Friday, February 15, 2013

A Year Since, Part II

Wave 4, Oil Pastels on Archival Paper 6" x 10"

As I was saying...recovery...

My right brain, it turns out, has a lot to express. Prolific is an understatement, especially as my energy reserves gained some momentum. At times I have been drawing four or five pieces of artwork a week! I went from drawing pictures of people, to drawing pictures of the dreams I was having about great waves that I would simply walk into. It was an “of course I walk into giant tsunami waves” moment. Then I began to combine the style of the waves to the faces I drew, and so on all year, just seeing what I could do with this wonderful, colorful, soft and tender medium, the oil pastel. Again, I received so much support for what I shared with the social web that it encouraged me to create more and more, to experiment with detail and ideas. It has become a possible pivot in my career be a professional artist. I am looking for some kind of viable confirmation that this is a sensible thing to do. Har. I have projects and ideas just growing all over the place and a need to set up some parameters and plans for them before the garden becomes an unmanageable jungle...

Dragon Wave, Oil Pastels on Black Archival Paper, 19" x 20"
My friend, Erika Napoletano, made a few  really viable suggestions in her blog about new beginnings earlier this week. She suggested looking at what was NOT next. Oy. That would mean a decision and while it was easy for me to quit some things along the way, it is not easy for me to quit the something that used to be my dream, but maybe isn't anymore, and maybe needs to be revisited before I really, really say NOT.

I am challenged by the thing I once dreamed of doing for my whole life, well since I was about 10 years old: writing. I was challenged for a while before I was diagnosed. I’d say I’ve been struggling for 7 years to stay with writing, for writing’s sake and for a career path. The left temporal lobe is important to the skills of writing, but not to the talent of it, I believe. Why do I feel this urge to write, and feel just as much, "oh no, really?"

So it is never a shortage of albeit rusty skills and opinions. This is a long, long blog, for instance, and I knew that much, so I divided it into three parts. It is a question of what is my point? What can I say that hasn't been said a million times better by a million other writers? I would love to be a writer who could write about adventures I haven't had because that is really what I dreamed of writing. Turns out I write about life as I live it, and I can't imagine that it would entertain anyone as much as it entertains me. This is a writer's conundrum, period, but it is a weird struggle now with added problem of the order of words being not normal and in need of practice.

Before I had the surgery I composed 100 poems, easily. They aren’t perfect. The grammar is a mess, but when I take a moment to fix that, to rearrange a few words, they’re not so bad. I really love some of them, especially my Tarot poems. I have always had a thing for poetry, but, truthfully, I wanted to be a screenwriter. Screenwriting is about setting up the visual of a hero's journey and that’s my thing. I wanted this for an awfully long time and made some good progress up until 7 years ago.  Ask any of my students and they can confirm I have a true passion for this craft. Perhaps, it is the divorce I went through from my co-producer that increased my trepidation of touching the craft and letting it grow, or perhaps it was the pressure, and release of pressure, on my left temporal lobe. At any rate, screenwriting has been put on a shelf, and now I’m at a stage where I am considering putting it into the storage unit for memorabilia. Leaving windows open for a lot of other ways to write, but still.

Here is an amazing little piece of irony. The book I was studying, "Story" by Robert McKee, a screenwriter's guru, was left behind at the hospital after surgery. I didn't miss it until two weeks later, and by then it was long gone. Hmmm.

The Composer, Jurica, Oil Pastels on Archival Paper, 9" x 12"
For this and so many reasons this has got to be a NOT. It is a young person's business. I know this. And, yet, I know writers older than me making great progress into it, and then I know I'm lying to myself, making excuses. If you’re too young to imagine this, imagine the fear of choosing the wrong passion. Essentially, a moment to admit defeat is not really a great feeling, but a 7-year moment of indecision is much worse. It is not that I don’t know what I know. It's that I know that I don't know what might happen if I threw myself full force into this thing that bugs me often if I'm not drawing. Ugh.

I value facing the truth, and it is coming to me that this may be the truth. In the long run, I never despair about truth.

2013 © Amanda Morris Johnson


Gail Storey said...

Your artwork truly penetrates the truth you "never despair" about. What a fascinating study this series of blog posts is in how the creative mind evolves and expresses its freedom! (I can relate, since I have a strong visual sense as well as verbal delight.) And thanks for the heads-up about Erika's post!

Melanie Mulhall said...

Gorgeous art, Amanda!