Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron and Wine …diving too deep for coins…
There are certain things that I keep forgetting, certain things I keep being too scared to own up to and just do. I have this terrible problem where I get incredibly embarrassed anytime someone reads or sees something I’ve created. In fact, sitting in the living room watching my dad read my post the other week was an incredibly uncomfortable moment for me (sorry Dad). It’s been the case for so long.
When I took guitar lessons, my teacher would ask me to show her what I’d just learned. I would begin to giggle uncontrollably and just stall as long as possible. My first guitar performance was for one person, quite the audience. I made him go to the other side of the room and look the other way. Yes, I am that bashful, embarrassed person when it comes to these things. It’s derived from this terrible problem of perfectionism. This random doodle above probably took me close to two hours and I can still find flaws in it. Two years ago, I stayed up all night doing this project called a digital narrative. I had to create a video and voice over explaining why writing was important to me. I created a still shot video for a digital narrative on my website ( I sound like I know what I am talking about. Don’t be fooled..) I cringed while I watched it..the timing was off, this shot is too close, this is too fast. My friends kept saying they thought it was good and I spent the entire time nitpicking for every error I could find. I guess you could say it’s a good thing, but it’s a hinderance. Instead of being excited or proud of this creative process, I am afraid to own these things I love to do.
I spent all afternoon looking through old doodles and my IB art book. If you don’t know what “IB” is, it’s unimportant. Just know that it’s what allowed me to graduate early and also where I learned to “b.s.” We had a sketch book where we were supposed to brainstorm ideas for projects. It was supposed to be completely research and planning. My teacher was generous in her grading since my five pages a week rarely consisted of that. More often they looked like this…
Each page turned into a project of its own, similar to how this blog is unfolding. While looking through all the pages, I realized that what I write and create has changed and matured much more than I thought it had. The thing is, I have this little knack, this thing that I love. It’s where I just take a phrase, a concept and write it down. I start to trace the letters, again and again. The key has always been in how you form your lines, the thickness, the curliness, the short, staccato, jagged edges. That’s where the words come alive. Then they turn into these images, these corresponding shapes and colors. It turns into something totally different from when I began. That’s what my art book is filled with. Pages of these words I couldn’t get out of my head. Pages of word-art. Word-watercolor-art. I guess I’ll call it my style. We all have one, right?
So this word-art thing has become a hobby, an obsession of sorts. Every holiday is an excuse to use it.
I honestly love every second of it. I spent twelve hours painting a water-color for a birthday present last year. Maybe you’re thinking, “twelve hours, really? That’s a little much.” Despite how odd it sounds, there is something seductively calming about the entire process. It’s absolutely mindless and pure, devoid of stress. The way my hands follow a line, tracing it, making it thicker until it reaches this state of near perfection in my eye. If I stare close enough, I always find an imperfection, a place where the line meanders from the path I wanted. The thing is, I love this. And it has taken me an incredibly long time to say that. An even longer time to actually consider doing something with it. Looking through all of these random pages in notebooks in my room, I don’t see how I ever considered just forgetting this. Just making it a thing to do when I was bored, when there were holidays near.
There are lines, right. And you learn to walk them. Well, I think sometimes, you have to learn to cross that line. It’s the sort of thing you have to own, as they say. You have to want it. So this is me, trying to figure out what I want. I’ve got these pieces, but I’m not too sure how to make them work. There are so many venues, so many opportunities. It’s a nice feeling, but it’s the type of thing that’s made me want to play it safe in the past. What I’m supposed to do is get a job. What I’m supposed to do is find a way to pay some bills. It’s always been what I’m supposed to do, right. I think maybe I’m supposed to do a little something else. Remember that list I mentioned? The one that I said was next to my bed? Well, this will be a part of it. And this will be one of those things that I will check. Dreams are supposed to be unrealistic and hard to reach, right? These random little things I call word-watercolor-art, they’re part of this dream I’m formulating. America is the place where dreams come true..or is that Disney..either way I think it’s about time I stop walking this line.