Monday, April 7, 2014

Article in The Deseret News

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865600412/The-potters-hands-Utah-artist

I was contacted a few weeks ago by a writer for The Deseret News, Morgan Jacobsen, who asked for an interview. His wife and mother-in-law had reportedly gotten into my books and suggested to Morgan that I might have an interesting story. I hope it was. I feel like he did a great job.

I am just finishing up some rewrites and plowing forward with three new stories, while trying to get some pots made for my Mother's Day Open House, May 8,9, 10. More information will follow, but I wanted to get this posted for anyone who might be interested.

Cheers

Monday, March 10, 2014

I Want To Move To Niederbipp



For the last two months, I have been visiting Niederbipp most everyday as I have been editing the first book again and working on a new Niederbippp book. It has been a great place to visit. Maybe I need to do this once a year.

I thought I was done with Niederbipp when I finished Becoming Isaac 2 1/2 years ago, but there is a certain matchmaker who lives on the outskirts of Niederbipp who had been whispering in my ear for many months now. I am making no promises when that story will be written, but it may turn out to be sooner than later.

I turned down an offer to participate in Art and Soup this year so I could focus on writing. I planned on applying to the Utah Arts Festival which I have participated in for many years, but on Friday when I went to apply, I found out I was too late. I missed the deadline to apply by less than 24 hours! So, I didn't plan on it, but that just opened up a whole bunch of time as I usually spend a good six weeks or more getting ready for that. I would have normally freaked out about this, but I have been praying for years to have more time to write, and I can't be too upset when the universe conspires to help me make that time.

I have entertained a few book clubs here at our home lately, and I would like to just remind folks that we do that from time to time. If you are interested, give me a call. 801-883-0146. I am also speaking to book clubs and other groups at least once a week in other people's homes and events. (Last week I spoke three times.) This really works out best for me if I can bring my pots and books and make them available for purchase. I don't charge for most visits, but making my wares available helps to cover my time and travel costs. I have also been presenting a power point about creativity and the inspiration that turned into my newest book, Put A Cherry On Top. Let me know if you would like to hear more.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Niederbipp Revisited

First off, Happy New Year! I am excited for 2014.
I have never been a goal setter, mainly because I fear failure, but also because I fear missing out on the random bits of magic that happen on the trail that may be missed if I am too focused on a distant goal. So, my alternative has long been to make sure I am anxiously engaged in a good cause, all the time, and then everything just seems to fall into place, where and when it is supposed to. I have found that if I will Proceed as the way opens, things always work out.
I mentioned last year that I have found a literary agent who wants to represent me with the Niederbipp Books. She felt like the first book lagged a little and could be polished up, so I got started last September with cleaning it up in an effort to speed it up. I hoped to be able to do that, finish Put a Cherry On Top, make pots for my open house, and have time to sleep. I hate to admit it, but I was completely delusional. Something had to give. So, worried about making pots and having a book for people at Christmas, and I set aside my editing for a while. The day after Christmas, I picked it back up and have been working on it, here and there, through the Holidays/School break. The kids went back to school today and I buckled down.
It's interesting to me, reading through Remembering Isaac now, nearly five years since it was first printed. I have learned a lot about writing and punctuation and feel like I have found my voice, where before I was trying to fake it, or at least figure it out. I shake my head at some of the sentence structure and wonder what the heck I was thinking. And then I remember what I was thinking—that it had been 11 years since I had started writing and I had written it a least a dozen times, and that I was trying to hold onto pet sentences that really should have been tossed. I loved the story back then, and now, after working and reworking some of the chapters, I love it even more. Like my agent said, "The other books read so much faster, but in Remembering, I see Ben Behunin learning how to write." She nailed it of course. I wasn't a writer. I am becoming a writer. I'm not sure you can be a writer without  the journey to get there. And even then you may forever be embarrassed with what you put out there—that baby of yours  may in fact be a very ugly baby.
But I am enjoying this process of revisiting Niederbipp. I have come upon several spots already that I have had to remember the inspiration that came to me to write what I did, when I did, not knowing that it would be important two books and a thousand pages later. It has made me grateful I was humble enough to listen, and has left me hoping I am humble enough to keep listening.
And so I don't have any goals for 2014, but I'm busy, trying to keep anxiously engaged in a good cause; trying to be ready to proceed as the way opens. I have faith it will, and am ready to admit that it may not be in any direction I have previously considered. In the meantime, I will work and wait, and be happy.
I received an anonymous gift for Christmas. Some nice reader, upon hearing in my annual newsletter that I suffer from seasonal depression, sent me a SunTorch, light therapy. I used it for the first time today after feeling like the gray of January was ganging up on me. I am not sure how much different I feel after one session, but I will keep on keepin' on. If you are reading this and are the anonymous giver of this gift, thank you. I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness. I will keep you posted.
Cheers to 2014. Viva Niederbipp!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Great Kick-off, Two Open Houses Left

Despite the inclement weather all around us, Saturday was a great launch for the new book. We had a nice, manageable turnout, which is rather unusual, but those who made it said they drove through snow to get here. It was a Saturday                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                like this last one which first convinced us several years ago that we needed to do three weeks in a row instead of just two.
The balmy weather on this coming Saturday (expected to reach 41 degrees) will be a great day to visit the studio and/or stroll through our home. We invite you to come and visit Niederbipp. I have been working hard to get more work done for Saturday, in between visits from customers and friends who don't like crowds. If you are one of these, give me a call, 801-883-0146, and come and see me during the week.
I have already heard from many people who have loved the new book. And every day this week, people I saw last weekend have returned to get additional copies of the new book, explaining they know someone who needs its message. I printed 3000 copies of this new book, Put a Cherry On Top, but they're going fast. And when you buy them directly from me, you get a free pack of crayons! Yeah, that's right, because the book is part coloring book. I also have copies of my other five books available for your gift giving needs. Come and visit. I'd love to see you.
Wild Rooster Artworks
1150 East 800 South
Salt Lake City
10am-5pm
December 14 & 21 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Open House, This Weekend


I have been a firing fool lately, firing the kiln three times this week already, and plan to do two more before Saturday. I'd like to invite to you attend the Studio Sale/Book Launch/Home Tour.

Wild Rooster Artworks

1150 East 800 South

Salt Lake City, Utah

December 7th, 14th and 21st

10-5pm Each Saturday


If you have seen the house and just want to come for a book or for pottery, I am open during the week too. Just give me a call to give me a heads up. 801-883-0146. Looking forward to seeing you and showing you my new book. The books are now available on Amazon for those of you who aren't close to Salt Lake. Cheers.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Book! Put a Cherry On Top ...Available Dec 7

It has been several months since I have updated my blog, and the main reason for that is that I have been frantically trying to finish my newest book, Put A Cherry On Top. Today, it was officially sent to the printer, and with any luck, I will have the book available at my

Holiday Open House and Home Tour
 December 7,14, 21
 1150 East 800 South
10-5 each Saturday

If you are just interested in pots or books, come during the week as well. Just call first to make sure I am around. 

I am super excited about "Put A Cherry On Top: The secrets of creating an Artful Life (at least the ones I've learned in my first 40 years) Yeah, I know, long subtitle. This book itself is a work of art. All the left hand pages are filled with pictures and quotes, and it is a coloring book, (even comes with a pack of crayons), where you will be encouraged to color outside the lines. The right hand pages are filled with these secrets, encouraging the reader to think outside the box, open your life to possibility and live the dream. As a full time artist for the past 17 years, I like to think I know a little bit about those things. It is filled with optimistic quotes, encouraging everyone to make the ordinary into the extraordinary by giving life a little bit extra. It is a book for people of all ages, a book for people who want to believe the world is round. I will be following up with a picture of the cover as soon as it is done. 

So, although it may appear that I have been a slacker, in reality I have been busting my butt to get this done. Come and see me in December. Pick up a book, or a pot, and tour the house. We have added a few things since last year. See you soon.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to Niederbipp

It's been a while since I have written. This was the first summer in perhaps my whole life where I feel like I actually had a summer vacation, time to spend with the kids, some good trips, some real down time. So much so that I am wondering how to get back to work. I have to. I have shows coming up and people wanting pots, and books wanting to be written. I spent some good time writing this summer too. But it's not enough to have a book ready by Christmas. Bummer. I am actually going to be spending some time working on the Niederbipp books again, getting them ready to find a national publisher. I have learned some things about writing over the past few books and I need to create a cleaner, better manuscript to send to the national publisher. I have some help. After casting my bread upon the waters, considering the lilies, and all that, I feel excited to have someone to help me move forward and hopefully open the door for many, many more books to come. I cannot go through the day without dozens of characters dancing around in my head, begging for their stories to be told. I am excited to get moving on those too, but I am feeling more and more that it is important to stop and build a solid foundation before I build any higher. Sorry to those of you who are waiting patiently for the next book. I hope it won't be forever, but after running crazy for the last several years, I feel like its time to stop long enough to make sense of all the stuff that has happened and plan the road ahead. This is going to be good. I can already feel it.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mother's Day Open House May 9-11--Just in time to save your Bacon!


A friend asked me on Sunday how the writing was going. I was sad to report that it wasn't going at all. I have done little but make pottery night and day for the last few months. I've got a lot of pottery to show for it, but the stories are working on me hard, screaming sometimes to get out. I am anxious to get to it.

But first, let me announce our Annual Mother's Day Extravaganza
Studio Sale and Home Tour
May 9, 10, 11, 2013
10 am -5pm Daily
1150 East 800 South Salt Lake City, Utah
Books, Pottery, Yard Art, a ride on the Zipline of Happiness, a tour of our crazy home!

If you haven't been here in the last year, you haven't been here. I have been working on my stairs in the studio, covering them with tile, and I also hope to have Isaac's Bench done in time for the open house. I've got a lot to do. I wish my body didn't get tired because there is so much more I would like to do. For now, sleep is calling me and I must yield. Hope to see you on Mother's Day Weekend.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spring in the Valley of Awesomeness.

I usually experience seasonal funks, but this year has been especially bad. I think part of it was because we spent a month in Newport Beach and came home to snow, low temps, and frozen pipes. I have not felt like writing, even though the muses have been singing in my ear. I have not been super excited about making pots even though I have boatloads of ideas. I have not felt like breathing, even though I am still in need of oxygen. I have not felt like sending query letters to agents even though I know that is really the only way to find one. I have been in a funky, non-motivated state for the way too long. But that is beginning to change. Two weeks ago, I sent out my first 10 query letters. I have already received 4 rejections which hurt a lot less than I imagined. I am refining my letter and plan to send more soon. But my big break came on Saturday. I needed to get some work done in the studio, and was bummed because it was the first really nice day in about 400 days, or so it seemed. Realizing I couldn't go hiking and get my work done, I opted for a happy hybrid. I opened the garage door for the first time in 6 months and let the sunshine in. It was awesome. I was productive and motivated and it felt so ding-dang good, I actually found myself feeling happy. I should be happy. I have a lot to be happy about. And when the sun shines, I tend to recognize it more. Yay for sun!
Being away from writing for the last few weeks has made me rusty. I tried to get back to it today and though I know where the story wants to go after thinking about it everyday for the past few weeks, I wrote a whopping two paragraphs in about three hours. I know I need to give this more of my attention. I am still dealing with the old fears that have been proven ridiculous over and over again, but still I have a hard time setting aside the time to write when there are pots to make and shows to get ready for, and and and..... My goal was to have a new book for release at Christmas, and I still have lots of time, but I know that if I don't write everyday, it won't happen. I hope the sunshine will help with the motivation. Living on the south side of my street, my front yard is still filled with snow, but the piles around the yard are getting smaller and my hope is getting bigger, and life is beginning to look up. I know I am solar powered. Never has that been more clear to me as it has this year.
I am including a picture I took while in Watts earlier this year. My new book is set there and I am surrounding myself with the pictures to keep me motivated. I know it is still early yet, but I wanted to be the first to wish you a happy spring. It's gonna be awesome!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Calling all Agents!

This past month has been an interesting one. Since returning from sunny California to frozen Salt Lake City, I have been in the process of selecting a literary agent. Nearly four years ago when my first book, Remembering Isaac was nearing completion, I considered finding an agent to help me launch it to the world. But reasoning that no agent or publisher would be interested in an unproven author, I decided to self-publish instead and see how it would be received. Discovering Isaac followed nine months later, and Becoming Isaac, nine months after that. To date, I have sold more than 28,000 copies of the Niederbipp books, most of them through word of mouth, from people like you who have read the books and told their friends and book groups about them. I have spoken to more than 180 book groups over the last few years. It has been an inspiring, exhausting journey. I have met thousands of people I never would have met and been invited into homes I never would have entered. Isaac, for so many of us, has come alive—a living, breathing, wonderful old potter who not only shaped the village of Niederbipp, but also each of us who has learned to love him. Thank you for sharing Isaac with those you love. Thank you for spreading Niederbipp. Thank you for believing in me and this story. It has been touching to hear from you and your experiences with Isaac and the characters of Niederbipp.

As much fun as this has been, I feel like the time has come to find an agent who can help me spread Niederbipp beyond the Wasatch Front. This morning, I sent out my first ten query letters to agents. This process is normally long and depressing, from all I have heard and read, but I feel confident, with the track record of these books, that someone will be interested and want to know more.

I have many more books to write and I want to get back to writing. I think I will always make pottery. It is in the quiet studio, in the middle of creation, that the voices of Niederbipp and Borrowing Fire have spoken to me. I don't know if I could ever separate my writing from my physically creative art, but I know I want to be writing more than I have been. I got a great start on the new book while in California, but since being home, I have done little but make pottery and search for potential agents. I need to get back to writing and work on the other stories that continue to sing in my head, begging to be written. I feel like finding an agent and selling my books to a big publisher is the only way I can continue to do this. I feel like the stories I have written, and the stories I have yet to write can help shed a little light and joy in our sometimes dark world. I am anxious to find an agent who can help me spread the happiness.

 I want to thank all my readers and everyone who has taken it upon themselves to be my promoters. Without you, Niederbipp would still be an dream and Isaac would be stuck in a box, unable to breathe. I am convinced that there is no such thing as a self-made man. I have struggled for years with the stories I have written, but without you, without all the good things you have said about my books, I never could have done what I have done. 28,000 books is huge. But I feel like the story is just beginning and I look forward to the ride. Thank you for your part in making this a reality.

If you know any agents who might be interested in my books, I would love to hear from you. Otherwise, please cross your fingers and send out good energy for me, the books, and the agents who will be receiving my query letters.
Viva Niederbipp!

I should also mention that I have had several book clubs come to my home and studio for a book club field trips. I am open to this. We have hosted several book group discussions in our living room. It makes the experience even more real. If you are interested in coming here with your book group, or having me attend your gathering to share the story behind the story, please give me a call. My number is in the back of the books. I look forward to hearing from you. Cheers, Ben