glad you found it worthwhile!! I'll try to look up your page and let you know!

BenWritings profile image

BenWritings 5 years ago from Save me from, Tennessee

you were right Nellie, his art is mind-blowing

love it, thanks for the email :]

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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah - yes - the art is mind-blowing, as well as the texts on his site,- both his own and the quotations from Archibald Campbell, whoever that is. I've subscribed to the site for several years, after its being recommended to me by someone whose tastes and ideas I admire. I don't always open every issue, but I never fail to be rewarded when I do. I've come to regard Rod McIver as a friend, somehow. The creative spirit, the restlessness, the love of nature, - the out-and-out humanity about the man are endearing. He seems like someone it would be good to know.

So I am pleased that you saw fit to look into my suggestion, Ben. You've mentioned that you are not widely read and perhaps it is due to a dearth of really inspiring and interesting sources. Maybe Rod McIver will be someone you can enjoy, someone to expand the horizon a bit.


Rod MacIver 5 years ago

Thanks all for your comments and especially to Nellieanna for spreading the word.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

I am simply amazed and delighted that you visited my tribute to your work, Rod! I've been following your newsletter for several years and am always uplifted by your lovely paintings and probing remarks. You come through as being such a real person, as well. Thank you!

As you can see by the others' comments, I am not alone in my praise and appreciation!


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emichael 5 years ago from New Orleans

"In order to have energy to put into the winners, you need to slough off the mediocrities. But it isn't easy to walk away."

That's the line that hit me. It's the thing I struggle with the most.

I especially love how he ties the lessons we aught to learn in making better art to lessons we aught to learn in living better lives. Very profound.

Thanks for sharing this.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh you are so right emichael! He's as much a philosopher as an artist, and in both spheres, he is so practical, as well. I subscribe to his page and look almost daily to see what lovely art and useful ideas he's posted. The title of his page is "Heron Dance" if you'd like to find it. (He paints herons a lot.)

Thank you for the visit and great comment!

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emichael 5 years ago from New Orleans

I will most definitely check that out.

I forgot to mention how much I loved the paintings, as well. The man in the boat is my favorite. I love the misty, dreamy quality in the water colors.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes. The man in the boat painting reminds me of Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea". (I only saw the movie, however.) Water colors suit it perfectly, don't they?

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femmeflashpoint 5 years ago

Nellieanna -

What a wonderful site to share! I love the work you've posted here, as well as his comical (yet still serious) commentary.

I loved seeing so much grey in his artwork, perhaps because I'm a big fan of black and white photography. But, he uses the colors without causing the painting to be dark or dreary. Impressive!

I think I'll have to PIN this guy on my "Favorite Websites" board.

Thank you again for sharing him with us. :)


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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

I've followed Rod MacIver's lovely "Heron Dance" for quite a few years. I get the announcement almost every day in my e-mail. I feel like I almost know the man. He goes through creative challenges as well as personal ones. And he seems to persist and win with his amazing spirit. I love his paintings, as well as his lovely and honest verbal meanderings. His choice of colors or grays seems to fit the moods so well, as you've noticed.

He even visited this hub and left a lovely comment, and he doesn't know me at all! How kind is that?

Thanks for the visit, Femme. You won't be disappointed if you keep up with him.

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femmeflashpoint 5 years ago

Nellieanna! Wow!!

I'm impressed that he visited you on the Hub! That's quite the compliment! And, I would imagine he was equally impressed with your talents as you are his.

I do plan to keep up with him and investigate him a bit further, as well as pass him onto some friends and relatives who are artists of this type. I think they'll enjoy his work a great deal.

So glad you turned us on to him!


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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Femme - good! You'll enjoy it, I think. Actually, you've reminded me that is was my friend whom I mentioned in my reply to your comment on the mystery gift giver who first recommended Rod MacIver to me! We've been in touch over so many years and share similar interests. That friend is multi-talented and such an interesting person. - - Small world, isn't it? :-)

I was amazed that R.M. took time to comment on my hub about him. I suppose he got notification that someone had used his name and came by to check on it. Evidently he wasn't offended or he'd have objected rather than leaving a nice comment. I was most flattered.

He comes across as a real person. I feel like I sort of know him.

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femmeflashpoint 5 years ago

Nellieanna -

Small world and no such thing as coincidence. :)

That's an interesting link-up.

Kinda causes one to wonder why?


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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Depends on the meaning assigned to the word. Actually it means events that coincide. At any moment there are millions of events coinciding around the world. Yes, it's a small world and it's the nature of things. It's statistically inevitable that some'incidents' will cross paths and show similarities which may or may not indicate any further connection.

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femmeflashpoint 5 years ago


Is this your way of telling me you're not packing for a trip?



Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

HaHa - Wink. . . . ;-)

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