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What Do I Do? --A Poem
Proud to be a creator
I am proud to be an artist, but I still sometimes cringe when I’m asked what my profession is. I have made money through the sale of paintings and illustrations or designing a logo, but it isn’t always how I get the bills paid. Despite another “day” job, I am by nature a creator, and that is how I describe myself when asked. I still endure the occasional smirk or condescending remark that typically comes from those who don’t see writing or art as real work—they believe it to be an indulgence of little consequence and certainly not something to be paid for. I am at peace with the choices I have made, but I’m also alert to the opinions of others who believe I should have become something different or, perhaps, something more.
An artist at work
What do you do for a living?
What do I do?
I dream. I wonder what is beyond my reach and try to touch it.
I stretch canvas and staple it to wood.
I endeavor to create a space of light and shape and color, all in a way no one has ever before envisioned it.
I attempt to create beauty where it otherwise did not exist.
I mix paint, move it around, scrape it, and sometimes remove it. I give the paint texture, shape and the illusion of light and shadow.
I seek images in the swirl of colors and integrate them into my visions to form new patterns.
I capture a moment in time and transform it into a new reality.
I paint in the night when I should be resting, returning the next morning to continue my work.
I walk through doors open only to me.
I paint a landscape with a crash of waves upon a rocky shore, and my heart crashes with the waves.
I strain to unleash both images and emotions in a style I can call my own.
I depict the majesty of a spring storm. I am the storm.
Really? Any money in that?
A Note from the Author
It has been several years since I hastily penned this poem, which was as much as anything a tribute to the creative process. My words contained a hint of frustration, I confess. I was frustrated with the misconceptions many people carry about art and artists. The idea some people carry that what we do is easy or without true importance burdened me. The notion that my creative efforts could be the target of ridicule and derision angered me, particularly since my work was previously mocked in the name of "humor". The idea that nothing matters unless there is a clearly defined monetary value assigned to it troubled me.
It is several years later, and I continue to create. I remain hard at work, offering the beauty of writing and drawing as part of what I refer to as an "upward trend in the universe". I am committed to the goal of creating in the face of pain or adversity, but more than that--I am resolved to speak out about the financial struggles of creators everywhere and perhaps someday supply answers. I am steadfast in the belief that art makes a difference in people's lives. It isn't about money, although creators should be compensated for the monumental work they undertake to share their vision of the world. It's about affecting people. It's about making a difference. The difference might seem small and perhaps inconsequential, but it is not. A well crafted painting or a suspenseful novel is important. It has value and meaning.
Many people will continue to see writers, artists or musicians as insignificant in the scheme of things. A landscape painting is not work in the same manner as teaching children or building roads--at least in the minds of some. It is the same, though--it is as real and valuable and noble as any profession. Creativity is just as worthy of your support and understanding as any field of endeavor. It is a noble mission and a solemn duty. It is a significant part of the upward trend.
Thank you for reading.
Poems and thoughts about creativity from the author
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