My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the King; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. - Psalm 45:1 King James Version
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. - Psalm 90:17
And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, … to work in all manner of workmanship. … and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded ... - Ex 31:3 King James Version

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. - Psalm 19:1 King James Version
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. - Psalm 33:6 King James Version

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. - Psalm 90:1-2

Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. - Nehemiah 9:6 King James Version

For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name. - Amos 4:13 King James Version

About Me Header

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ABOUT ME

About Me

About Me

About Me Text

My heart is sore pained within me:
and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me,
and horror hath overwhelmed me.
I will call upon God;
and the Lord shall save me.
Evening, and morning, and at noon,
will I pray, and cry aloud:
and he shall hear my voice.



I am a Speculative Fiction writer who is a Christian and struggles with depression, which, until recently (2016ish), went undiagnosed since at least high school.
Sometimes, way too often, I fail God, but He picks me up, cleans me up, and helps me to continue on the journey of living life and writing for Him.

My childhood home was Alaska, where I had a fair share of adventures, and misadventures, including surviving the largest recorded earthquake to hit the North American continent.
I attended college in Oregon, and currently reside in the Seattle area. Many of my Works in Progress take place in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

In 2nd grade I became an avid reader, and in 7th grade I began the struggle with myself, and God, of whether or not I wanted to accept the title "Writer."

Since JAN 2016 I've been taking Prozac and am again working on this blog as a way for me to get myself to work on self-assigned writing projects, a way to encourage myself to get on with the adventure of being a Spec Fic writer.

01 August 2016

What Does it Mean to be "A Starving Artist?" OR Why I Write Speculative Fiction.

Good Morning Campers.
We were going to interrupt our regular schedule for a special blog post.  My counselor, Eric, asked me to write an "essay" on what it would be like to be "A Starving Artist." Eric wanted this the next time we were to meet, which originally gave me
2 1/2 weeks for this project.  Sooooo my regularly scheduled blogging was going to be pre-empted for this project. 

But the morning of the appointment Eric called and said he had to cancel all of his appointments for that day.  So now the pre-empted schedule has been pre-empted.  And I will resume my regular posting schedule with this article, and Eric can read it next time we actually meet.  And I will use this next month to catch up on writing what I didn't focus on during the last 3 weeks.

I guess this will get me ready to have to take editorial redirection in my writing plans, as I have to shift from one project to another.

As I struggled to put down coherent thoughts, the first draft of this article, like most, if not all, had grown excessively long.  And even with what I've cut, it seems like it's still going to be longer than my earlier posts.

An artist is never finished with his work, he just finally has to abandon it.  So here we go. You've been warned. 

When Eric gave me this assignment, I knew it would take up the time I would normally spend writing blog articles, that's why I wanted to post this, to try to keep up on a schedule.  Sorry it's so long.

I considered breaking this into separate posts, but decided against it, since I was able to add the anchors to each part and link to those anchors below, to enable readers to break this into smaller chunks of reading, without having to search where they may have left off in their reading.
  

PART 1

At this point, I suppose being a starving artist would be no worse than being on assistance for disability due to the depression I've been fighting.  Now that I'm on the Prozac, maybe I will start winning those battles, and get off assistance.

Hopefully the fact I've been writing more regularly is indicative that I am starting to win some of the battles.  Because at this point I'm thinking the starving artist thing is looking better and better.  Even though when I started writing in 7th grade I didn't want to be a starving artist.  Even though I still don't want to be just a starving artist.

What sparked this assignment from my counselor?

I suppose the assignment may stem from the fact I was telling Eric about the night when as I lay in bed I was thinking about all the various drawing videos I'd recently watched.

Or the assignment may have been due to the fact that I was talking to Eric so much about my writing, even this blog.

I started realizing I'm thinking differently about writing.
I used to say things like: "I started liking writing …," etc.
I now catch myself saying things like: "I started writing …," etc.
I recognized I was using the phrase " being a writer..," etc.,  while talking to Eric about being a writer, and then pointing out to him that I had noticed that.
I know these are small changes in wording, but to me they represent a big difference in how I look at my writing and at being a writer.

I may have also let slip that I've recently had the wild brained idea that I want to learn the sax, so I could play the blues.  However, if I could actually afford a sax, and lessons, I could afford to get a new camera, which I would do first.  And repair my 2-legged tripod.

At least drawing pencils and sketchbooks are fairly inexpensive.  And lessons on YouTube videos are free.  Free is good.

As I work on this assignment from Eric, I look back at the article "Reflections."  Again thoughts race through my mind, thoughts covering everything from childhood to recent events, regarding my experience with art, and I am having a very difficult time focusing on what to write.

Thoughts also race through my mind about this blogging I'm doing.  Thoughts about doing this writing assignment as an article to post.  Will it help me to write more?  Will it do my writing any good??  Will it do me any good?  Will I do anything with what I write??  Will any of you care?  Will there even be "any of you" by this point?  And what about all this drawing stuff? Where does it fit?  If you made it this far, congratulations.



PART 2

What does it mean to be "A Starving Artist?"  Shoot, what does it mean to be an artist, period?

I suppose it means putting up with comments like "Art is just a hobby."  So says one "friend."  I think he includes writing in that statement, as well as my newly revived pursuit of drawing.  According to him I'm wasting my time.   I don't need that negativity. I believe his comment came during a discussion in which I told said friend about the drawing videos I'd mentioned to Eric - oops, and double oops.

This interest in drawing isn't something new. 

Recently I found some old drawing videos I had saved about 3 years ago.  I went back to YouTube to see what new videos the artists had put up.  I ended up not even watching the videos by those artists, as I found videos by other artists I liked better.

When I first started watching the videos I was just watching them for something educational to pass the time while taking a break from my writing.  And of course I had to mention both the writing efforts and the drawing videos to Eric.  I wasn't really engaged in the videos, as far as taking notes, etc., but soon I began to feel a reignited interest in drawing and dug out old drawing supplies that had lain forgotten, and gathering dust.

I found some old receipts in those forgotten and dusty supplies.  Some of the supplies are a dozen years old.  And some go back 2 decades to the drawing class I took in college for an elective.  This after being turned off from anything having to do with art in my high school art class - hmmmm, maybe why the supplies lay forgotten.  Also, at some point during the last 15 years, or so, I collected images to use as practice drawing subjects.  I also did still life setups to photograph and study for lighting and shadows.  After I started watching videos again I added more potential practice subjects to my collection.

Soon  after I started scribbling in one of my sketchbooks I became more actively engaged in paying attention to the videos, and started taking notes, rather than just passively listening.  This note taking was in the form of journaling in my sketch book, instead of jotting notes on scraps of paper, as I had done in the past, and then I would have to track down the scraps to do something with the notes.

Sometimes, I'm not able to focus enough to take notes, so I just watch to take a break from whatever else I am doing, like this blog article for Eric's writing assignment.  But eventually I go back to the other videos to continue taking notes.  Either way, I also I usually listen to 98.1 King FM  Classical Radio's Evergreen Channel  during the day to feed my creativity in general.

Beside finding videos on how to draw I also found videos on artists, and on being an artist.



PART 3

Maybe being "A Starving Artist" means associating with other "Starving Artists," and living in an "Artist Community," whatever that means.  That would mean pure torture for me.  Maybe, it means, like some of them, signing up on Patreon or another crowd funding site like GoFundMe, and asking total strangers for help.

Maybe, like they discussed on Writing Excuses, it means suffering from Impostor Syndrome.  Or maybe it means really being an imposter.
There are so many "artists" I really don't want to be associated with.

Some of the videos I found was a bunch of TedX  "rah rah rah."  I don't do very well with "rah rah rah."

Other videos I found were along the lines of what to do or not to do as an artist, at least one was even aimed at "Starving Artists," others were Advice to Young Artists, and artists discussing their childhoods. 

A lot, or enough, of these "artists" look like burned out dopers.  So do some of those in the audience.
And, what they call "art," well….

A lot of people argue that art is a way to say something.
Yet others say things like "Art doesn't have to have meaning."
So what you are saying then has no meaning.

And then there was the statement "Art is only for the 'open-minded'." 
Really?  That doesn't seem to be very "open-minded."

Everybody seems to have an opinion, an untrained/uneducated opinion on what is "art."
Or they are over-educated and everybody oooos and ahhhhs over the so-called "artist," and thinks everything they say about art is so "deep."
No, it makes no sense, and you are afraid to say so.
Whereas, with math, there is a correct answer.

Hence my past reluctance, even continuing, even growing, reluctance as being seen as an "artist," starving, or not, and why I've stayed away from "art."

I do believe there is Absolute Truth, that there are things that are right and things that are wrong, regardless of what culture claims.  And I believe that true art reflects that these things are so.
And if you disagree, my truth is still valid, because if there is no Absolute Truth then my truth is just as valid as your truth, according to the logic that there is no Absolute Truth.  Therefore if I think what you call "art" is a pile of trash thrown against a wall, then you shouldn't be insulted.  After all my truth is my truth, and you say all truths are valid.  And … wait a minute.  Where is this all going?

Just like math having a correct answer, I believe there is true art, and there is, well, garbage.  "There is a certain sense in which art is its own justification. If art is good art, if it is true art, if it is beautiful art, then it is bearing witness to the Author of the good, the true, and the beautiful."  Our "impetus for producing … art is a desire for excellence. That desire stems from the … supreme example of excellence in all that is good and true and beautiful." - R.C. Sproul's teaching series about Recovering the Beauty of The Arts, and blog posts on The Christian and Art (Part One, Part Two, and Part Three).

That's why I write Speculative Fiction. 

Why, other than our own local Northwest Christian Writers' Association Facebook group, Realm Makers is one of the only groups I still follow, after almost totally disconnecting myself from Facebook, and I hope to be able to go to the Realm Makers conference one day soon .  (The 2016 conference just finished up, and the 2017 conference will be in Reno.)  Why I enjoy the Faith and Fantasy Alliance blog.


Why I am also in the middle of  creating a new blog, called "Strange Realms - Spectacularly Redeemed."  I intend it to provide Christian Speculative Fiction writers, and readers "A Place of Hope.  A Place of Light.  A Place of Healing.  A Place of Life." I intend for it to spectacularly redeem the creation of strange realms in speculative fiction as an art form. 



                                                               


Why I am thinking of also creating a Strange Realms - Spectacularly Redeemed Facebook group for those who would be interested.  It would be open to all Christian Spec Fic writers, and readers, whereas the  NCWA Spec Fic group is intended to be a smaller, local group, so if anyone wants to join, let me know, here in the comments or tag me in Facebook.



So what does it mean to be "A Starving Artist?"  I still have no idea.

Maybe, just maybe, being "A Starving Artist" means being human, and letting friends know your needs, hopes, and dreams.  Great Scott.




Maybe it means being open and taking what was originally an assignment from my mental health counselor, and posting it as a rambling blog article (That's just crazy talk).  Maybe it means being where I am right now.  Maybe it means I'm heading in the right direction.

If I am going to be a writer, an author, an artist, an illustrator, a photographer, I will have to submit my work to someone to criticize and judge. 

I better start growing that extra layer of RINOTuff  ™  Skin now.  (I wonder if it comes in camo?)