Returning to Kindergarten
May 21, 2009 § 2 Comments
I’m still having a hard time with my creative “flow” if you will. You’ll remember that a few months ago I sprang forth with some sort of Inspiration Fountain of Arts and Crafts that lasted for a good two months and cost me hundreds of dollars at Joann’s and Michael’s – but don’t worry. I managed to get my hands on a 40% off coupon. I hear they’re rare.
Anyway, that slowly trickled away, what with the preparation for moving and a two and a half year old running around at top speed, telling me “Mommy, no sit down…let’s clean!” (I don’t know how she got this sickness, but I will work tirelessly to find a cure.) I have a lot of craft projects left undone, a lot of fabric organized and uncut, a list full of tutorials I really want to follow, and I keep planning to do it tomorrow, this weekend, when I get home from work. But I’ve always been tangential like that. I pick up hobbies in the blink of an eye, devote my life to them for two weeks and then pack them up for a year until the tangent grips me again because I saw a woman painting in a McDonalds commercial.
But I guess what worries me is that I’ve never been tangential about writing. Ever since I was a child and wrote a gripping ten page novel about a bug family that lived in a bush that caught fire, I’ve been in the clutches of the gentle madness of writing. All through highschool I filled notebooks with plays and short stories and movies and novels, wasting study hall on developing the relationship between a teenager and an evil (yet sexy) Missionary rather than, you know, study for the classes I was getting Cs in. Writing was my companion, my therapy, my diary in a way, and even when I took classes or workshops on writing and got negative feedback, I didn’t care, because I knew that my writing was good and I loved it.
But you know what happened? I started trying to make writing my career in earnest. I finished a manuscript, edited it until it was air tight and started sending out query letters. Editors called back asking for more pages, only to tell me that “It’s really great but…”. I was told that my story was too strange, unmarketable, that I’d need to change giant plot points or characters or motivations in order to sell the book, but I wouldn’t do it. I loved that book like it was a living, breathing creature. I wrote the book I wanted to find in the bookstore, but it was unmarketable because it wasn’t like the other books in the bookstore. So I put that airtight book in a box on a shelf and started writing a new book. But this time I wrote “by the book”. “Sum up the novel completely in the first paragraph,” “no sexual content until at least page 72,” “only two adverbs per page”. I dreamt up the story I wanted to write and then wondered how I’d have to change it in order to sell it.
That’s when I stopped loving writing like I did in high school. That’s why I quit acting, actually. When I started having to network and schmooz and ‘glad hand’ people in order to get to act, I lost my passion for it. And I’ve made that same connection with my crafting/art/collage work. Over the past year or so, I’ve only wanted to do crafting or art in order to blog it, or see if I could sell it on etsy, or MAKE SOMETHING MORE OF IT. Something in my brain says “if there’s not more to it, it’s a waste of your time”.
But Art for Art’s sake is important. Drawing and coloring and painting and sculpture and collage are important to keep our minds sharp, our hearts open, our imaginations active, especially when you’ve got a two year old wanting to “DO SOMETHING” all the time.
So I started my Art Journal. Not for the blog, not for a homework assignment, not for an editor or a boss or anyone else’s approval, just for me. It’s a book I can paint in and sketch and put together collages and inspiration boards. I’ve only done two pages…but I don’t care. I only work on it when I really feel like it, and I when I’m bored, I stop.
It’s so simple. But I think it’s a step forward. I hope and pray and wish that this acknowledgment of creating for my own fulfillment will help me regain my love for writing.
So I can make it my career. D’oh!