By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff Writer–
This Burroughs graduate was poised to major in English after high school. Then fate stepped in, and Cerro Coso Professor Rosenberg inspired her; other art teachers at the college sent her in a different direction. You can read about Cheryl’s journey as an artist in the March 17 issue of the News-Review.
McDonald began journaling in the mid-1980s when she read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, who suggested that artists start every morning by writing three pages. She began writing for public consumption in the 1990s when the blogosphere started. As with most creative self-expression, her blogs have evolved. They have always been personal. She says of the early years, “It was mostly just talking about your life, the thoughts you had, things that were important in your life, or things you wanted to share. You didn’t have to worry about having a huge audience because many people blogged unless you knew how to build that. You were writing into the ether; it was just a way of journaling online.”
In the Twenty-Teens, McDonald had several projects that she blogged about. Her favorite, Mustang Magic, can still be found online at https://mustangmagic.wordpress.com/. This was a pro bono project where she followed a horse trainer. “She (the trainer) took two Mustangs from the Bureau of Land Management stables to her ranch near Hemet. It’s called Extreme Mustang Makeovers; they have six weeks to take a wild horse and turn it into a trained horse. And so I spent quite a bit of time at her ranch photographing and talking. I wrote a blog on that.”
Although many use blogs as a marketing tool, McDonald’s is more intimate. “I make it personal. I make it like I’m talking to people; I want them to feel connected. And that’s always been my writing style – to try and come from a personal place and connect with people. I get a lot of comments like, ‘You’ve said exactly what I feel’ or ‘What you’ve said means a lot to me.’ It’s not monetary. Some people fill their blogs with ads. I don’t want any ads. I paid for a subscription, so it doesn’t have any ads because that’s not the point. Blogs can be whatever you want them to be. And so mine is just telling stories.”
Locally, in the Twenty-Teens, McDonald wrote a tourism column for The Daily Independent. “I wrote several articles which included photographs and stories.” She traveled to the Redwoods, Death Valley, Randsburg, and popular destinations. Her favorite assignment was as a photographer and writer for Scenic 395 magazine for two years. “That was a wonderful job. I loved doing that.”
After taking a hiatus from writing for a few years, she began again. First with her blog and then poetry. “I started writing poetry and using my art as the subject for the poetry.” Her book of poetry and art, Mystic Dreams of Transformation, is available at Maturango Museum.
Her first story for the News Review, 17th Annual Biker Blessing, was published on April 21.
Join us in welcoming Cheryl McDonald to the News-Review staff.