Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fear of Writing Jan 31,2009

Yeah, it happens and it's not pleasant.

Why it happens has many reasons. Maybe I don't want to confront the same words that had me enthralled and don't any more. Maybe I wonder if it what all I've written is tripe and I'm better off doing something else. Maybe I've learned more and I dread having to rewrite, or to put down something new that doesn't match what I see in my head, what I feel in my heart.

I started out drawing and painting at a very young age, writing came later. My mom would pass me a 3x5" pad in church and a pen and I would keep still and occupied. I graduated from university where I earned a degree in Graphic arts. My first stories were told on paper or canvas, with Crow quill nibs and Higgins indelible ink, or colored pencils and watercolors. I looked up the difference between cold-press and hot press boards, I piled up slabs of acrylic and did washes in oil. I looked for natural hair brushes and experimented with mixing turpentine with Linseed oil for a thinner--bad, bad idea. Just dissolved the oil sketch I'd done and made everything runny and gooey. I cursed the book and the author who suggested it, scraped off the canvas and painted more.

I've done a few art shows and usually made enough to cover the entry fee. I did better with dream catchers--more people buy crafts, which usually sell at a lower price. The best part was sharing the space with those of like minds, meeting new friends, talking about what I love to do, and hoping someone would enjoy it enough to buy a watercolor of a bird-of-paradise, or an oil-cut-out collage of a dragon.

I still love going to art stores. I test the hairs of a new brush against my lips, I examine palette knives, and new colors. I drool over the variety of papers with deckle edges with the fibers thick and thin over embedded dried petals and tiny maple leaves. I still would love to get real parchment--from a sheep or goatskin not the parchment paper.

I was vigilant about cleaning the brushes, making sure my light was good, having the right proportions and color balance.

Was I more willing to make mistakes, to learn and play and try new things because the medium was visual and visceral? Did the props of paint, brushes and paper make it more real?

I've come a long way from submitting good ideas badly done. I've learned about delivery, setting, continuity, omitting the obvious, etc. Those early publishers who rejected me--rejected the work, not the writer. They were correct. I was trying to pass a seed or half-fill fruit as a fully grown tree.

Maybe I am more inflexible and need to keep reminding myself that writing is just as magical, with less outer tools and more inner ones. Pen, paper, period. Or FOK-U: Fingers on Keyboard--You!

I need to be gentle with myself, to say--perfection is a myth, enjoyment of what is there is real, it is worth my time, my love for the characters, the drama and the world I paint with words.


Anonymous said...

Well said from your perspective. An additional fear is to reveal what is inside on a personal level. Does not fiction also need to come from heart and mind. It seems difficult to disguise the soul 100%.

Bea Sempere said...

Very nice post. The arts have different mediums, yet they all demand learning the craft through failures. You're a talented person.

AmandaLyn said...

Good advice... I should try to listen to it a bit as well.