I just finished up this little ditty called Buzzard’s Roost. I guess it’s not that little though. It’s 24 x 24 inches:
Now I’m working on two more at the same time, but I don’t really have the greatest progress pics.
I have a Photoshop layout for one of them. This one is going to be on a 16 x 20 inch panel:
And this one is on a 12 x 12 inch panel. Right now I just have the composition laid out with the paper – nothing glued down yet, but a few of these pieces will be in fabric:
I’m not sure if I like the fact that this one looks a bit figurative. A part of me likes it. Can you see it? It’s a person sitting down stretched out and touching the tip of the little rock. I swear I didn’t mean for it to be this way, but maybe it will stay that way, I’m not sure yet.
So I have some news. I was selected as a finalist for a residency at the Highlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California. What that means is that now I have to interview with the Director of Programs and the Residency Manager and tell them more about what I plan to do there and why I’m a good candidate to be in their final selection. I suppose I have to sell myself a bit, and that makes me rather nervous. I wrote a pretty strong proposal (I think), but the “in-person” thing is not really my forte. We’ll be doing it over Skype, not in person though, so they won’t see me stabbing a fork into my thigh under my desk. That’s a plus.
I was also selected to participate in an artist’s retreat called Reciprocity, which is an invitation-only program that aims to empower artists to explore collaboration, build community and create conversations about LA culture and identity. I’m not really sure what that all means exactly or what I’m in for there, but I’m very interested in what I’ll find. That will happen later in November.
Thirdly, I will be co-teaching a class at the Conservatory for the Arts at Mayfield Senior School where, apparently, the young women there have already been studying my work since the beginning of the semester! Isn’t that wild? I’m coming in as a guest artist and will be doing some speaking and drawing with them as well. I’m really looking forward to it, and it makes me feel like some kind of rock star or something. I mean, I’m way humbled about it and I take the opportunity very seriously. I will bringing along a bit of a curriculum and will be handling it all with “kid” gloves. I want to do a good job.
And speaking of trepidation, I have a lot of that when it comes to my next question and answer thing on the art plan agenda. To recap, I’ve been asking myself the questions I’ve laid out for myself as part of my art plan goals and then answering them on the spot here on my blog to see how I come up with answers off the top of my head. So far, I’ve been able to find things out about myself, like what my favorite color is and whether or not I like cheese. No, but seriously, It’s been pretty eye-opening. I feel a bit nervous every time I start doing this because I really don’t know where it’s going to go and it’s also pretty personal stuff, and frankly a little embarrassing too. I never know what I’ll say.
So my next question is a little bit different than the the others have been.
Do I want to be a serious writer?
Maybe “serious” is the wrong way to describe that. Maybe the question is: do I want to be a real writer? Wait, maybe that’s not right either. I’m not sure what kind of writer. Maybe I’m on the fence as to whether or not I want to view myself as a writer at all. I haven’t yet, but I do write. I just don’t see it as being serious because I have it in my head that I don’t know how to write.
I know that I’m writing right now and I’m also working on a book. I have been for the past few years actually. I’m only on the rough draft (still) and I know it’s going to take a LOT before it will even be ready to put into the editor’s hands. The truth is I don’t work on it very much, not just because I’m busy with other things, but because I just don’t have the confidence in my writing abilities that a real writer does, otherwise I think I’d be working on it a lot more often. Half the time I think I’m just trying to write, not really writing. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but that’s what it feels like.
I have been trying to write since I was a little kid, and I’ve been practically illiterate the whole time! I’m not kidding you. Though, when I was a young adult I didn’t realize just how illiterate I was. So I actually tried to submit my poems to literary magazines and such, and I mean dozens and dozens of them. Maybe even 100. By the time I was 25 or so I made it into a few little zines, but that’s about it. Never anything substantial and never anything that paid.
I continued to “write” however and later down the line I got a few small paying gigs, but not necessarily for anything original like poems or short stories. I’ve done articles and stuff and have been paid a little here and there for that, but I’ve never been taken seriously for any prose except for Monsters on Jasmine St., which was published by Bottle of Smoke Press. I’m not sure those poems would have been published had it not been for the fact that they were published with my visual art though, among other reasons.
You see, the thing is, I fell in love with a real writer over 16 years ago, and one of the main things I fell in love with was his writing. Then I just assumed to take a back seat after that and not look at anything I wrote as a serious endeavor anymore. I’m not blaming him, I just won’t ever be that good or that smart or that witty. I kinda gave up the dream.
Really, I should let him inspire me instead feeling like I should give it up though. I remember sometimes getting this way with certain musicians. certain drummers – once in a while. You’d see a player so incredible that you’d just want to quit. But it could go either way really. Usually, you’d see a great drummer and it would make you want to go home and practice your ass off, or you’d be so blown away, you’d just want to throw in the towel. Ha! I think that may have happened a little bit with mjp. He’s so good that I just wanted to say, “forget it.” I shouldn’t do that though. I know he doesn’t want me to do that. He’s pretty encouraging actually. He’s hard on me too, but that’s only because I’m pretty dopey sometimes.
Okay, this is interesting. The very person that makes me feel intimidated is the same person that reminds me of what I have going for me as a writer. I should be listening to him because he tells me all day long that I have my own voice, especially when I don’t try to write. Weird, isn’t it? And I guess when I’m not feeling particularly down on myself, I can see what he means too.
When I ask if I should be a writer though, that doesn’t mean I want to put down visual art. It just means I am asking myself if I want to also seriously pursue writing. I realize that this was a two part question because I see now that I already am a writer (of sorts). I guess I was closeted to myself until just now. Everyone else probably already knew I was. The pursuing part though, do I want to pursue writing? Well, yes. I want to finish my book and I want to publish it.
I think the simple answer is just “yes.” No excuses.