Last night I had a conversation with my youngest daughter (she’s 19) about being an artist. She follows very closely in my footsteps and, at her age, hasn’t quite yet wrapped her mind and heart around what it all means and why we crazy artists do what we do. The conversation was a good one to have for both parties. For her, it was a time to finally have someone tell her the truth about the soul of the artist. For me, it was a time to remind myself why I do what I do.
This whole conversation started off with her asking why she wasn’t good at anything. The truth of the matter is, the girl is incredibly talented at so much. Her pencil drawings and sketches are often mind-blowing and her other works are equally as fine. To reply to question, I turned it back around on her by saying: The right question to ask is not “Why am I not good at anything, but how can I grow into the artist I want to be?” That of course turned into me breaking the bad news that life as an artist is always a challenge. I related to her my own experience:
- You are always your worst critic.
- Sometimes the life of an artist is a financially challenging one.
- Most often, those around you will never understand what you do or why you do it.
- No matter how much you deny it, you need the approval of others.
- Sometimes…that approval never comes.
- If you don’t feed that artistic soul, it will revolt in ways you might not always be able to handle.
My daughter always comes to me when she needs the cold, hard truth. I don’t sugar coat things — especially when it comes to nurturing an artistic soul. She knows this and she knows how high my own standards are for myself and my art.
This whole conversation reminded me of who I am. To my very core, to my soul and back, I am an artist. Every once in a while I drag myself out in the world and try to be something else…
It never works for long.
I must create. I must dream. I must always remain connected to everything inside and outside my flesh.
Just like an accountant sees numbers in a very different way, the artist looks at the world around them with very different eyes. We see through fantastical lenses, often times beholding that which is not really there or bending that which is into something wholly and completely different. And as the accountant must count, the artist must dream. It is those dreams that feed the angels and demons within and prevents them from escaping into a world not ready or willing to accept them for what they are.
As a writer I don’t consider myself a word smith, but a world smith. My goal is create something beyond the ordinary, something to push the reader beyond their every day life — sometimes even pimp-slap them out of their comfort zone.
I create, because I must. If I do not, I will lose who I am. Without this ability to dream on paper, I surely would wither and die. Some of you may think “Well that’s a bit melodramatic!” To that I would say you now have a glimpse into the what and why we do what we do. Is it crazy? To some, yes. Is it incomprehensible? To others, yes. Is it necessary? Most certainly, yes.
I am crafted within the dreamscape of a sometimes out of touch reality. Of this, I am aware; but it makes me who I am and drives me to do what I do. In my world, zombies, Shero, The Nameless…they could easily exist the second I open my eyes. I am okay with that…in fact, I love that the lens with which I view the world never really grew up.
To those of you who dive into my worlds, I hope you get a glimpse within the who and what that is me. Thank you, from the bottom of my well, for being a part of me.