As I said on Monday, I’m coming back. I think I said that about a month ago…but I mean it this time. And for the next few Wednesdays I’m going to
drag you guide you through my thoughts as I read Art and Fear: Observing the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland. (The book was sent to me by one of my writing cheerleaders: tracyworld.) I hope some of my thoughts affirm your own…or give you something to ponder…or provide proof that you are in fact the only sane person on the planet.
torture you share with you, I need get you caught up. I’ll be quick…promise. Don’t give me that look. Okay . . . I wrote a book. I showed my friends. They loved it. I liked it. I wrote two more. My friends loved them. I liked them. I trunked them. I wrote another story. I loved it. My friends loved it. I sent it out. Agents liked it. Some liked it a lot. YAY! No one wanted to use it in a birdcage. But no one loved it. And no one gave me helpful feedback. By helpful I mean: “You split infinitives like it’s your job. Unfortunately, that is a job no one should have,” or “Molasses in January drips faster than the pace in your story.” For a self-confessed “fixer,” “perfectionist,” “problem-solver” . . . I was at a loss. I needed to know what was wrong. I didn’t want to make the same mistake(s). Worse yet, what if my story ideas were pointless? What if . . . blah, blah, blah, etc. etc, etc. Here’s the thing, I KNEW my thinking was illogical and pointless and fear based. I KNEW fear and self-doubt was backing me into a corner. (And no one puts Baby in a corner. (Best movie line evah!)) Yet, I felt powerless . . . lost.
And then I got tired of being afraid.
I confessed to my friends . . . the full truth. Not the vague, whiney crud I had told a couple of people. In order to put the bullies in their place, I had to come clean. I had to show'em who's boss. I’m not one to let fear get the best of me. (I work in a male prison for crying out loud.) My cheerleaders hooted and hollered and kicked. The bullies started backing up. But they’re still eyeballing me. No worries. I’m watching them, watching me. I’m shadow boxing . . . getting ready. (Can anyone else hear the music from Rocky?)
So, I’ll get to it: Art is made by ordinary people. Creatures having only virtues can hardly be imagined making art. It’s difficult to imagine the Virgin Mary painting landscapes. Or Batman throwing pots. The flawless creature wouldn’t need to make art.—Art and Fear, pg 4.
Now, on an intellectual level, I know this. I mean, I am not one to get tongue-tied around celebrities (big or small). I know we all pull on our pants one leg at a time. (Unless you’re being a showoff and hop in to them.) Nonetheless, it is--at times--hard to keep emotions from overshadowing intellect when I read a GREAT book. In those moments, my thoughts are something like: “God, (insert author) is a demigod of words,” “(Insert author) is freaking amazing.” So it’s good to be reminded that no super powers are needed to pen a great story. (Nor do I need to sacrifice a chicken.)
Being me, ordinary-ole-me, is good enough. (Ha! Take that, Self-doubt!)