I never know how to begin...
Why is a blank page so much more intimidating than a blank canvas? You would think they'd be the same, but no. Maybe it's because, for me, words come before pictures. That seems evolutionarily backwards. Maybe because I rely largely on inspiration when I draw. Draw a blank, or from a blank. I mean with no direction. A blank canvas is a thrill to me: a vast empty playground of potential waiting for my paint, my mistakes, my experiments. If it doesn't work, slop some gesso over it and start blank again. You use what you learned and erase what didn't work to make something new and better.
But words? Ah, words are a whole new world. Words take discipline. Forethought. Planning. You have to order complex sequences of thoughts, not to mention order the letters to express them. And they seem so permanant! I was always taught "think before you speake, because once you say something, you can't take it back." My mother was trying to get me to be nice, but it taught me the earth-moving power of words. Once they are on the page, you can't un-make them. Pencils have erasers, sure. Pencils to this day are my best friends. Ink terrifies me. It has such permenance! If you mess up, you scratch it out, but it just stays there. Under the scratches, forgiven but not forgotten. You just do your best to move on.
Typing is a little more friendly, in that it is itself inconsequential. I can go fast, letting my fingers fly, my thoughts folw, no editing. Then I can stop, breathe, read, spell check. If it's all total rubbish I can highlight the whole thing and summarily execute it by hitting Delete, Deus Ex Machina style. Or treat it to a slow, dramatic, agonizing demise one character at a time by holding my finger on the backspace key. Because it's not real untill you hit print. Even "send" or "post" don't have the impact for me that "PRINT" does. "Is that your final answer?" it asks. "The answer should nearly always be "no". I will have to become more friendly with the notion of the rough draft if I am to consider myself a writter. Anyway, only printing makes it real. Words that I can hold in my hand. Words that might even outlast me. Words on the computer, those aren't real. Anybody can put any words on the Internet that they want. And yes, I am aware of the irony of you being able to read this in a blog. What does that make me now? That's probably the reason it took me years to succumb to the notion of a blog in the first place. I feared not only my words coming back to haunt me, but somehow despite their power, words seem more vulnerable than pictures. I mean look at them: just a bunch of squiggly lines strung together. Extra slanty and squibbly in my case. How can they withstand the world? How will they not crumble undercriticism? Pictures are subjective. It takes a certain degreee of education on the subject of art to properly criticize a picture. Yet to the public at large, personal taste is often the directing factor. As such, whenever I hear things like "I don't like it," "That painting looks like a four-year old did it!" and "It doesn't have enough cats in it, you should draw more cats!", I can just roll my eyes and huff a deep breath, and let it go.
But there are no two ways about words. Not to most people anyway. People get so swept up and moved by words. Words can make a person want to attack another person. My words can make someone want to attack me! It seems like it takes so much more courage to share my words with someone than say "Hey, look what I drew," When you give words, people nearly always want to give some back. That's a magic that binds us together as human beings. And I want more of that in my life. And so I started this blog to make myself share more, work more, listen more, read more, write more, and be more. And in exchange, I beseech you, dear reader, a bit of patience, perspective, and humor. If you lack those things, I'm very sorry. But at the end of the day these are just words. And pictures. Enjoy!