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Wow! Over 1/2 Way to Dream Becoming Reality

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Over a decade ago I dreamed of writing a children’s book about a boy who goes salmon fishing with his dad in a derby and discovers that more important than winning derby is just being with his dad.

I faced a lot of hurdles in hammering out the story, creating the illustrations, and finding a publisher. That’s another story.

On December 1st I Remember Fishing with Dad is being released. Dream become reality. Almost.

As it neared time to have the book published, I realized I faced another hurdle. I wanted to buy 200 books from the publisher so I could resale them. But I didn’t have the cash flow to do that.

I decided to set up my web site to take online purchases. I made a goal to sell 100 copies by November 15th.

Here is the story of how that went:

Thursday, October 29th

  • I announced my goal and asked people to help me reach it. I was surprised and thrilled to sell 24 copies online, and 12 copies via snail mail. We were off to the races with a total of #36 copies the first day.

Friday, October 30th

  • On line sales slowed down, I sold only 4 books via the web. But a number of people contacted me wanting larger orders, and I sold 19 more books this way. So #23 copies sold on Friday, with a grand total of 59 sold!

 

So I’m over half way there. Thanks to all my family and friends that are helping me jump this last hurdle! I’m so excited to share this story with you.

Please Help Me Reach My Pre-Order Goal of 100 books

I’m excited to share this video that announces the publication of my Children’s book “I Remember Fishing with Dad”. I had lots of fun making it.

Please help me reach my goal to sell 100 copies of I Remember Fishing with Dad before November 15th. 

You can pre-order books on my web sight, www.sunnyshorestudio.wordpress.com. A book costs $25 ($30 including taxes, shipping and handling). To order look under “Buy Books and Art.” 

Selling 100 books by November 15th will provide the cash flow I need to order 200 copies of I Remember Fishing with Dad. If you do purchase a book or two for Christmas gifts I will mail you a signed copy as soon as the books are delivered to me on or before December 1st, 2015.

Praise for I Remember Fishing with Dad

I am blown away by the praise and kind words people I highly respect have for I Remember Fishing with Dad.

“This enchanting story carries the reader back to childhood on a voyage evocative with the exquisite watercolor illustrations of a father and son, Jack and Jason Dorsey. This book has become a classic in our family, to be reread and paintings enjoyed repeatedly.” Anita Deyneka, World Without Orphans and A Family for Every Orphan

“Jack Dorsey and son, Jason, have collaborated on a sincere expression of ‘just going fishing’ together. Through their beautiful watercolor illustrations and heartfelt words, readers can’t help but be connected to their own special childhood memories with Dad.” Thomas William Jones, noted American watercolor artist

“Jason Dorsey has written a good book on fishing. His message goes beyond fishing to a deep desire to see men reconnect with their children. He has seen the tragic impact of missing Dads and offers this enjoyable story to help fathers turn their hearts back to their children and families. Read it and then go fishing with your children, or mountain biking or hiking or swimming or whatever sweet spot you can find with them. May the Lord turn your heart toward your children.” Russ Pulliam, Indianapolis Star

“Every image that Jason Dorsey paints is radiant with gratitude — especially a deep thankfulness for family and a contagious enthusiasm for creation. While his memory for detail is impressive, his capacity to capture and reflect the light and colors of Pacific Northwest mornings will be a gift to every reader.” Jeffrey Overstreet, author of Auralia’s Colors

Thanks to people who believed in me and supported me along the way

I want to thank all my friends and family who believed in me and supported me in this project.

In particular I would to thank my friends, Matt Hale who helped me develop and early draft of this book and Paul Baumgarten who took the photographs for it, and David Lichty who encouraged me to create more dramatic tension in the story. Esther Heshenhorn was a great coach as I tried to figure out the ins and outs of writing children books. And I am especially thankful for Shelley Houston who is helping me bring this decade old project to light. And a special thanks goes to my nephew Josh Nelson who helped me create this video.

Finally, thanks to my dad who took me fishing. I love you.

On Buying Books and Art

We should buy books and art for many reasons. One of those reasons is that books and art intertwine with our lives, become part of who we are; like friends they are with us always, like historians they tell our story.

Here is the tour of our art collection in our new apartment in Redmond, WA that I promised friends back in Indy. It is also a tour of my story through art.

Let me begin with our bedroom. The art that surrounds Jenny and I are paintings by my mom of those who our dearest and closest to us, our children Jacob, Julian, Judah, and Jackie. My mom captured each of their special “thisness”.

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In our bedroom also hang these two acrylics, also painted by mom. One is of Jenny and I walking on the beach below our property on Camano Island.

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The other is of my dad, my brother Jed, myself and one of our boys walking with our morning catch of salmon at Cluxewe Restort on Vancouver Island, BC. From Cluxewe I can see Sointula, a small island where at the age of 18 God opened my heart to Him. It is one of our favorite places to vacation as a family; at least one of mine, because of the salmon fishing there.

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In the upstairs hallway hangs this watercolor I painted of the northern California coast and the mighty Redwoods there. Our family spent a week there with Jenny’s parent’s one summer and it is a place of sacred memory.

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This painting of Judah, done by my mom, Ann Cory Dorsey, is in his room: Judah awakening us all with his trumpet, he still brings music into our family, but he’s not so little any more.

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Now about to head down there stairs or at the top of the stairs, depending on which way you are going, is one of my sister, April’s, acrylics. She has a wonderful touch with flowers, among other things, and may be the most artistic of my siblings.

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At the bottom of the stairs hangs art by my Grandmother, Sayre Dodgson. Sayre went to Art School in Philadelphia. She had real talent as these sketches show. But one day her brother said to her, “Sayre, you have talent but not genius,”  She gave up her dream of an art career and went into nursing instead. I’m sad that she gave up on her art, but glad that she became a nurse and met my grandfather, and had my mom as one of her daughters.

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At the bottom of the stairs is art by my Great Grandmother, Fanny Y. Cory, who was a well known artist in her time. She illustrated books, was featured on the post of magazines like Scribners and the Saturday Evening Post, and had a syndicated weekly cartoon that was a rival to Little Orphan Annie called “Little Miss Muffet.” She also painted a delightful series of watercolors in what is now a “Fairy Alphabet” book. Here is a copy of one of her magazine covers, very Norman Rockwellesque titled “The End of a Perfect Day” that sits at the entrance to our stairs.

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At the bottom of the stairs and above my desk hang two very important to me works of art.

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One is painted by my mom of her mother praying. Grandma Sayre lived to be 104. She prayed for me every day, and I’m sure much of who I am is due to those prayers. The other painting is by Kyle Ragsdale, the Curator at the Harrison Center for the Arts, and an elder at the church I pastored in Indianapolis, Redeemer Presbyterian. It was given to me as a gift when our family moved to Redmond, WA in 2015. It is a picture from one of our elder’s retreats at the “Palapa” beach house on Lake Michigan. It is a reminder of my dear friends, this band of brothers that I was privileged to walk with for 13 years.

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We are now downstairs, and have turned the corner alcove in which my desk sits, and looking towards the window and balcony.

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The first picture on your right is actually a photograph by my good friend, Paul Baumgarten. It is of an old door and handle. Paul did his graduate work in preserving stained glass windows, he loves old things, and is a gifted photographer. I tried and tried to take a photo of Paul’s photo that didn’t reflect, but because the mat and photo are so dark I could not escape the reflection.

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After Paul’s photography comes this beautiful assemblage of art that we collected while at the Harrison Center.

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I’ll take you through the pieces one by one.

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The first work I purchased from a Harrison Center artist is this exquisite piece by Jan Zoya. I must have been missing the dark, brooding waters of the Pacific Northwest and this piece with sea and moon brought me home.

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This piece by Nicole Caldwell is one of Jenny’s favorite. Nicole was a member at Redeemer, and an graduate student at Herron Art School, and a neighbor of ours. This is her rendition of the Tiffany Stained glass window that used to sit in the First Presbyterian Church (where Redeemer worshipped) and is now housed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Jenny likes texture, and Nicole used corn kernals to highlight the arm of the Angel of the Resurrection.

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These two images are by Kyle Ragsdale. The one on the right is a hip-hop/boy-band nativity scene. The other is a painting of Jackie asleep in my arms holding a heart. Kyle is a significant figure in the Indianapolis arts scene; I love his playfulness and immense creativity. During the different liturgical seasons of the year he would turn the sanctuary in Indianapolis into a visual, symbolic picture, emphasis different views of the great gospel of Jesus Christ.

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This stunning piece is by a friend who passed away, Susan Hodgin. Susan was an incredibly gifted artist who had a studio at the Harrison Center. She nobly battled cancer, and left a sweet daughter and courageous husband behind. We mourn the creativity and beauty that was lost when she left.

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Finally, this painting by my brother Jed. He gave it to me a couple of years ago, and when he did I cried. It is a painting of the hill overlooking the beach where we grew up on Camano Island. I love Jed’s city-scapes, but specially treasure this gift.

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In our downstairs bathroom hangs this fun print of a painting by my great grandmother, Fanny Y. Cory.

As we turn towards the wall full of bookshelves, there is this narrow wall on which I hung three paintings that connect my love for everything water. Jeff Morton, Professor of Art at Covenant College, painted the moon encircled by birds which hangs on the top. Casey Roberts, one of my favorite Indianapolis artists, imagined the dark cliff silhouetted against the night sky. And Jennifer Cooper painted the adorable wooden boats.

We now come to the wall with books and art.

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The first painting is this delightful watercolor of flowers by my dad. It was hung in the family art show the Harrison Center sponsored in October 2014 and I couldn’t resist buying it.

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Next is this watercolor of apples by my sister April which traveled with us to Indy, and now back to the northwest.

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There there is this big watercolor I painted of Zagorsk, the center of Russian Orthodoxy. I spent a couple of months in early 1992 in Moscow with my dear friends and mentors Peter and Anita Deynka.

The following painting has a fun story. It is of a catholic church in Montana. When my grandmother, Fanny, and her cowboy fiance nicknamed “Popsie” eloped, they came to this catholic church and to the priest there and asked to be married. Popsie was catholic, but my great grandma was Anglican. When the priest found this out he said that my grandma needed to become catholic or he wouldn’t marry her, to which she replied, that she wouldn’t do that then asked “Father, do you want us to live in sin?” He did not, so he performed the ceremony :).

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On one of our family vacations in Montana we tracked down this old church and took photographs of the church. This smaller painting of the same church hangs on the wall next to the larger.

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Here is another in the collage of church paintings, it is a church on a snowing day in Russia, a place which is absolutely magical in winter, and which will always have a piece of my heart. Interestingly enough, my son Julian has a passion for international politics, and an interest in Russia in particular.

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This next painting, the Lutheran Church in Conway on Fir Island is dear to my heart, not because I ever attended it, but because her organist, Don Good, was my favorite teacher at Stanwood High School. Don taught drama, and his energy, wit, deep joy, and ability to draw people out of their shell, had a big impact on my life.

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This next painting has always been one of my favorites.

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I painted it in 1992, during a time when I was painting rather seriously. After I married Jenny, I took a year off seminary and lived on Camano Island where I interned at Camano Chapel. During this time I taught art at the Senior Center through Skagit Valley College as well as entering numerous paintings in national shows. This painting titled “My First Ballet” is from a photograph I took at the ballet “Juzelle” in Red Square, Moscow. It is a very dramatic scene where heartbroken and in a fit of madness, Juzelle dances back and forth across the stage. The scene was so stunning, the lighted figures against the dark curtains so dramatic, that I had to paint it. It one a top prize at the San Diego International Watercolor Society Show.

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Last but not least is this oil by my good friend Barb Knuckles, a member of Redeemer in Indianapolis. It is of a part of the War Memorial Monument that sits in the center of Indianapolis. Barb gave it to us as a gift, and it is especially powerful as a picture of peace, of people coming together.

And what can I say of all the other art that hasn’t made it up on our walls in Redmond, because we have a prime place for it in the studio we are building on Camano Island. It includes art from perhaps the most gifted artist who had a studio at the Harrison Center for the Arts, Tyler Meunick. Two of his paintings are reserved for the studio.

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A place in the studio awaits the wonderful hangings created by Chad Campbell. A gift from my friend Aaron Gardner is waiting its spot too. And perhaps my greatest disappoint is that I don’t have an artwork from one of my dear friends in Indy, and super gifted artist, Kipp Normand. But isn’t that the joy and purpose of art after all. One day I will have one of Kipp’s artworks. I wait for that day, and save for it. I can’t wait to have a part of Kipp with me in the place God has called me.

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And that’s the tour of the art in our apartment. Much more, that’s a tour through significant moments in my family’s life and through my life history.

Ant that’s why Goethe was right when he said, “one should, each day, try to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words.”

And that’s why you should buy lots of art just like you should buy lots of books. They are like friends, going with you, reminding you of people, and places, and sacred moments. They are like mini-histories, and our lives are the poorer without them.

Illustrating “I Remember Fishing with Dad” with Dad

Now that the children’s picture book that I wrote and illustrated with Dad titled “I Remember Fishing with Dad” is at the printers and due out on December 1st, I’m beginning to think about how to get the word out about the book.

I’ve have two book signings lined up for December: one at the Snow Goose Bookstore in Stanwood, WA on Saturday, December 5th and a second on Friday, December 11th at the Harrison Center for the Arts in Indianapolis.

Returning to the Harrison Center is going full circle because that is where, in 2004, dad and I collaborated on painting many of the illustrations. Dad and mom had come to visit us in Indy for Christmas break I think. At that time, I had just written a draft of the story and had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to go with the illustrations.  So I roped dad in to help me. Help me he did!

Joanna Taft and the Harrison Center team let us set up a temporary studio in Gallery #2. There Dad and I went to work.

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Dad was a great sport to help me. His expertise in watercolor painting (although he paints with oil, I prefer his watercolors), his ability to draw the details of salmon fishing, like tying fishing line and cutting herring, and his eye for perspective added so much to the project.

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The whole family stopped by to see our progress. Mom with her camera (that’s who I got these pictures from). Jenny and the kids. You can see how young our kids were in these pictures. I was quite a bit younger too, with much less gray and much more hair :).

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But most of the time it was just dad and I, silent together, like when we fished for salmon. Together in the quiet of Gallery #2, with the only sound the splashing of brushes in water and the rustle of paper, we relived through art what we had lived on the salmon waters of Puget Sound so many years ago.

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I hope that through this story and its art, many parents and their children will see how important it is to make sacred memories together.

Appraisals, Hedges and Sabbaths

Last week the appraisal for my Sunnyshore Studio project came it. The (future) studio and property appraised at 340K, but because it is a “different” kind of building, and not a traditional single family residence, my bank will give me a mortgage of 70% of the loan. That means that I have to bring 60K of cash to the closing, cash that I don’t have. So in God’s providence, we will first need to sell our home in Indy before we have the cash flow necessary to pull the trigger on building the studio.

Meanwhile, I spent a few hours trimming my hedge on my property on Camano. I began this hedge 10 years ago to create a visual and sound shield from the road. It is a “collage” hedge, with different kinds of trees and bushes growing together. I have two cedar trees growing fast which will someday tower above the hedge. And there are an assortment of bushes and trees which I forget the names of, except one, a lilac bush, each bearing its own unique beauty.

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Yesterday I took my first Sabbath since moving to Redmond.  Up till now Jenny and I have been just trying to keep our heads above water with paperwork, new schools and schedules, and trying to get our feet under us in our work.

Sabbath is a rich word, mostly forgotten by my generation, but treasured by those who know its meaning. Sabbath is a rhythm of rest, of remembering, of being rooted in reality. It doesn’t mean sitting around and being lazy. It means doing the things outside of your everyday work that make your heart sing.

Yesterday morning after dropping the kids off at school, Jenny drove me to John and Joyce Sanford’s home in Woodinville so I could borrow Joyce’s car and so that Jenny could have a car to pick our kids up.

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Then I headed north to Camano Island. My first stop was in Stanwood at the Snow Goose Bookstore. I shared with Kristine that I was a local boy, having grown up on the Island, and had come home and had written a children’s book about fishing with my dad, which my dad and I had illustrated. I told her it was coming out in December and asked if I could have a book signing in December. She looked skeptical until she found out my dad was Jack Dorsey and then she said it was a wonderful idea, and she loved his work, and why don’t we plan for a book signing on Saturday, December 5th.

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Then I stopped by the Stanwood Camano News. I asked the receptionist who I should talk to because I have a very big story for the newspaper. She asked if it was local news, or sports, or what. I told her it was Art and Culture News. So she gave me the name of Sarah A. who I will follow up with later.

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Then it was on to the Island, this place of my early years, this place I love: the smells of the fir, the wetness, the Cascades across the bay, I feel it as home deep in my bones.

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Of course, my destination was mom and dad’s house. Dad was out with buddies golfing. So I got to spend some time with mom.

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She has fallen and broken a couple of bones in her shoulder so she is in a sling and she needed me to pull her socks on. I’m not a very good nurse but it was nice to help, and that kind of help of mom is precisely why I came home.

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And as I mentioned above, I spent the late morning and early afternoon trimming the hedge. Then a yummy lunch with mom. This afternoon, I have some details to follow up in regard to getting my well in shape, and my Sunnyshore Studio project.

To have a whole day set aside for these things, things different and apart from my regular work, things that remind me who I am and root me in my calling, this is Sabbath rest. And this is how appraisals, hedges, and sabbaths come together in my mind. In God’s creation, we are given time to work and rest, and we wait on God too, for His timing, for his purposes to be played out in our lives. Work and rest all to His glory.

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