Monday, January 26, 2009

artsy vs crafty.

Nine years old and Judy Blume is the only thing that makes sense. Fourty-five and between doing the dishes and raising kids, you’ve discovered your destiny: to be rural British Columbia’s answer to Danielle Steel.

“I want to be a writer.” Your vision becomes tunneled. There is nothing standing between you and a large cult following, Time Magazine cover shot, and movie deal. Except, work?
The map of a creative heart is as follows: The left atrium is filled solely with the ego, swelling and deflating; the right ventricle is, in essence, a five year old boy. Left of some far vessel, just right of the darkest cockle, is the part of the heart that houses the soul. It is in that very spot that the artist and the craftsman live. These two are poles apart in practice, but forced to work together by the nature of the creative beast.

It may be true that the creative process for your inner artist is hopping from party to party describing your passions to attractive strangers who want nothing more than to offer you movie deals and mountains of cocaine. Your craftsman, however, is sitting in front of a mess of first drafts, unwashed and underpaid, furiously scribbling on yet another masterpiece. It is in the acquaintance of these two people, that you can begin to define your creative process.

No aspect of the arts is more romanticized than the lives of the artists themselves. They lead Lives rich with strife, torrid love affairs and substance abuse. For many, following in the footsteps of the greats does not begin with studying their ways and mastering their crafts. The first step into the artistic process is often found at the bottom of a bottle, the end of a pack of cigarettes.

Every time someone opens a copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, five more drop acid. For every ten college dropouts who crack the spine of On the Road, there are twenty more buying a bottle of whiskey and heading for the train tracks. Is questing after the same experience as your idols a form of dedication, or a means to distraction?
When is the line drawn between eccentricity and substance abuse? Is it when you’ve been drunk for three weeks and the only writing you’ve done is your phone number on beer mats? Easily justified as research for the upcoming novel about a young girl’s budding sexuality in the Victoria bar circuit? When are you procrastinating as opposed to preparing? Is it when you’ve gone back to The Papery four times comparing pen tips and paper thickness? Let pure logic draw those lines.

Webster’s online dictionary defines a writer as: A person who is able to write and has written something. Meaning, the words must be on the page. Words on the page being read by someone else are even better, but one must start somewhere. Writers write. An necessary and at times unpleasant truth, that refuses to be changed by drunken proclamations of “Well, I’m a writer myself” into someone else’s gin and tonic.


  1. You amaze me with your talents Suz.. you are a great writer. I can't wait till the day I get go and buy a copy of your book!

  2. I say, get some whiskey and hit the tracks. Miles Davis once stated in a downbeat interview:

    "If I could do it all again, I wouldn't listen to jazz, because everyone is just copying everybody else."

    He said that in 1967! before he went hard into the fusion movement. before In a Silent Way and before Bitches Brew! He obviously took his own advice and destroyed jazz forever.