Saturday, June 23, 2012


MOTHER AND ME (Art by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah PILGRIMS! Hallelujah for LOVE, LIFE, and NURTURANCE! On my journey, I have discovered that I must develop a resourceful inner self, one that addresses and heals wounds acquired while  traveling in the UNKNOWN

Over the years, I have created a collection of "MOTHER AND ME" drawings, some of which I have shared on this blog. These are images near and dear to my heart, as they are a visual language of my cultivation of an internalized CARETAKER, a psychological mother, one who is gentle, affectionate, and wise.

The mother I have given birth to has stars for hair and always wears pink nightgowns. Often her nightgowns have supportive statements proclaiming the love she has for her daughter. 

The image I have created today is a result of several ambitions: 

1) To execute my daily practice of drawing

2) To honor a desire to begin a new book, a Hallelujah Truth generated one (possibly one called "Mother and Me")

3) To remember and honor lessons learned about life.

When you get hurt, experience the hurt. Really hurt! Jump up and down and say, "ouch." Feel the ouch, and validate your sense of being hurt. By saying and feeling the OUCH,  you can begin to heal and leave the hurt behind! Resistance to feeling may keep the hurt around and hurt you more. Suffer joyously, dancing the ouch and then let go! Weeeeeeeee.............

Blog Dedication to Judith Barber
Thanks Judith for seeing the light and sharing your culminated joy with me! Weeeeeeeeeeeeee......

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! Soul Blog with me about your internalized mother and how you nurture yourself and get over hurts! Do you say, "Ouch"?

Friday, June 22, 2012


Hallelujah for the CREATIVE PROCESS and the empowerment that accompanies the JOURNEY we call LIFE. Whenever we are authentically engaged in expressing the TRUTH within ourselves, we are enlarged. And our LARGESSE impacts others positively! Today, I am celebrating my own ENLARGEMENT resulting from my 15 minutes of creativity every day! 

ENLARGEMENT. EMPOWERMENT. A MAGNIFICENT WAY OF BEING. In this photo, I am holding an enlargement of my map of Maria's journey that I created for the children's book, "The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia," by Ron Shaklee.  The original map is 14" x 15" and this blueprint enlargement is 36" x 40".  This enlargement expresses my elation at completing the illustrations for this project with Ron and excitement at seeing the book go to press!

As the book, "The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia," goes to press, I have succeeded in completing a four year project! Ron Shaklee, Maria's author, musician, professor, geographer, has worked long hours getting the manuscript-- with 30 plus illustrations of mine--ready to be published. We are ready to give birth! And yours truly, Hallelujah Truth, is manifesting 4 years of plunging into morning creativity!

Thanks to a fellow ACNer, Elise Helfer, I learned about Kinko's blueprint enlarger! I am happily blown away by the way my black-and-white pen and ink image looks on this large scale. Last night, I brought this ENLARGEMENT to the quarter completion meeting of the Artist Conference Network. I answered a series of questions about my work, investigating my own authority on the matter. This is what I proclaimed:

The Maria the Hutia project helped me break down barriers between my everyday life of being an ESL teacher at Georgia Tech and the world of imagination. These two realms are not separate for me any more. The duration of this project and the creative practice I ensued succeeded in establishing a magnificent continuous flow of being. My life is not divided now. I am what I am--A SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM in all aspects of my life. I seek TRUTH and AUTHENTICITY.

Celebrate with me today my fellow SOJOURNERS! Howl your TRUTH, and please have some of my AUTHENTICITY! Life is a PARTY with many tasty morsels and large decorated cakes! Clowns and giraffes too, as well as conga dancing and tango! HURRAY for LIFE'S CELEBRATIONS!

That's a party for Coffee with Hallelujah! Soul Blog with me and share your celebrations!

At the Artist Conference Network (ACN) completion meeting last night, we remembered Beverly Cassell, founder of ACN, who died on June 10, 2012. It was the first completion meeting of ours since she died, and we grieve for the loss of such a great generous spirit who has impacted so many creative lives. Her work will continue to generate imagination and joy. Thank you Beverly. Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012



MY SPIRITUAL ART JOURNEY STARTED IN 2009.  Introducing Pilgrim Hallelujah Truth with the emergence of her new baby self which later transformed into images of Wandjina. Also present is my dear feline companion Misha, who always reminded me to create joyfully and with ease like a cat napping. (All art by Hallelujah Truth)

Hallelujah for TIME, SELF-KNOWLEDGE, and EXPANSION of the SOUL! Since I started this blog, Coffee with Hallelujah, to focus on 15 minutes of creativity every day (no matter what), I have become quite familiar with the ROOTS of my BEING. The process over time has become my JOURNEY as a SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM. Today, I want to reflect on one aspect of this pilgrimage--the ROOTS of BEING, all the mesh of me and the environment I used to inhabit.

Back in the summer of 2009, just around this time, I surrendered to my fear, the fear that held me back and kept me stuck in the elemental ooze of doubt and worry. I recognized who I was--a burned-out workaholic English as a Second Language teacher dreaming of being an artist. I acknowledged that because I had created this way of being, I could also go to the roots, the source, and make a new way of being--based on NOTHING.

The word NOTHING has power and magic in it! From ZERO, or even the absence of ZERO, anything and EVERYTHING is possible. Using my active imagination with the assistance of my creativity coach, Lesly Fredman, I imagined the following scenario:

I see my gigantic self ROOTED in the muck of my existence--over worked, stressed out, unhappy, and fearful of striving for fulfillment as an artist. My tree-root legs are submerged in a primordial ooze, and I am surrounded by dark waters of a deep ancient lake. Lesly, a miniscule figure, appears on the lake in a tiny row boat and her human voice from far below me asks, "Do you want FREEDOM?" (pause to reflect)
HOW MUCH DOES FREEDOM COST? I was very concerned with how much it would cost to free me from my rootedness in the primordial muck of my dissatisfaction. When Lesly told me it would cost a priceless amount, I didn't want to do it. However, she emphasized that the 3 trillion dollars could be paid "whenever." Whenever? When is that! Ha ha, ho ho, the mystery of the unknown and the magic of all things alchemical!

REFLECTION on the question, "Do you want FREEDOM?"
It is of my opinion and experience that change, even change for the good, is often difficult to enact. We all want FREEDOM from pain, FREEDOM to grow, and FREEDOM to BE what we want. Yet, in some way, we are attached to the familiarity of pain and agony. We know how to function or dis-function in that mucky, icky existence. Besides, we ask, "What changes do I make? And what if the changes are worse than the current situation?" (continue to active imagination scenario)

Do I want FREEDOM? I hesitated. I knew I wanted something else but what and how? Yes, I wanted FREEDOM. Yes, I desired a new way of BEING based on nothing, but I had to deal with the ROOTS of pain and agony anchoring me in the familiar ooze! What could the remedy be?

Using active imagination along with me, Lesly calls in the MUD ROBOTS. They materialize from the river banks like huge TRANSFORMERS and dive down to cut me FREE from the old way of BEING. Surprise! The process of severing the roots tickles! Then I begin floating! Buoyant that I am no longer a giantess but am Lesly's size, I climb into her rescue boat tired but joyous! Cold and shivering, I swaddle myself in a blanket like a newborn baby. The boat moves effortlessly through the waters. (end of active imagination)


To BE and BECOME the SOUL you want to BE, you need to fully experience WHO you ARE now. Go to the ROOTS of your BEING. Who are you? What is preventing you from harvesting the ripe apples from your tree of life? 

In order for me to make significant life changes, I had to fully accept my long-lived stuckness. I relaxed into being "stuck amuck," by visualizing myself as a giantess deeply rooted and immovable. 

Once you know and accept who you ARE, revel in it because you are bidding that old self good-bye.  After farewells to the old way of being, begin the alchemical process of transformation! Use your active imagination to create scenarios that will LIBERATE you and prepare you for the SOUL WORK you want to do. 

The JOURNEY of a SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM takes time--a LIFE TIME. I encourage and support your JOURNEY dear fellow SOJOURNER. Share your ROOTS of BEING with me by SOUL BLOGGING at Coffee with Hallelujah!

I am

Monday, June 18, 2012


GINKGO DREAM NECKLACE (Art by Hallelujah Truth)

Hallelujah for dream memory and the vivid images produced while sleeping. (If you are not having memorable dreams, try drinking ginkgo tea! It's really a steam engine for fueling dreams!) I believe in drawing every day no matter what. Judgement is suspended.  "Not good, not bad, just is," I repeat to myself.

I begin my image making with coffee while my mind is still close to the magic of the subconscious.

Two nights ago, I had my ginkgo necklace dream. In this dream, I was wearing a large ornamental necklace. Although I can't remember the details of the pendants on the necklace, its symbols resonated with my sense of self and felt more like an outer permanent physical fringe of my inner being. It was as if I were a frilled lizard or triceratops and my inner workings, my heart's blood would pour out into my necklace!

However, it was disturbing that in my dream world, when I entered the "big house," I was required to remove my ginkgo dream necklace. I felt naked and barren, immediately experiencing a loss of energy. What had happened to the feel of permanence?

The dream continues and certainly has meaning to me, but might bore you dear Pilgrims! Yet I feel summoned to embrace and celebrate my gingko dream necklace, which was the focus of my drawing for two consecutive mornings. The necklace contains an important message for me!

Coffee with Hallelujah admonishes:  Honor your dream images in any way that you can.  When your SOUL continues speaking to you in a sustainable image after waking, LOOK and LISTEN. By merging our conscious and subconscious selves, we become healthier human BEINGS!

May all of you have a good deep sleep with meaningful dreams and a fine awakening. Try drinking your own cup of gingko tea! Hallelujah!

This is what one of my heroines, Natalie Goldberg, says
“We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us..."

Saturday, June 16, 2012


CHOOSING STARLIGHT. (Art by Hallelujah Truth)

We can choose to make our life STARLIGHT (magical authentic experience of the SOUL) or STARDUST (mundane existence, remnant of spirit). As clouds of patchouli incense surround me during my morning coffee, I am inspired to draw an important image of Hallelujah Truth. Reflecting on the movie, Stardust, that I saw last night (June 14) at the Plaza Theatre in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia, I choose to place Hallelujah Truth in the magic-full world of faeries (STARLIGHT), where a WALL divides her from the magic-less human domain (STARDUST).

Mythic Imagination sponsored the viewing and discussion of this 2007 movie, Stardust. And it was how the organization advertised the movie that made me feel compelled to see it (capitalization of significant words by me):

Written by Neil Gaiman and directed by Matthew Vaughn, Stardust is the tale of a FALLEN STAR who crashes into an otherworldly kingdom and inflames a diverse crew of SEEKERS with a diverse group of desires, which they all think can be fulfilled by capturing her. They want the STAR for love, power, eternal youth, and riches-but what does the STAR want? Damaged by her fall, the STAR is in terrible danger.

Dear PILGRIMS, I believe we are all STARS. And if we seek the light from others, it is only what we have lost from ourselves. The discussion after the movie with the president of Mythic Imagination and Lisa Stock, a film writer, actress, and producer of film in the mythic arts, had us all thinking about our psyches and dreamtime. Pirates, witches, kings and queens, and stars—characters in the Stardust—also make up our psyches. We are everything all at once. It is our JOURNEY to meet these characters in our own dreamtime and to learn more about ourselves.

When we are burned out from our daily human existence, it is our responsibility to renew ourselves, our SPIRITS, our STARLIGHT by listening to and investigating our DREAMS and celebrating and using our imaginations! We can manifest the world we live in. Hallelujah!

That’s Coffee with Hallelujah! Let me know about the VISIONS you have in your DREAMS and how you go about generating your STARLIGHT. Good-bye for now my dear STARS!

Based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, Stardust was published initially as a graphic novel with extravagantly beautiful illustrations by American artist Charles Vess. If seeking inspiration, I suggest you explore Vess’s images on the Internet. I plan to buy the book!

SEEKING STARLIGHT FROM BEHIND THE WALL. I drew this image with the desire to place myself in another dimension while living in Decatur, Georgia, USA. I wanted to be STARLIGHT standing at the border between SLEEPING and WAKING, DREAMING and EMPTINESS. How satisfying it is to BE in the realm of IMAGINATION, to be a STAR. I believe we can all make a conscious choice to feel and emanate our SPIRITUAL LIGHT. It is acknowledging the presence of the barrier, the wall, and making the decision to cross over. Then our lives become an acknowledged series of LEAVING and RETURNING. And that is the JOURNEY of the SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM.

In this image of STARLIGHT HALLELUJAH, I have placed birdmen as keepers of the dream, helping Hallelujah stay in the realm of creativity. The birdman is based on an image I created to honor the death of a beloved friend two years ago (see this blog). The black creature at the bottom of the image is a mystery to me. It represents the unknown and is inspired by a white creature I've seen in Australian Aboriginal cave paintings.


A BIRTHDAY DEDICATION. This blog entry is dedicated to my mother, Bonney Schowalter, who is celebrating her 84 birthday this June 18, 2012! Happy birthday mother! I love you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


MARIA THE HUTIA'S JOURNEY.  Maria the hutia, a small brown furry rodent, rides the back of Myrtle the sea turtle. Maria shares the ride with Launa, the iguana. Amber, the long-tailed tropic bird flies overhead with Maret and Garret, Bahamian parrots. Art by Hallelujah Truth

Hallelujah for JOURNEY, for the hills and valleys that LIFE graciously gives us so that we may THRIVE as we go down under submerged in darkness and discover ways to climb to its exhilarating sunlit peaks. These travails and triumphs are the PILGRIM’S JOURNEY, on which disappointment and failure play just as an important role as joy and success in LEARNING. Yet in the yin-and-yang balance, there is such great FUN in celebrating the SUCCESS. I write to you today at the beginning of June 2012 from the MOUNTAIN TOP of my SOUL. Hallelujah!

I have just SUCCESSFULLY completed 29 illustrations for a children’s book written by Ron Shaklee to teach the children of San Salvador, Bahamas, about the endangerment of their precious habitat through the journeys of the little known and almost extinct Bahamian hutia. These children of San Salvador are the future stewards of the farthest island on the Bahamian platform. It is approximately 180 miles from Nassau, one of the Bahamian islands most visited by tourists.
THE MAP OF MARIA THE HUTIA'S JOURNEY. This map of Maria's journey is the very last image for Ron Shaklee's story, "The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia." It is the culmination of my achievement in learning how to draw. Here I celebrate the characters in the book and the feeling of Maria's journey.  Although there are no hutias on San Salvador, I included the island in an inset on the bottom right hand corner of the map. If it weren't for the Gerace Research Centre, which has brought scientists to its shores for the past 30 years, we wouldn't have this educational scientific story. Art by Hallelujah Truth

At its great distance out at sea, San Salvador used to seem remote from the busy world with its commotion of extensive harvesting of marine life, tourism, and pollution. But dear FELLOW PILGRIMS, we are all connected, and the WORLD IS ONE. Even the health and longevity of San Salvador’s coral reefs, sea turtles and fish, bird-nesting grounds, and a nearby cay with a unique species of iguanas are now being threatened by all of this human activity, including the rising ocean temperatures. The coral reefs of San Salvador are dying, the grouper, conch, and crayfish are being harvested at breeding times or before they mature, the endangered turtles are hunted and eaten. Nature’s abundance is limited! The children of San Salvador can learn more about their precious natural environment through stories like Ron Shaklee’s and thus become protectors of it. The equation is simple:

Humans caused the damage; therefore, humans must own up to the responsibility to make amends, to heal the EARTH before it is impossible to do so.


As the illustrator of Maria the hutia’s story, I JOURNEYED with this furry brown rodent  and shared her SOJOURN of loss and recovery. She is swept away by the ocean from her undeveloped island home where her species thrives only to discover that Bahamian hutias are unknown to other animals and do not exist on other islands. Four years ago in 2008, I said, “YES,” to illustrating “The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia,” and proceeded to step away from my CREATIVE HOME, painting in acrylics on wood to an unfamiliar territory of using pencils, micron pens, India ink, gum erasers, photographs, reference books, the internet, and watercolor, tracing, and graphite papers. You could say I, like Maria the hutia, was lost at sea.

At the time that I began to illustrate Maria the hutia, I did not draw. I did not use paper. I did not look outside myself. In fact, as a Georgia visionary folk artist, I painted from my inner visions and night dreams, often finger painting the genesis of my images. From my perspective as an artist who honors and celebrates Jungian archetypes and the exploration of the subconscious, I believed that to realistically “copy” the LIFE surrounding me did not hold value—“Why not take a photograph?,” I would ask. How could I illustrate Ron Shaklee’s story about Maria the hutia with its cast of real life animal characters in economical to publish black and white pen and ink images and still be me, HALLELUJAH TRUTH?
FROM ACRYLIC ON BOARD TO PEN AND WATERCOLOR PENCIL ON PAPER.  I made the decision to redo the cover art. The painting in front of me is the very first image of Maria the Hutia's journey that I made 4 years ago. This photo shows that I used it for inspiration to "color" the black and white image I had created in pen.  This second piece of art for the cover is the second only Maria image that I have put in color. (photo by Chiboogamoo)

THE NEW PROCESS. Before Maria the Hutia, I would see an image in mind and feel it in my heart and begin painting with my fingers. For Maria, I learned to study images from photos, books, and the internet. I made pencil drawings and worked with them to create designs that resonated with my mystical sense of balance and beauty. Then, using graphite paper, I transferred the image onto paper. Finally, I used micron pens, usually a size 5 tip, to make the image permanent, along with India ink. (photo by Chiboogamoo)

Just like Maria the hutia, as I TRAVELED away from the familiar, I had to engage the help of others to show me how to find my way HOME. Without the use of a map and only through exploration and the help of Myrtle the sea turtle, Amber the long-tailed tropicbird, Launa the iguana and others did Maria the hutia succeed in returning home. As a visionary artist operating as an illustrator, there was no map for me either. I wanted to CREATE from a CENTERED HOME PLACE, but there was no pre-existing route. However, there were numerous PEOPLE. That’s right PEOPLE, who appeared magically to assist me whenever in whatever I needed.

Sandy Voegeli showered me with numerous photographs that she had taken as a master diver from San Salvador. Ron Shaklee sent me a list of ideas that he felt would be suitable to illustrate. He suggested the use of pens in varying tip sizes. Jacq Marie Jack spent countless hours with me, providing me with children’s storybooks, books on using pen and ink, books with beguiling patterns, and beloved visual artists. Then when my images were completed in pencil, Jacq Marie counseled me on how to improve their compositions and perspectives, something as a self-taught artist I had little knowledge of. My brilliant companion and husband, Chiboogamoo, who is also a talented artist, assisted me so frequently the placement of a line or the technical aspects of scanning or photoshopping that we have lived Maria’s journey for these four years (Thank you honey!). There were numerous others who offered help and provided encouragement. How SPECTACULAR! How COMFORTING to know that when we PILGRIMS commit to a vision, PROVIDENCE steps in and helps us in unforeseen ways!

SANDY VOEGELI'S PHOTOGRAPAHS. These are a few examples of Sandy's photos that were key in my portraying the characters in Maria's misadventures. Here you see Launa the Iguana, Rupert the Nassau Grouper, and Myrtle the Sea Turtle. 

Ron Shaklee's Sketch of Maria's Journey
JACQ MARIE JACK'S LIBRARY.  Over the four years of working on the illustrations for Maria the Hutia, these books photographed here are a small sample of the books loaned to me by my friend and fellow artist Jacq Marie. Her constant resourcefulness and support kept me buoyant during my JOURNEY INTO THE UNKOWN.

A JOURNEY of four years is coming to an end for me as we prepare to bring “The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia” to press. Maria gets lost. Before she can return home, she must learn how to survive and make friends in the UNKNOWN. This is our MISSION in life dear FELLOW PILGRIMS. During our lives, we get lost many times, but together with others we will find the HOME we are looking for. As a visionary artist, I have expanded my way of BEING. I am now also an illustrator, one who can look outside her inner self at the large lovely world and find kind generous SOULS who will share the JOURNEY with me. Hallelujah!

As I finish SOUL BLOGGING with you today, I have ask:

Can we JOURNEY together to heal the EARTH? Can we explore unmapped avenues to amend the damaged environments and the vanishing sea life?

Anything is possible when we are united in effort. That’s Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me about your JOURNEY. What have you lost and recovered?


Beverly Cassell, founder of the Artist Conference Network (ACN) died on June 10, 2012. This innovative, imaginative artist, who created a national coaching community for the arts, has touched many peoples’ lives deeply and profoundly. She will be missed but not forgotten. Thank you Beverly! Without you, I would have never JOURNEYED this far in my CREATIVE SOJOURN. I would not have illustrated “The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia.” I would not have gained mastery of pen and ink.
Beverly writes about MASTERY in the beginning of our Artist Conference Network handbook:

Some place within us all, aliveness stirs with innocent mischief. In this embarrassingly child-like place resides the source of our authenticity, our uniqueness, our sweetness, our vision, our maximum potential power. As we align our skills with our full creative power and vision, we gain access to mastery. In mastery, the target is hit before the arrow is released.

Beverly! I know you are in the presence of the GREAT WORLD SOUL and gaining mastery in that realm already!

I will close with a quote that Beverly has us read at every Artist Conference Meeting. It is one that I have referred to indirectly in my blog above about how we are supported in our JOURNEYS:

…the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. (from W.H. Murray)

CAT ASSISTANCE. Tao has provided steady support for my artistic endeavors since joining our household in December 2011. Here he supervises the making of the final image, the map of Maria the hutia's journey.

Friday, June 1, 2012

REAL HALLELUJAH TRUTH WITH REAL SPENCER MOON. In March 2012, I got my signed copy of Spencer's memoir, Reel Talk: A Cinemoir, at the Pine Lake Art Salon in Pine Lake, Georgia (and blogged about it here). It wasn't until the end of May that I got a chance to read it, and when I did, I was elated, surprised, challenged, and changed. Most of all, I was deeply impressed by Spencer's heartfelt authenticity. 

Hallelujah for BEING REAL, for honoring the AUTHENTIC SELF and being a CREATIVE SOUL! Spencer Moon courageously accomplishes this worthy objective of AUTHENTICITY and CREATIVITY in his memoir, Reel Talk: A Cinemoir. In 331 pages (with an additional 50 pages in appendices) Spencer interweaves his creative JOURNEY with history, cinema, music, civil rights activism, and the cultural shifts he experienced as an African American man living in Detroit, San Francisco, and Atlanta from the 60’s to the present.
SPENCER MOON AT AGE NINE. Born in Talladega, Alabama in 1948, Spencer was raised by his single mother in Detroit and then went to college at Wayne State University. (Early photos of Spencer Moon are taking from the Facebook page he has established for Reel Talk.)

One thing is very clear when reading Spencer Moon’s PILGRIMAGE—he is a serious SEEKER, one who is unafraid of grappling with the UNKNOWN. His voracious appetite for ideas seems to only compete with his love of humanity. In his memoir, Spencer inserts synopses of the movies he is seeing at each stage of his development. As each page turns, the reader begins to see how his analytical mastications of the movies are fodder that fuels his SENSIBILITIES and AESTHETICS and makes him the man he is. 
1976 SPENCER MOON. A 26-year-old Spencer (center) with Antioch University film classmates in San Francisco.

Having thoroughly explored the African American experience through cinema in the writing of his first two books, Reel Black Talk: A Sourcebook of 50 American Filmmakers and Blacks in Hollywood: Five Favorable Years in Film & Television, in his third book, Reel Talk: A Cinemoir, Spencer allows the reader to see how his extensive and eclectic cinemagraphic experiences have resulted in his becoming a citizen of the world, making him a man who sees beyond the filters of his own race, gender, nationality, and socio-economic background. Spencer Moon is definitely a SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM on a magnificent “LUNAR” JOURNEY.
1982 NATIONAL BLACK MEDIA COALITION/WESTERN REGION MEDIA CONFERENCE. Spencer, who is sitting to the left of the woman speaking, was active in organizations supporting and advancing Black media.

What a privilege it is to peer into someone else’s life and to learn from their unique individual experiences. Spencer opens up his complex intellectual JOURNEY as honestly as he can for his fellow humans’ curious perusal. After reading his book, I am overwhelmed by his veracity and vulnerability. What am I to do with his pulsing heart that he has placed squarely in my hands? How often does someone offer you their TRUTHFULNESS (This honest expression is definitely the goal of yours truly, Hallelujah Truth)? Interestingly, the AUTHENTICITY of his “cinemoir” has generated more questions than I had before I started reading Reel Talk!

 Here are some of them:

1. After having met Spencer in 2009 and reading almost 400 pages of his memoir, I am still left asking, who is Spencer Moon, past, present, and future? Is it possible to grasp an understanding of a complex human being?

2. How can I learn to be more analytical on a social, political, and cultural level when viewing movies? Do I need some kind of structure?

3. How can I get a better understanding of African American cinema? How would that understanding change my perception and relationships of the African Americans I encounter every day here in Atlanta? Or alter my overall comprehension of American culture at large?

4. What movies have been the building blocks of my intellectual and aesthetic foundations? Can I name them and explain their influence?

5. How has the way race and gender is portrayed in the movies impacted what I—a blue-eyed blonde female—think and do?

Those are just some of the questions Spencer’s book has generated, but let’s look at what I do know about Spencer RIGHT NOW after having read his memoir, Reel Talk: A Cinemoir: I know that I trust this man completely. He is sincere, compassionate, and passionate. He backs up what he says with powerful authority.

And I am learning this Spencer’s AUTHENTICITY as his story moves into my own. Read on…


IN THE BEGINNING was the Artist Conference Network (ACN), a coaching community for the arts. I met Spencer Moon when he joined our Atlanta ACN group in 2009. I had been a member since 2002. In this supportive network for artists, we establish goals which drive our creative work.

As a visual artist, my goal at the time Spencer entered our group was to create my art joyfully and naturally with the ease of a “cat napping.” I had grown tired of working “hard” at drawing and painting and wanted to see what it was like to make art resulting from my morning meditations free from judgment and full of acceptance. My mantra became: NOT GOOD. NOT BAD. JUST IS. In conjunction with this goal of effortlessly making art, I developed my ideas about 15 minutes of creativity every day--NO MATTER WHAT—which gave birth to this blog, Coffee With Hallelujah.  

Spencer’s ACN goal was to complete the first draft of Reel Talk: A Cinemoir, which he accomplished in less than two ACN years, which are divided into three goal periods. Then he left us with the theme song, "Happy Trails," from Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and his perfect attendance record of ACN meetings, and he was gone from our coaching community.

IN THE MIDDLE, I saw little of Spencer. He came to art openings to support ACN members including me, and he attended some ACN completion meetings bringing potential new members. But what lingered with me was Spencer’s statement about my art after I had shown it at one of our ACN meetings when he was still a member:

“You should make a movie of your work.”

I found what Spencer said intriguing yet did not pursue what he meant. I let it drop. At the time, you could say, “I didn’t know WHO was talking to me.”

HALLELUJAH TRUTH PRESENTING WORK (MARCH 2012). In my typical fashion when I show my art, I control the amount of time that viewers can spend looking at my work. I like playing around with "ownership" of my images. I don't make the work in order to be applauded or condemned. Instead, I engage in the process of creating the images and sharing them with others in a way to give the the ESSENCE of my SOUL rather than the product emanating from it.

THE LINE UP.  I chose six random pads of watercolors from my morning meditations of Coffee with Hallelujah and presented them at the ACN conference weekend. Here, fellow ACNers dutifully prepare to "flip" at my command!







WELL YOU GET THE IDEA.  I assumed that Spencer had seen the cinemagraphic possibilities for my work through this kind of presentation at other ACN meetings when I had shown my work. I don't know for sure and will have to ask him.

AT THE END OF THE MIDDLE, just as Spencer had supported me and the exhibition of my work, when he was invited to read his newly published autobiography, Reel Talk: A Cinemoir, at the Pine Lake Art Salon, in March 2012, I was there to applaud his accomplishment and get a signed copy. In addition, I decided to blog about this celebratory event, which had me digging more into Spencer’s life and body of work. This task was made easy because in preparation for the release of Reel Talk: A Cinemoir, he had established a website and Facebook page.

In our exchanges surrounding my blog entry about the debut of Reel Talk, Spencer once again encouraged me to make a movie. He emphasized, “You have a facility with images and words. That’s what movies are made from.” These words echoed in my head!

THE END (AND THE BEGINNING OF BEING A FILM MENTEE). The end of March 2012 brought our Atlanta ACN weekend. This is the time of year that we ACN members dig deep and come up with new visions that stir up new CREATIVE goals. With an intake of breath and great courage, I took on the goal of making a HALLELUJAH TRUTH MOVIE. Soon thereafter, I contacted Spencer to inform him of my goal of making a Hallelujah Truth movie and asked him to help me. At our first arranged phone call, he asked me to get out a pen and paper so that he could give me the first two of ten lessons to make a movie…

With JOYFUL GLEE, I discovered that I had miraculously found a MENTOR in SPENCER MOON! This is the BEGINNING of another JOURNEY for Hallelujah and she has found another PILGRIM to SOJOURN with! He is AUTHENTIC and CERTAIN that I can make a film, far more than I am….Hallelujah for taking CREATIVE SOULS into the unknown!

That’s Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me about your JOURNEY and who you are TRAVELING with. What unknowns do you want to EXPLORE! Let’s celebrate and share!