Writing is wordplay. It is experimentation. Some days, it’s completely dorktastic; other days, it is full of academic pretension fooling no one. Sometimes, the “Muse” smiles upon us like a ray of sunshine through a golden morning haze, and we are blessed. Do artists resent happy dabblers in art? Weren’t you all dabblers, once – small children with grubby fingers trying to figure out what to do with colors and lines and bits of chewing gum or Play-Doh? Did you spring from the womb with an intuitive sense of the colors and textures that could move grown men to tears or cause a line to form around the block, just for a glimpse of your work? How did the coffee grounds experiment work out? Is that the thing you will be known for when you die?
Do you turn up your nose at people whose mastery of perspective makes every attempt at realism seem Cubist? Or whose cubes consist of formulaic little boxes constructed of nine straight lines drawn over and over but never shaded? People who sneer are called “snobs,” and you aren’t one of them. Neither am I.
If I can fingerpaint – doubtless, getting more paint on my hair than on the paper in front of me – or sketch a table on which rests a cell phone bigger than my head, or sculpt bears in marzipan “clay” and eat them, then surely you can write a story.
All that separates the dabblers from the “greats” is to be driven by curiosity, dedicated enough to pay attention and practice, caring enough to learn from others and perfect the craft, willing to devote precious time to more practice, courageous enough to try new things and to fail – and finally, self-effacing enough to dust themselves off, laugh, and try again. It’s not neuroscience.
I avoided the cliché, because it is actually rocket science. When you and I – artists and writers – manage to put down on canvas or paper the things that only existed, before, in our imaginations, a funny thing happens. Inventors and engineers and scientists may laugh, but they get it. They, too, see the possibilities – we bridge the gap together. They take the fantastic and turn it into the real. Which came first: science-fiction journeys to the moon and Mars, or rocket ships that took human beings into outer space?
WE had a hand in that. We help make people believe in what could be.
Don’t ignore your creative urges – especially the ones not satisfied by your usual media. You just never know where they might lead.
And if all they lead to is a good belly laugh, well… the world desperately needs more of those.
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