What is wrong with you?
From someone on the outside, you like something simple. And yet the closer I get to you, the more complicated you are. You’re like a first love, you’re like adolescence, you’re like a cat.
I’d like to think that my art comes from words.
I’d like to think that my ultimate goal is to have something beautiful at the end of all the thinking and rewriting, like a sentence or a novel or a blog post. But more often than not, I stumble into the task. The words slip through my fingers like sugar and all I have is a sticky mess.
Art, why can’t you behave?
Why can’t you line your words up logically the first time, instead of me chasing after your mercurial thoughts? Why can’t you have a black and white answer? Why can’t I see the cause and effects simply? Why does there have to be a mystery? Why do you have to penetrate my soul so deeply?
Why are you so freaking hard?
(Writer scratches head and sighs.
Decides that if art was logical, predictable, black and white, a non-mysterious sequence of causes and effects, it wouldn’t be art.
It would be math. )
Art, you are spilled paint and dried up markers.
You are the improvisational banter in the kitchen. You are the last minute handmade birthday card. You are the in the thumbing of the rhythm on the steering wheel while I sing Taylor Swift with my kids. You are the loaf of bread I baked this afternoon. You are lofty and unreachable when I think of your associations with DaVinci and Michaelangelo. You are deceptive when I think of Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Baryshnikov who appear to fly. You are down to earth when you inspire B.B.King and Joni Mitchell. Your wit is as quick as lightning when I see you in Flannery O’Connor and Mark Twain.
You are full of contradictions. You are full of whimsy. You are serious and playful. You are hard as a diamond and soft as a kitten. You make Mary Cassatt my comfort food and Bon Jovi my anthem.
What frustrates me about you is our wrestling matches. We battle over the trivial: the names of the characters, the name of the street they live on, the exact motion of their eyes when their lover enters the room. And sometimes I forget, even though I should know better, that you are not always present in the details, but to look for you in the big picture and the details will come. You are what my muse and I have made and often you are as uncontrollable as a newborn child.
Why do I labor so much for you?
You have consumed me. You have propelled me. You were with me as a child when I rearranged by heart shape collages on Valentine’s Day. You were with me when I tried to recreate Laura Ingalls in my 1970s way. You have always been with me when I thought something was pretty, when I thought something was clever, when I thought something was brilliant. You were there to lead me and move me. You silenced the voices around me that told me I couldn’t. You were the one that prodded me on.
I see now that you are in me and I am in you.
When I string my words together like beads on a wire I am speaking your language, I am calling out to your children. When I look at my collections of ideas like big messes and piles and want them all the harmonize into something fantastic and special, it’s because I want to please you. When I am seduced by the charms of my muse and follow her to the dark corners it’s you I hope to find. You are the one that created my eyes to see the value in blank canvas, to see the potential in the pallet of colors, to long for more vibrancy and dynamic, more movement and more passion. It is for the sake of art.
Even today when I sit here and feel the rhythm of the keys under my fingertips, I hope that I will form the crude raw materials of what can be fine. I hope that a germ of an idea will take root and grow into something. I’ve seen the sturdy creations in my hands before and they are breathtaking and I am proud, but how I want another one. How I want to hold it in my hand again.
Art, you are my first love. You are my obsession. You are a part of me.
Oh art, you exasperate and befuddle me, but I love you so.
Never ever leave me.
Art? Please never let me go.
Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward, PTSD survivor, and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. She blogs at www.10minutenovelist.com. She lives in Massachusetts with her family. Her new novel, Soulless Creatures, which is about two 18 year old boys, not vampires, will be released August 2015.