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Turn and Face the Strange

Turn and Face the Strange

I believe it’s been about a year now since my computer died and disrupted my art making. The replacement has been invaluable to me, since it’s my only means of earning income. But I’ve been struggling since then to do art. I have been feeling an obligation to do it because of the donations I received to get a new computer and for my Patreon patrons. So I have been trying to force myself to do it, thinking that if I can just push myself enough, I will get back into it.

But it doesn’t work. I force myself to do it, and it feels like work. I’m not getting the flow feeling from it at the moment. It’s all effort and no enjoyment, and that shows in the end result. The work I have been doing has been inferior, and for that reason I can’t in good conscience accept commissions. I know there are some who will say that the work is still good, but I can see it and feel it, and I am ashamed to put that kind of work out there.

And so I feel like I need to just let myself not do art for a while. I know I will come back to it. I always do. I have taken years off from doing art, and I still came back to it, stronger than before. I hope my break will not be that long this time, and I don’t think it will. I am still doing some art, after all. I’m still drawing the Thank You cards I am sending to donors, and I still very much enjoy doing that. It’s just drawing whatever comes out, without purpose or intention other than filling the blank space. But full-on painting feels out of my reach at the moment.

Creative endeavors aren’t limited to painting, however. In addition to the drawings, I have also been working on writing. Ever since I was a teenager I have been driven to write, and that desire has been pushed aside and deprioritized for far too long.

Verbal communication has always been very difficult for me, often near impossible, and I always felt like I could never communicate to others what was in my head. Then I started getting writing assignments in my English classes that were not book reports or literary analysis. They were creative writing assignments, though not fiction. We had to write about things that happened in our lives.

I discovered that not only did I do really well with these assignments, but I also really enjoyed doing them. I had finally found a way to express the thoughts and experiences that had previously never found their way out of my head. I started writing things on my own time. And, as I’d long been an avid reader, I started writing fiction as well.

I still have a lot of it from back then. It was terrible. But I didn’t let that stop me from doing it. Just by doing the writing, and by reading, I was learning how to be a better writer. I even began college as a creative writing major. I loved it that much.

I became deterred, however, when I discovered that very few of the required courses for the degree had anything to do with creative writing. I wasn’t interested in literary analysis. I wasn’t interested in journalism. And I definitely wasn’t interested in public speaking. So I changed my major to Applied Media Art instead and just took the creative writing classes as electives.

(Later, when pursuing a second degree from the Art Institute, a single required public speaking class caused me to choose to not finish the degree rather than take the class.)

I should say that I didn’t have difficulty with the literature and journalism classes. In fact, one professor, who was also the head of the school newspaper, said that he gave me the first A+ he had ever given on a paper. And he was not a young man. It was simply that I wasn’t interested in doing that kind of writing.

I guess this kind of behavior is typical for autistic people, but I was undiagnosed at the time and no one understood. I regret not following through, as I see now how those things would be beneficial. (Okay, maybe not the public speaking one.) I wish that I had had someone who could have made me understand at the time.

Now it’s time for me to stop deprioritizing writing. There are so many things that I want to write about, and I just don’t do it. Now I need to actually do it. I know I am rusty, but I’m never going to stop being rusty unless I actually do something about it.

That is what I am focusing on now, rather than art. I have several books that I want to create and (self-) publish. But since I am also an artist, illustration will be not a small part of them as well. My books aren’t going to be all text. For that reason alone, I know that I will come back around to doing more art again.

I am planning on updating my website to reflect my changing priorities, and I hope to update my Patreon account to something that makes more sense for me. I hope to be writing a lot more blog posts on various topics which are the focus of my interests. And I have exciting ideas about future posts relating to my fiction.

So stay tuned for ch-ch-ch-changes.