Happiness challenge day 2

It is no surprise to anyone in my family I am not the artistic one. When it comes artistic talent, my kid got that. She draws pictures and people. She has her own style. It’s gorgeous. It really is. She drew a picture of Mike from Green Day the other day for her art class. It blew me away. It wasn’t one of those pictures where it’s like, “Oh, I can kind of tell who that is.” If you’re a mom, you know what it’s like to look at your kids’ artwork or a project or listen to them sing. You’ve got your mom ears on. It’s like, “Oh my gosh! That’s so good.” And then you see something that is actually fantastic. People on the outside of mom eyes, outside of mom listening think it too. You will always think your kids’ stuff is good. You will tell them that because you don’t want to crush their little hopes and dreams. You want them to succeed. So you cheer them on; you root for them. Even though it may not look like what they’re telling you it is. Even though it might sound like the cat in the backyard just got run over. You keep telling them it’s good so they keep trying. If they keep trying, they will do better. Then they come out with something that is great and you’re just sitting there going, “That’s awesome!” You sit there and go, “My kid has talent.”
I can’t draw a stick figure with a ruler and she’s over here drawing real life actual human beings. I tried to do clay. I tried my hand at art. At one point I was great at drawing Disney characters. That should surprise no one I drew Disney characters. I could never could draw my own thing and in no way shape or form could I be an animator. It was more for the kids at the daycare I worked at. I got lucky. At one point they were getting ready to demolish the entire community center to build up a new school around it. On my lunch breaks I drew things on the wall. That was cool. How many places have you worked that allow you to draw and color on the walls with markers? It was fun. It was a lot of fun. I put the Hundred Acre gang eating a picnic lunch by the high chairs. Over by the sinks I had a picture of Ariel. Babies Mickey and Minnie and Donald all slept by the cribs. It was super cute, and I had a lot of fun doing it.
But it wasn’t my own. It wasn’t something I could draw from a picture in my head. I always had to have a picture to go based on. I always had to have a reference. I felt like that just didn’t make me an artist. It didn’t make me a person of artistic talents. But my kid – I  can’t even tell you the great things I’ve seen in her. She is creative and talented. I give her art prompts. Not just “draw a witch.” I’ll have her try something unusual like swamp witch or draw a fairy who has a broken wing.
Let me tell you about Pinterest for that kind of thing. Pinterest is the best thing. I love Pinterest. If you’re not on Pinterest, you may not want to get involved in Pinterest. But let me tell you why you don’t want to get involved with Pinterest. You don’t want to get involved with Pinterest because you will never escape. It’s like quicksand on the shows and cartoons and movies anyone over the age of forty grew up watching.
WHy is it those shows always showed people getting stuck in quicksand? I grew up thinking being stuck in quicksand would be more of a problem in my life than it’s been. I’ve never in fact ever seen quicksand. I am confused at this concept. I thought it would be more of a big deal than it is.
The same goes for catching on fire. Do you remember being in first or second grade and they always drove home the point of “Stop, drop and roll.” It is important but I know no one who has ever had a fire on them. The only time I have seen it is in a movie. That‘s when I sat in my see saying, “It‘s that moment they told you about. You should stop, drop, and roll.” Instead, the actor is running around with his arms in the air, waving and screaming. I’ve seen this in YouTube videos, too. They should stop, drop, and roll instead of looking like a wild, wacky inflatable tube man.
But, I digress.
We just came out of October. Much like November is Nanowrimo, October is the artists‘ month. It‘s Drawlloween. It‘s Sketchtober. There’s a bunch of different names for it. Where we writers showcase our book covers and word counts, in Drawlloween, visual artists showcase their talents with daily posts of their work.
I love seeing the creativity of people who can take a picture from their head and translate it onto a piece of paper for everyone else to see. Writing is not like that. Writing is like having the Last Supper in your mind, complete with Jesus, the disciples, and the mulled wine. When you put it on paper, it winds up looking like a first graders rendition of a Christmas play. It’s really that difficult to translate what you have in your head in pictures down in words. I’ve always been a little jealous of people who could draw. I’m not saying that chosen talent or god-given talent or your hard work for talent is easier than writing. Not by any stretch of the imagination. See what I did there? That’s funny. But they are already starting out with a picture and they’re creating a picture.
The only artist I can think of that probably didn’t have a set picture in his head is Bob Ross. I don‘t think Bob Ross had any of that planned. “I will paint water today. I’m going to paint trees. Today I’m going to paint mountains.” What did we ever do to deserve Bob Ross? That man is a legend. Can we talk about how Bob Ross is just amazing? He’s not dead. He lives on in everyone’s heart. I love Bob Ross. Bob Ross and Mr. Rogers both got me through 9/11. I’m a big fan of Bob Ross. I don’t know if you remember the movie Ratatouille. Gusteau was the chef that said anyone can cook. Bob Ross said anyone can paint. I have to believe he’s right. He makes it so you can’t screw up. There’s no wrong way to do this. If you have the tools and you sit down and you do your thing with him, then you will make a picture. And it will not look like Bob Ross. You’re painting it. You’re doing it. So it’s not a Bob Ross painting. It‘s your painting.
I think that is the whole point of art. So many people go out there and think, “I‘m going to paint like DaVinci. I’m going to draw like a Disney animator.” In my case you get people who think, “I will write like Stephen King.” How about you write like yourself? How about you draw like yourself? How about you play music like yourself? Because that‘s where your heart is. It’s in you. You’re not Stephen King. Unless you are Stephen King and you’re reading this book. Then I feel awkward because that would be awesome. If you are Stephen King, could you leave me a review? I don’t even care if it’s bad. It would just be a review by Stephen King. That alone would be the coolest thing ever.
When someone says to create art I’m sure many people think the same thing I thought about. You think of visual art. Pottery, painting, photography.  Sit down and draw something. And I have tried my hand at that branch of art. Except pottery. I‘m not OK with ghost Patrick Swayze coming up behind me. That would be creepy. Art isn’t just a visual representation. It is the creative expression of life. I am an artist. Writing is an art. Refine it. Polish it. Isn’t that why there’s a Masters in Fine Arts? Everyone wants an MFA. Why? How does the degree make you anymore artistic? Does a degree make you better at your craft? Probably. You won’t have to hear about how you used passive voice or have typos in your book. But, it’s the heart where your art lives. I think it’s your soul’s expression of life. That’s where the art lives. Yes, the words come out of your head. Yes, the pictures show up in your head. But, it’s really the passion and creativity to follow those dreams and put them out in the world for people to experience. And it‘s hard when you have people saying, “You’ve got to get a degree in this. You’ve got to go into this field if you want to make money.” Money is an important thing. Money buys coffee. Coffee is life. Without money, there is no coffee. And then, I am sad.
I’m thinking art is not just pictures. Art is not just paintings or statues in a museum. There’s fiber art. People do amazing things with yarn and thread. Crafting a story? That‘s art. You are literally creating something out of nothing. Some of us create worlds, kingdoms, and people. Some writers create full political parties and religious systems. That should be considered art. So maybe I am an artist. Maybe what I write can be considered something beautiful. I’ve heard sometimes reading my writing is like having splinters in your eyes. I get that. Sometimes I could use a little polishing on my words. I get that.
Just because you don’t have a visual representation of something doesn’t exactly mean it’s not art. There are certain words I’m grateful. Even though they may not come when I want them to. I am grateful for the words I have to create worlds, people, motivation, and inspiration. For some people, I create laughter. For other people my last book created tears.
There’s something cathartic about art and creating something. Maybe that‘s why there‘s a whole industry of adult coloring books. There’s something about coloring. I don‘t mean adult in like sexy ladies or anything like that although. I’m sure they have those; I just haven’t looked for anything like that because I have a 5-year-old and a 15-year-old and a 14-year-old. I really don’t need that kind of thing. I have a couple Disney coloring books like adult Disney coloring books – Disney villains and Nightmare Before Christmas. My daughter has one of Edgar Allan Poe. It’s amazing. So you know what? I think I what I will do tonight will be a double-edged sword. Not only do I plan on creating and making art, we will make art together. Making art together will help us create something else – good memories. That that doesn’t happen often with one in preschool, one in middle school, and one in high school and me working full time. We don’t get a lot of time together. So on top of creating art and being part of being a family we will sit down create memories.
I will create art.


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