Waiting vs Elbowing

Are you waiting in line to sit at your dream lunch table?

Patient and stagnant, standing behind someone who got there first?

Or are you elbowing through the crowd to get a seat?

There will always be someone working as hard as you to get to where you want to go.

Not unlike the struggle to the front of the concert venue to see your favorite band, you will have to push through the other dreamers to get to the front line of action.

The possibility of exchanging a grin or a song lyric with a band member, or grabbing hold of a guitar pick or drumstick makes the struggle well worth it.

The struggle to the front will take time and practice and focus.

Technique is also necessary, and it grows stronger as you get closer.

As I elbow my way to the illustrator’s table, I practice my technique and pinpoint my purpose.

Practice technique.

Pinpoint purpose.

Chasing the Dream

I am now a year into pursuing my dream of being a writer & illustrator.

My perspective on this has changed drastically to date.

First: I realize I have to CHASE this dream.

This dream is not going to unfold by itself. I have to put a daily effort in that is difficult and simmering and stewing and creating and constantly evolving in order to make it happen. This is especially important when balancing work/life that includes a 45 hour work week.

Second: I have to put myself in opportunities that will push along this dream.

I can’t make this dream happen by staying at home. I have to get involved and locate tools and offerings that will excel my endeavors.

Third: I may not have the support I want or deserve.

This is a luxury. Doing without this luxury, however, is not and excuse but a necessity. I have to be able to pick myself up every time I feel defeated (which happens more than once or twice a day) and focus my energy on my dream. When others laugh or scoff at my dream, I will treat it as a precious silk chrysalis and not allow others to tear it up in front of me.

How am I implementing these things?

First: Putting in daily effort.

I can’t pretend that if I put in more than a little bit of effort towards my dream, it will still happen. It quite possibly could not happen and that would be because I did not want it enough for myself. And I want it bad. (You have to want it bad to make it happen.)

Second: I am involved.

I am taking a drawing class (taught by the amazing Sam Haring [http://samharing.com/home.html]) which I learn something from each week and I know it will further my knowledge and skill. Side note: It’s my first drawing class EVER!!

And here’s the big announcement: I am (somehow) going to the Story Design Conference. !!!!!! This is YUGE!!! I’ve registered and now have to raise the funds to get there. It is in Rome, Italy! And it is taught by four AMAZING mentors: Chris Oatley, Claire Keane, Brian McDonald, Jenn Ely. (much more on this later)

I am also about to enroll in an online course with the Oately Academy. This should also further my skill and inspiration in the art of storytelling. (more on that later as well!)

Third: I do not listen to negative critique of my dream.

There are many people in my life (much more than I think there should be) that look down on my dream. They laugh at me openly when I offer up even the smallest bits of my dreamscape. These people are not just acquaintances where I am not affected by their words; but people who are “close” to me (or supposed to be). This hurts. But the want to make my dream happen is much stronger a pull than my wanting to be their friend.

Large changes in the mindset. This is freeing. This is right where I belong.

Flustered and Frustrated

It’s been eight months since I’ve begun taking myself seriously as an artist.

The thought of it makes me want to vomit.

I do feel I’ve learned quite a bit so far:

  • Constantly creating and making art is imperative.
  • Do not spend a thought wondering if anyone will like your work because it will keep you from making true work and thus no one will consume it.
  • Trial and error, however frustratingly, must occur.
  • Do not compare your art to other art.

The last bit is one I am currently struggling with. I have to use other art for inspiration and reference but when the crispness of someone else’s design and atheistic far surpasses the muddled (but heart driven) work of my own,  I am flustered and frustrated.

Making art feels the way an owl must when it hurls up its pellet of undigestibles with the added task of sorting, creating, and giving life to the fur and bones.

Ah! But it seems I have found my first tweet. Follow me: claire_marque (also on Instagram)

“Just remember they were all children.”

“Just imagine everyone in their underwear.”

I’m sure I’m pointing out the obvious, but when I think about seeing a crowd of people in their underwear, it doesn’t necessarily make me feel at ease. Awkward maybe, and God knows I don’t need more awkward.

This made me wonder what helps me to think about when I’m panicky around others.

I had never really thought about this growing up because I was confident in who I was at a very young age. I’m great at public speaking and can command a crowd, if prompted. But what really gets me panicky is the fact that I am now a full blown adult in the adult world.

Here is where I must insert: [This blog is named Slightly Hyperbolized for a reason, and any over reactive statements are pointed out as such, in good humor. So humor me.]

I just find it strange to walk past a person and not know anything about them. It makes me uneasy on some fundamental level. (I’m still trying to navigate how I fit in this world.)

So what’s the one surefire thing I do know about every person I see? They too, were once a child.

When I see others now, I think of them as a child and suddenly, I am able to see them as that person, because truly, isn’t that what we all are at the core?

It seems there is a stigma that you mature beyond your inner child, nearly infinitely. I think of stories where children can see magic but adults can’t. (The Santa Clause, My Neighbor Totoro come to mind right now hehe)

Isn’t there a way I can be the child and the adult together?

“You’re Looking at the Dishwasher”

I live in an apartment that was built in 1886.

And still, it does not have a dishwasher.

When my then boyfriend and I were looking at the place before signing a lease, I was quick to decide that not having a dishwasher was nothing to be worried about. Of course, 3 years into living here and I’ve finally just gotten into the rhythm of cleaning the dishes regularly.

At first, dishes would pile up daily, creating nasty films on all of our plates and bowls. Then I’d spend over an hour cleaning, erratically, ready to be done the instant I started.

I realized that we had way too many dishes: we were able to go over a week without cleaning dishes because there were plenty to use. It made washing them impossible when it came time. So, needless to say, I got rid of over half of them: the old bowls I got from a garage sale, the first set of utensils I got from Ikea, the stupid coffee mugs I didn’t even like.

At that time, I got rid of many things. It took me about six months to purge the waste I had been holding onto for years. I realized I had moved over 15 times in my life, and had been carrying all of these pieces with me all along! I felt absolutely ridden with things.

I wouldn’t say that what I have now is horrifically minimal, because I definitely have superfluous items that I could truly do to get rid of, still. But I do feel that I have exactly what I need, exactly where I need it. Something I haven’t felt for years and years.

Now, I do the dishes nearly daily if I can. It takes me less than twenty minutes or so, and I know exactly what dishes we have and which are still in the cupboard. As I pick up each bowl and cup and fork, I think about what we ate in it, with it. I think about the conversation behind those meals. I think about how good it feels to simply wash my dishes.

In a way, I am washing away the life they were given, to let them be fresh and ready for a new one. And in that way, I am able to let go of the burdens of life that even a tiny piece of silver may hold.

Then I think that not having a dishwasher may be the best thing- it saves water and gives me peace, and maybe when I buy a house, I won’t even want one. And then I chuckle at that thought.

And so the story goes:

“You don’t have a dishwasher?”

“You’re looking at the dishwasher!”

Thanks, Kate!

After my post about “I hate writing, I love having written” and Kate DiCamillo’s interview about the subject I decided to write her a letter, with a sweet addition of a robin illustration just for kicks.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 7.44.58 PM

In essence, I wrote about my fears in pursuing my art, along with my love for her books of course.

I was hoping this would hit home for her and she may have some advice for me. Hence I was blushy and bushy tailed when I saw a postcard in the mail with her photo on it:

katekateletter

Although she didn’t have much room to write on the post card, she did give me a wonderful piece of advice. She told me to check out the book “Art & Fear” by Bayles and Orland.

I happened to have a huge load of books to sell at Half Price Books that day and as I was waiting for them to be sorted, I found “Art & Fear” without much trouble. I bought it (out of the $26 I got from my books!) and am already very grateful for it. I really can’t put into words what this book means to me. It pin points my exact feelings and then helps eliminate ill natured thoughts and focuses the reader, the presumed artist, to create their work.

I am only a little ways into the book, but the quotes and gems of information within it are phenomenal. It starts by understanding the issue, and states the controls of the scenario.

This sentence rings loudly in my ears, knowing I must fully digest and respect this truth and put it under my belt in order to get on with my artistry: “Vision, Uncertainty, and Knowledge of Materials are inevitabilities that all artists must acknowledge and learn from: vision is always ahead of execution, knowledge of materials is your contact with reality, and uncertainty is a virtue.”

Really rouses you to get up and make some art, huh?

Thank you, Kate!

Don’t You Let Them

I was washing dishes today. We don’t have a dishwasher and so doing the dishes generally takes an hour. I set up a few paper towels for the bigger items to dry on, allowing the rest to gather around the sides of my sink and in my drying rack. My husband just got a Beats Pill and my routine is to find a playlist on Spotify and blast whatever indie pop comes out.

This is after going to the bathroom and thoroughly checking Facebook; rapidly reading the words of hundreds of “friends”, filling my head with disorder. I suppose I feel isolated from people and social media makes me feel like I understand what is happening around me. And hence therefore, I am hell-bent frustrated.

I recently went through my record collection and took out about half to sell to Half Price Books. I then split my records into those I have heard multiple times and those I would like to revisit. My mind searched for something I could play that would be less mind numbing while doing dishes: Carole King: Tapestry. What is more soothing than a warm drink of Carole King’s goddess-like music and lyrics?

I only thought of her words and her soft but gritty tone as I scrubbed. Her voice cleared out the buzzing in my head. I felt relief. I felt like Carole King and I were very similar, too. It was comforting to hear the storytelling of someone with like-mindedness to me, and how she reasoned with the world.

 

“You’ve Got A Friend” came on and I heard myself singing the words to my friends, “…and I’ll be there,” something I always reassured the people around me of. It is time I took care of myself, I thought. And then I heard Carole sing to me, something I’m sure she was singing to herself, “People can be so cold. They’ll hurt you and desert you. They’ll take your soul if you let them, oh yeah, but don’t you let them.”

 

My heart burst.

 

I let them.