You may have noticed that my art skills are not the equal of my writing skills.
Hey, it’s true. I know I can write, and write well. I have a certain mastery of grammar, and my own idiosyncrasies, and deep knowledge of stories, mythology, folklore, fantasy—and there is still so much for me to learn. But I’ll be the first to admit my art skills have reached no levels of mastery yet! I can accept that, and be at peace with it; but it also drives me to continue learning.
Why the discrepancy, anyway?
Once upon a time there was a maiden with a pen in her hand, a protege, lauded for her excellent language skills. Everyone expected her to go on to do great things at university. Everyone told her she was a great writer; no one really cared that she doodled incessantly, that art made her catch her breath and bite her lip and press her hands to her breast in excitement. She was clearly marked to be an academic, and a writer, and that was her destiny.
Guided by her elders, and never thinking to ask the right questions, this foolish innocent thought that she must choose: mastery over language, or mastery over art. So for five long years she laid down her pencil and brushes and her dreams of colour and form and light. Instead she touched only the pen, and devoted herself to story and poem.
And when she graduated, and let loose upon the world, she was thirsty, starved. She picked up the pencil, and she began to draw, and draw, and draw. She hated everything she did. She cursed the academic world and how foolish she’d been to abandon this hungry part of herself.
I don’t regret the writing degree part, though, I should mention that. That focussed attention and practice improved my skills so much. My main regret was that I didn’t double-major in art, because if I’d been making art through university, studying methods and techniques, and growing through the criticisms and suggestions of teachers and peers, I’d have grown considerably.
Hindsight is 20/20.
So here I am, knowing my art isn’t quite in step with my writing (yet). I could let that beat me down, or embarrass me, but you know what? I’m really proud that I figured out that I loved art so much that I didn’t care if it sucked. I just want to do it. Even if it makes my eyes cross. Falling short of my ideals just makes me want to reach them that much more.