Let me just begin the week by saying : Thank you, first and foremost, for all that is, ever was and ever will be possible…for all that surrounds me.

And thank you for you, wherever you are. I am happy that you are able to read this and create a connection with me that shatters cultural and geographical barriers – we truly are blessed.

No matter where you are or what you do it is our gifts that propel us to excellence. I hope that you have found yours and are using it to its fullest potential. If you are and you are in ‘the gap’ as Deepak Chopra would say, doors will open and continue to open one by one by one and the extent of your success will only be limited by the largess (or lack thereof) of your  thoughts.

I have had people say to me ‘No, I would love to but I can’t do that. You don’t understand. I have a family to support, car/ house to pay for, bills, rent – I could never afford it.’  Today I am here to remind you to stop making excuses – they are borne out of fear. Leave no room for regret in your life, pursue your God-given passion whatever it may be, follow your heart, quit ignoring the song that it sings to you daily or trying to side step its intimate advances and pursue what you love to do.

Now yes, there needs to be a measure of jurisprudence. I am not urging you to quit your job today or tell your husband and kids over dinner that from tomorrow you will be going on a two-year hike across Tibet, but what I am saying is legitimize yourself by letting go of the ‘traps’ that society makes it easy to fall into – like thinking it will never work out  or that there is no market for what you do – and make a bold step, whether it be in six months or a year, towards integrating your passion, what makes you excited about getting up in the morning, in a more significant way into your life. I believe that through this, through more people pursuing their dreams we can build a better world, a world of healing, empathy, compassion and understanding – it is possible.

My commitment to writing and other art forms have brought me from strength to strength – imbuing me with courage and clarity where I thought I had none and setting me on a path that I could never have envisioned for myself, confirming my belief in a higher power that I will not attempt to restrain with words. Writing, making films, drawing, painting, photography, singing, something as simple as cutting an inspiring picture out of a magazine makes me whole. I am happy and down with that for the rest of my physical existence in this realm.

One of the reasons why I endeavoured to set up this space is because I sensed that although people were creating, there was no one giving real and honest feedback on the work, especially with regards to poetry which I know a little about. There are a ton of competitions out there and websites and journals where people submit and  I have seen some really, really bad work in my time and its mainly because no one is giving honest enough feedback to allow people to grow as craftsmen.

I conducted a surprisingly oversubscribed writing workshop, with a focus on poetry, entitled The Magical Mystery Poetry Tour,  in July of 2010 and the success of that workshop and the ongoing growth of its participants unwittingly alerted me to one of my gifts which I will attempt to share within this platform. So send me your work via email or post  it in the comment box. I would be happy to have a look and to gainfully comment. I am not interested in copping ideas – I have more than enough of my own. Ideally, my aim is to create an artistic community where people can be real and honest with each  other – rather than create within a vacuum of ‘me’ –and thereby grow as artists and craftsmen. Because any artist worth his/ her salt knows that art  exists in the tug of war between content and form. That’s where all the fun is; wrangling and battling to find yourself weeks or months or hours later, triumphantly holding the flag with your signature on it, on top of that battlefield where mounds of words lay bleeding (lol – or something like that).

Have a great week.

Mark Jason Welch