Out of all the posts I’ve written for the Deb Ball so far, this has been the toughest one for me.
Usually, I glance at the week’s topic and an idea instantly springs to mind. Taking my author photo? Easy-peasy. Writing about deadlines? No problem; deadlines are my old frienemy.
But Art…. well, you see, I’m not artistic. I don’t paint, dance, sing, or sculpt. My husband chooses all the colors for the walls in our house, because if it were up to me, I’d pick Benjamin Moore’s Most Boring Beige. Don’t get me wrong; I love experiencing someone eles’s art. I can appreciate Monet’s flowers and Picasso’s quirky lines and Georgia O’Keefe’s erotic flowers. I love listening to music, including the original piano compositions by our very own Deb Alicia on her Reservoir CD. I just can’t create it myself.
I don’t consider my writing art -it’s pure craft. Writing to me is messy, exhilarating, frustrating, joyful and depressing. The emotions all pile up on each other as I sit down at my keyboard and fight for dominance, like those swirling ping-pong balls at a televised lottery drawing. I never know which one is going to surface first.
It’s the steady, methodical side of my mind that sorts things out and takes control. “Write 1,000 words today,” it instructs me as I sit down to work. First I re-read yesterday’s pages, backspacing over an ill-considered adverb and realizing a character needs one more telling detail to make him come alive. Then I try to drown out the voices in my head – they can be really mean, like a pack of middle-school girls – that tell me my prose is criminally bad, and that what I’m writing will never be published.
“Push on,” my methodical mind whispers reassuringly. “You can always fix it later.”
If I were an artist, I might depend on a muse. But what would I do if she slept in one day – or worse, developed mononucleosis? What if her fairy dust suddenly lost its sparkle? Craft is no-nonsense; it gets up at 7 a.m., yawning and stretching, then has a solid breakfast of eggs and black coffee before heading off to battle traffic and curse at the guy who makes a left-hand turn and forces everyone to miss the light. Craft isn’t fussy. No mean middle-school girl would try to mess with Craft’s mind. Craft shows up, gets the job done, then heads home to have a well-deserved Budweiser.
Now I’m off to craft those 1,000 words.