I am inspired by song lyrics sometimes, and I’ve thought about trying my hand at songwriting. (I once took a songwriting MOOC.) But when I sit down to write something meaningful, I often write a lot of mundane blah blah blah —the stuff my journals are filled with. (I recently had the revelation, when I thought to go back and read them, that my journals are most definitely NOT for reading. They are so boring. What they are for is for me. To write. To get my thoughts out. So I can move on with my life.)
I decided to write some of the nuggets of what I think about, what I care about, what makes me tick and what makes me ticked off. And what emerged was haiku. It’s very satisfying. Small contained packets, just manageable enough.
And here’s the interesting thing: I feel compelled to share this writing. I haven’t wanted to share my writing before. Unless I did years ago —back when I was part of a poetry group. (I believe that was a previous life. Ah yes, it was— it was pre-motherhood.) So here are a few of the ones I like best:
I note each hello.
Especially absent ones.
A once-friendly peer
smoothly avoids eye contact.
No need to say hi.
They are somewhat negative. Okay, maybe a couple that are on the more positive, or at least neutral, side:
I should not have to seek it.
Drop adult. Be child.
4. (on Sandy)
She is comfort, just
like the quilts she makes— care in
every stitch and word.
Well, this is not great. I don’t know how to code poetry so there aren’t great big spaces between each line. And I could probably go look it up, but it’s time for bed. For now, I will just let this post have to remain imperfect. This is not a happy thing for me. (Perhaps the subject of my next haiku!)
The idea of being an illustrator always scared me to death. But when I recently wrote up a list of “what I would do if I knew I could not fail,” I put down “Illustrator.” I was shocked to see it written there. I’d been running from illustration my whole life. “No! I couldn’t do that,” I always said. I always thought that an illustrator has a picture in his/her head and then puts it down on paper. Flawlessly. The first time. I don’t know why I thought that, but I did.
So now that I’m thinking about it a little more realistically (I hope), why not be an illustrator? Wow, I would love to do that! I have always loved children’s book illustrations, spot illustrations, magazine illustrations. You name it. And it’s closest to what I do. Haven’t people been telling me, “Your work is really more like illustration, isn’t it? Did you ever think about being an illustrator?”
But it still scares me.
I am exploring illustration ideas now. My first idea was to illustrate poems that I like. I thought I could maybe do a dozen or so and then put them all together into a hand-made book. Might as well give it a try.
Please know before you look at these drawings that I am being VERY COURAGEOUS by sharing these. The first one is terrible. Truly terrible –and the reason why I’ve always run (screaming? yeah, maybe) from Illustration (with a capital “I”). I’m not too happy with the second drawing either, although it is an improvement. The last two are just small thumbnails to try out some color and slight composition variations. The second of these… sigh. I like it. BUT…
But what, you ask? Well. It’s a thumbnail. And I like it. And I’m afraid to try to do it again on a full-size (or even half-size!) sheet of paper. Because how can it be as good as the thumbnail? Okay, so the thumbnail is not a masterpiece or anything, and yet I’m attached to it. I’m too attached. I can’t seem to let it go. And that’s the problem right now. I need to let it go so I can make another. (And another. And another.)
Why do I find this so gut-wrenching? Is this normal? Do you go through this?
By the way, the poem is called “Saturday at the Canal” by Gary Soto, if you’d like to look it up.
I have hated to answer this question when I’m out and meeting new people. Here’s a poem I wrote in the last five minutes of my writing time today:
When someone asks you, “What do you do?”
Don’t tell them “Mom.” Don’t stare at your shoe.
Look them in the eye and proudly say,
“I write and draw and walk and pray.”
Don’t let their looks of doubt prevent
Your smile and power; don’t explain what you meant.
Stand by your words and, loud and clear,
Display with your body your lack of fear.
Plainly express, “I am what I do.
And now –your turn– who exactly are you?”