Sometimes I make myself dizzy, spinning this way and that.
The two years I spent in Grass Valley were dedicated to my life as a novelist. I studied, wrote and lived the life of my characters, loving every minute of it. As I approached my move to Mexico, I had one novel in the final revision stage, a follow-on, well-begun novel that was going to be set in San Miguel de Allende, and a 55,000 word novel that I had drafted during NaNoWriMo. (There's still time to sign up ... go for it if it interests you at all.)
I wrote every day, forked out a bunch of money for a brilliant, hands-on coaching course, went to writing conferences, forced myself to meet agents, and, in general, was living the life of a budding novelist. Life in Mexico and a long fiction series about the adventures of an older woman were completely mapped out. I was ready to move on, settle down, and get cracking.
What do they say about the best laid plans?
She is definitely laughing.
|Even the walls talk to me here.
When I arrived in Mexico, however, the only thing I wanted to do was take pictures. “That’s normal,” I thought. “I’m in a new place filled with color, culture and curious new sights.” I thought I’d get back to work soon.
Didn’t happen. My camera was filling me with joy. When an online photo artistry course came along, I started making digital art again … something that I had not done for the two years I was in Grass Valley while focusing on fiction.
Love bloomed. I was making art from photos, joining the local art society, exhibiting in a show, going deeper and deeper into art and photography. I even sold a couple of pieces. I didn’t want to write … well, blogs maybe, but not the marathon of a novel. I was done with being a writer; I was now an artist.
Of course, there is a however. I started hanging out with a poet/writer, reading our writings to each other. Soon, we invited another writer to join us and called ourselves a salon. I was forced to dig up writings from my past in order to have something to read. Reading them was like having tea with old friends. Plus, part of our process was to do a 5-minute free write to get us warmed up. Strange stuff started showing up, tapping me on the shoulder, saying, “Are you sure you’re done with writing?"
“Yes, I am done. I want to make art, make images, delve into new worlds through those images. Writing a novel is too much work, too black and white. I want color."
“Okay? That’s it? Just okay?"
Your circus; your monkey. Do what you want.
“Okay. I will."
You would think by now that I wouldn’t be surprised by turns in the road. But, unfortunately, they still catch me off guard. I’m cruising along. The road is going straight. I’m lined up with the road. I can sit back and coast for awhile. You know what’s coming, don’t you?
Shortly after arriving in Mexico as I was deep into the wonder of capturing images of all the new things I was seeing, an ad for an online photo artistry course appeared in my inbox. I signed up immediately and started making art every day.
I was in a new world and it was heaven, so when a bigger, better course was offered, I signed up for that, too. Suddenly, I was part of a community of photo artists. I had found my tribe. I was on the right path. The road was straight and I didn’t have to worry about curves.
Without warning, the road forked. I could continue on, or I could take the road less travelled. Damn Frost, anyway!
I thought I’d just peek to see where the fork was headed. Within a few minutes, I saw the signs, spread out over the hills and valleys like the old Burma Shave messages:
Put your images
together with your words.
Tell your story
Quill and Camera is the site and new offering of Sebastian Michaels, known as the father of digital art and the developer of Awake, the photo artistry program I’m so delighted with. Now he is creating a new course for artists who want to write (or vice versa) and is offering it to all of us in his Awake students for free.
I couldn’t open the first lesson fast enough. So, here I am spinning again. This time, though, the colors are lovely and I don’t feel dizzy. I feel like I’ve been handed an E-ticket. (For those of you not old enough to know about things like E-tickets, they were the golden passes to the best rides at Disneyland.)
Interesting ... one of the first pieces of digital art I made after joining the Awake program was called, "Coming Together." It now seems like a foreshadowing.
Bring it on, World … let’s play!