Archive for June, 2012

June 28, 2012

Marta, Brenda, and Dorothea

Who are these women and
what links them together?

Well, first came…


MARTA SZABO Authentic Writing - Experiments in Memoir

Lately, I’ve been meeting oodles of cool women on Facebook. Creative women. Gutsy women. Women who are out there living their dreams.

Marta Szabo is one of them.

Co-Director of the Authentic Writing Workshops, Marta has been a writer and an editor all her life. Reading the short bio on her website, I’m amazed at (and a tad envious of) how exciting her life has been to date. From working as an editor in mass-market paperbacks to pursuing yoga and meditation to living in an ashram for over ten years AND spending a year and a half in India… Marta’s exploits make the heroine of Eat, Pray, Love seem lazy and dull. (And that’s only part of it… see for yourself.)

Through her workshops, Marta is making sure more and more people start living their dreams by helping them “return to their most essential, personal material – the content of their actual lives – and to render those stories not in pious ephemeral terms, but in tough, concrete ones.” In other words, Marta helps people unleash the writer within!

A good way to get to know her is by reading her blog, Experiments in Memoir. She’s of course on Facebook, though you may want to start by joining her Facebook Page and following her on Twitter.


It was Marta who shed a light on…


BRENDA UELAND If You Want to Write

It all started with a quote I stumbled upon while reading a book:

“The way to find your true self
is by recklessness and freedom.”
— Brenda Ueland

I had no clue who Brenda Ueland was, but finding myself in need of a quick quote fix, I skipped the research part and went straight to citing her on my Facebook wall.

Then came Marta’s comment: this is one of the best books ever about writing — written in the 1920s or 30s. “If You Want to Write.” 

I immediately googled Brenda and found the following info on — yes — Wikipedia:

Ueland published two books during her life. The first was If You Want to Write: a Book about Art, Independence and Spirit, first published in 1938. In this book, she shares her philosophies on writing and life in general. She stresses the idea that “Everyone is talented, original, and has something important to say.” Drawing heavily on the work and influence of William Blake, she suggests that writers should “Try to discover your true, honest, un-theoretical self.” She sums up her book with 12 points to keep in mind while writing. Carl Sandburg called If You Want to Write “the best book ever written on how to write.”

Her second book was an autobiography entitled Me: A Memoir, published in 1939. In it she writes about her childhood, time in college, her life in Greenwich Village, and love affairs, among other topics. She tells of her affair with Raoul Hendricson, an anarchist who eventually left her for Isadora Duncan. This book was reprinted in 1994. Libby Larsen composed a wonderful song cycle using texts from this memoir.

Thanks for the tip, Marta… “If You Want to Write” is on its way from  I would have ordered both her books but “Me: A Memoir” is too darn expensive for my present financial situation.


And finally, Brenda reunited me with…


DOROTHEA BRANDE Becoming a Writer

(couldn’t find a picture of Dorothea — her book cover will have to do)

As soon as I saw that Brenda’s book was published in the 30s, I remembered another book that was also published in the 30s: “Becoming a Writer,” by Dorothea Brande.

I bought that book in 1993 (I always jot down the purchase date inside the cover), but to be honest with you, I don’t remember reading it. And after flipping through the 186 pages, I admit I find it boring. Still, here’s the first exercise, page 58:

You are near a door. When you come to the end of this chapter put the book aside, get up, and go through that door. From the moment you stand on the threshold turn yourself into your own object of attention. What do you look like, standing there? How do you walk? What, if you knew nothing about yourself, could be gathered of you, your character, your background, your purpose just there at just that minute? If there are people in the room whom you must greet, how do you greet them? How do your attitudes to them vary? Do you give any overt sign that you are fonder of one, or more aware of one, than of the rest?

There is no deep, dark, esoteric purpose behind this exercise. It is a primer lesson in considering oneself objectively, and should be dismissed from your mind when you have learned what you can from it. Another time try sitting at ease and — using no gestures at all — tell yourself step by step how you comb your hair. (You will find it harder than you think.) Again, follow yourself at any small routine task. A little later take an episode of the day before; see yourself going up to it and coming away from it; and the episode itself as it might have looked to a stranger. At still another time think how you might have looked if you could follow yourself all day long from a little height. Use the fiction maker’s eye on yourself to see how you would have appeared when you went in and out of houses, up streets and into stores, and back home at the end of the day.



There you have it — three fabulous women linked together by one burning passion:  writing.


Dorothea passed away in 1948; Brenda, in 1985.
Thank your lucky stars Marta is ALIVE.
Oh yeah!

P.S.: I’ll be reading “If You Want to Write” as soon as it arrives. Stay tuned for my book review.

June 23, 2012

things i don’t do anymore (5)

I don’t wear high heels.

For the better part of the 80s and 90s, I wore high heels almost every waking hour of the day and night. I even went through a rather insane period — my “I’m too sexy for winter” phase — where I wore my high heels in the snow and the freezing cold, adding leggings and leg warmers over my hose.

What follows may not be the best photograph (I think it’s cool) but it’s the only one I have which immortalizes my favourite pair of high heel shoes.


The pic was taken in December 1987 by my then-boyfriend Gary.

Gary was 28, I was 37. We had met in a bar earlier that year and we were getting ready to leave on a road trip to Florida (thus the new shoes), an exciting 43-hour bus ride all the way down to Riviera Beach to visit my brother, my darling André who was stuck there in drydock renovating his antique jewel of a sailboat.

That was one weird trip.

All this to say that I don’t wear high heels anymore.
I stopped wearing them somewhere in 1999…
around the time I started shaving my head.

That’s it.

P.S.: Making a cameo appearance in today’s story is my cutie pie son Vincent who is now 33 years old and still a cutie pie.


June 20, 2012

i lied. and the elephant haunting goes on.

Posted in drawings, quotes, whatever

I was washing the dishes, last night, when pieces of my past came flying across my mind… chunks of the 80s with their booze- and drug-induced public displays of loud ugly cries.

That’s when I realized I hadn’t ALWAYS put on a happy face. So this means I lied in monday’s blog post — bad Mudd.

On a happier note, I went back to a passion of mine: filling my drawings with hundreds of dots and lines. It requires time, patience, concentration; it becomes meditation.

ELEPHANT Nellie La Sassy drawing by MUDD LAVOIE

This is Nellie La Sassy, Ellie La Sassy’s twin sister.

Nellie channels Mae West.
If you listen closely, you can hear her whisper:
“When I’m good, I’m very good. When I’m bad, I’m better.”

Which one do you prefer, Ellie or Nellie? 


June 18, 2012

on being a clown haunted by elephants

Posted in drawings, road trip

I made my coming out, saturday, by acknowledging that for me too, life isn’t always yabba dabba doo.

That was quite a relief.

You know what they say about clowns: they’re often very sad people. I won’t go as far as saying this is the case for me… but it’s a fact that I’ve been through, and I’m still going through, some pretty tough times, and through all the tough times, I automatically put on a happy face. Underneath the mask, though, I’m slowly decomposing because of how hard it is to keep going.

There’s a reward for this: I’ve developed a huMONGous sense of humour — thank you, Life!

Now that my cards are on the table — including the jokers — it’ll be easier for me to share my highs AND my lows. After all, I intended this blog to be a sort of road trip… I titled it *destination happiness*… so in order to be honest with you, I can’t pretend I never get flat tires or run out of gas.

As for the elephants, they’ve been haunting me for months. I see them everywhere on the wild wild web, people talk about them for all sorts of reasons, and now they keep popping up in my dreams.

It was time I got them out of my system…

ELEPHANT Ellie La Sassy MUDD drawing

Here is Ellie La Sassy.

Liberated from the confines of my mind,
Ellie says she’s happy to meet you.


P.S. #1: My grandson REALLY liked his birthday card — yay!

P.S. #2: The last person to mention elephants was Rachel — Ellie is for you, girl 😉