Wishes & Obstacles

It is Sunday, a grey and quite cold one.
I have a sore ankle, an inflamed ear and was watching the final episode of season three of
The Handmaid’s Tale, in bed, by 1pm.
Now I have run out of episodes and can’t make myself do any creative work,
which is why I ended up browsing Youtube by 2pm.
I was watching some Ted talks, I really often hope to find a great one, but many are disappointing.
However, I came upon a talk that really made a lot (a lot) of sense to me.
It is called ‘Isolation is the dream killer, not your attitude’ by Barbara Sher.
The title really rang familiar in my (painful) ear, as I am someone who does isolation really well
(I have lived in many isolated corners of the world since some 10 years) and often ponder upon attitude, how it can benefit us people, but also how it can stop us from being who we want to and can be, and so on.
So I watched it. And it was great.
What I learned from it is that by isolation, the speaker, doesn’t refer to living in a field somewhere far from a big city, by isolation she means ‘not asking.’
It means not verbalizing your wishes and dreams, because you believe you wouldn’t be able to realize them due to obstacles.
So the wishes and dreams are silenced and shelved.
But Barbara tells us that, if we instead had shared our wishes and dreams (preferably with strangers) and also named our obstacles, people would have gone out of their way to help us remove the obstacles, in order to help us achieve the wishes and dreams.
It is because, in Barbara’s words, humans are problem solving animals.
We love solving problems, especially those of others!
And she is right! I think she really is right.
This twenty-one minute talk couldn’t have come into my life at a better time either,
because guess what,
I do not ask for help, I do not ask, I never have, even when I know I need it.
I have always been terrified of asking.
Somehow I have it in my head, that asking for help is wrong, bad, a failure, and most of all, inconvenient to the people you are asking to.
Weirdly though, I love it when I myself am called in to solve other people’s problems,
especially when I am in a situation in which I can help solve them.
So why do I never ask for help? Well, for all the reasons I just mentioned, and they are all fear based, because I have never actually tried to ask and therefor I have never been disappointed.
On the other hand though, I have not been helped a lot either, to get me closer to where I’d like to be, because I never asked.
I must add though that there have been people who offered generous help in the past without being asked for it, and for that I am always grateful.
However, there are many things I could use some help and advice with,
there are so many things I would love to do and achieve, but somehow a lot of these things have come to a complete stand still before they even could fit into their infant shoes.
I simply cannot bring these dreams to fruition, because by myself, on my own, I do not have the resources to do so.
They live in my head, have been for years, like little ghosts tapping quietly on the walls of my mind, asking to be given some flesh, some skin, some hair, and maybe some nice clothes and a bit of chocolate.
Now the fun part is, that I am going to put Barbara’s theory to the test!
Here is a small list of my wishes and dreams, including my obstacles.
If you have come this far, thank you for reading all this, and also:
you may be someone with one of the keys I need in overcoming some of these obstacles.
And if you are, then I would be very grateful to hear from you!
you can email me at: anouk@pantovola.com

Now here we go!


1 • As some of you may know, I have written stories and am a keen illustrator.
One of my biggest wishes is to make a book and publish it too.
I have two book ideas:
One is a collection of my spooky stories, some of which have appeared as textile pieces in the past already, such as The Haunted Hunter, The Cursed Sea Captain, The Bride of The Woods, Green Lady, The Arguing Candles and more, accompanied by art work of course.
My second book idea is a short tale, for children, but fun for grown ups too, it is written in rhyme.
It would be heavy on artwork mainly, to accompany the text.
I have been trying out illustrations inspired by Victorian silhouette art, which so far, I really like.
There are more stories and tales I have worked on over the past two decades, so there is a small world of ideas stored in my head.
But the two book ideas mentioned above are the most developed.
My obstacles here are a few:
I do not know anyone in publishing and all I hear or read about it is that it is practically impossible to get anything published unless you are already very famous and very well connected.
I once was in fact able to show one of my book demo’s to a person who works in children’s books publishing, some 7 years or so ago.
She liked it, I could tell that she was genuine.
BUT, she said, publishers divide into categories, and my book would be in the category ‘classics’
The problem here was that my book wasn’t a classic, nobody would recognize it on the shelf, and therefor it wouldn’t sell.
That was the end of it, and I haven’t really dared truly pursuing this path since.
But it still is at the top of my wish list…
There is always the option of self publishing of course,
but that requires a financial investment, which at the moment, seems a bit like a long shot and a little risqué.

2 • My second wish/dream is to create a line of products.
I have been dreaming of creating my own pottery for instance;
beautiful handmade pots, crockery, teapots, cups and so on, and have them sold in boutiques and lovely shops.
But I am not a ceramicist, I do not have the skills nor the time and resources to learn them, and that simply is my obstacle!
It would be amazing however, to collaborate with a talented artist of this kind, and work on a line of ceramic pieces, for instance.
Another idea I have is to create a limited edition of wearable dresses, with wolves, flowers, chimney ghosts, flying teapots, figures… you get the drift … a dress that comes straight from a Pantovola story.
My obstacle is, I am not a tailor! I might make tiny dolls dresses, but I am not actually capable of creating wearable clothing. Also, I really do not know the market. But it would be such an amazing project to work on, I imagine.

3 • Then my final wish and obstacle for today…
As much as I appreciate the benefits of social media publishing,
nothing quite beats the good old magazine.
I would love to bring my work to a larger audience and I have always thought that publishing an article in a beautiful magazine would be a great way to do that. Social media is super duper, but it is also very quick and it can be a little superficial sometimes.. scrolling goes so fast, it can make your head spin.
I think the key to success here is to know someone in the world of magazine publishing who can put in a word for you and bring attention to your little existence, which I do not.
(I have tried the rocky way of approaching magazines myself, which so far has proven to be unsuccessful)
Voilá, that’s was my final obstacle right there!

Thank you so much for reading this here unusual blog post, and for thinking of ways to help me overcome my obstacles ( I can hear you think from here)
I appreciate it very much.
I can’t wait to hear from you and your ideas and suggestions, and finally,
this is the link to the Ted Talk by Barbara Sher, who I thank too, for inspiring me to ask.

Thank you

x P x


  1. Mary Buckley Sutton__Shaposies

    Thank you! You’ve addressed something I have been experiencing.

  2. Fiona ALDEN

    What a beautiful Blog Anouk ! Like you I don’t like to ask for help , being a very stubborn and Independent person . But people are sent into our lives to help us on our way . Giving out love to others comes back to yourself as with sharing our love brings happiness into our lives and it is good to share our hopes and fears with others 😘.xxxx

  3. Hi, Anouk! I find that when I verbalize what I’m working on, it falls together much better…it moves from something rolling around in my head into a crystallization of sorts. It becomes “real,” so to speak. I’ve been trying to get my first book published for some time now…it could be classified as an historical New England fairy tale, which is really a niche piece and probably not what big publishers are looking for. Self-publishing, therefore, may be the way, eventually. Perhaps self-publishing is a way to go for your two wonderful books-to-be, as well! You certainly already have a fan base with your incredible art and could easily promote it here. I wish you continued creativity!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.