Writing in a café in Kranj, Slovenia
Throughout my life the assumption has repeatedly been made that because I am an artist (include writer in that title), I must therefore be flighty, impractical, moody and disorganized.
Oh, and most likely a drug addict and/or alcoholic, have loose morals and most definitely, my bedroom must be a mess. The list goes on.
“Artists are ‘all over the place,’ aren’t they?”
All over what place? All over the world? Because I have traveled all over the world, but I did it with super organized planning and a dedication and determination to accomplish important goals.
If you want to describe me as a high achiever, I’m fine with that. If you want to say, wow, you sure have an imagination that is bigger than most, that’s okay too. It you want to say I am a visionary, hey, I don’t mind. If you want to say I am a pain in the ass because I never give up, even when it seems like no one could care less about what I am creating, I will give you a high-five. And, if you want to point out that I spend days, months and years working on projects that do not seem to make me a whole lot of money, I will have to agree with you.
One of my pieces of artwork inspired by a story I wrote, The Pool of Labrith, which I have yet to see published.
BUT, don’t dare to suggest that I am disorganized. I really take offense to that. I cannot create in chaos. I have to have a clean and orderly environment in order for me to focus.
Although, I must say, even when my kids were little, I could sit down at the table and focus despite the chaos of them running around and playing and crawling under my feet. I could get up, make the lunch, come back and enter the world of my imagination once again. It wasn’t easy, mind you, but it was out of necessity. It was an acceptable chaos, of a positive nature: my children growing before me. It was not the chaos of a disorganized mind.
And no, I do not wait for inspiration to strike. If I did, I would not have nineteen children’s books published and numerous essays and short stories. I would not have won awards, co-founded a creative writing nonprofit and now, at last realized my dream of Key of Mystery, the first book in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, being published.
Accepting the WOMAN OF DISTINCTION AWARD from the Soroptimists
I do not have to be drunk or high. I confess to having tried marijuana a few times and it was not for me. I have never used any other drugs, no exaggeration. Never. I cannot stand being drunk, but I love a glass of wine or a gin and tonic. Yes, I was young once…. I do know how to have a good time, but I don’t need to be high for that.
College party at St. John’s College, York, England. The artist paints herself as if she is a garden, sort of.
I am self-disciplined and I work out almost every single day. I do not indulge my feelings, I set goals and go at them with energy. And I teach boxing and kickboxing at a martial arts gym.
Where I used to teach, I now teach at House of Champions
Of course, there are artists who have drug problems, who are messy, who are impractical. There are lazy people and driven people in every field. There are also messy plumbers who are like that, and drug-addicted doctors (unfortunately) and even impractical lawyers. You can’t automatically lump one group of people together and assume they are all a certain way.
Now, I might not be a drug addict, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have other issues. I am not good at picking the right men to marry, that is for sure. And I can get depressed about life in general. Like everyone, I have my own weaknesses that I need to overcome. Just don’t put me in a box. I most certainly will jump out.
One thing all us artists will agree on is that it is a lonely calling and requires a huge amount of self-discipline and self-motivation. You are not punching a time-clock. No one is telling you to get the job done. Creating my NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES series meant a few years of dogged writing, where no one but myself was encouraging me to do it. There is the danger of beginning to suffer from a myopic view of your art, leading to doubt and discouragement.
Such an amazing moment, to see my book in print after so much hard work for so long.
But, if you are determined and self-disciplined, you do not rely on your feelings, good or bad. You keep on going.
Never give up, never give in. Write or die. Might sound extreme, but that is my motto, because being an artist is as much a part of me as breathing.