Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I finished the background texture yesterday and spent a lot of time cutting out tiny things - many of which won't ever make it onto this canvas. Not sure exactly what the composition will be yet, but I x-acto'd some very thin branches in brown, sea blue, and purple.
This is the part of artmaking I struggle with the most (I almost typed "hate," but that's too strong, or too difficult to admit): the part where it's still perfect - in my mind and on the canvas - but anything I do from here on could screw it up irreparably. Well, probably not irreparably, since I'm working with acrylic, but I can assure you, I have many unfinished oil paintings that will probably never be redeemed. Not to mention manuscripts.
I keep getting all these wonderful ideas for Creed, and I see them forming in my mind and how it will all fit together and how each character's particularities of existence will affect one another and the story...and it's still so perfect, there in my mind alone. Which is sad. People make art by making bad art, and just...art. By moving forward, getting past the worry that it will never be as perfect on paper as it is in my mind (which it never will be, I hear from my great mentors).
I just came home from the kickoff SCBWI WWA meeting with the very charming Alexandra Penfold, who quoted Madeleine L'Engle: "My job is to serve the book to the best of my ability, which is never good enough, but all I can do is listen to it, do what it tells me and collaborate." And Joseph Heller: "Every writer I know has trouble writing." Whew. Now that that's settled, I should probably get back to work.
Lots of people suggest questioning your characters, but Ms. Penfold offered us a couple of gems: how do your characters see themselves, and how do they want everyone else to see them? A secondary character, whose story arc has just recently become clear to me, popped out and said, "Hey, that one's for me." So I asked her. And suddenly I had the why's behind the how's, and even what catalyzes one of the story's central scenes. Nice.
Today's entry in My Utmost for His Highest included the sentence, "Crises always reveal character." I'm certain Mr. Chambers was speaking of spiritual life versus writing life, but it holds true for both. Getting past perfection is a crisis for me. But that's where character comes in - mine, and the fictional ones I hope to create.
So I guess that means...I will have to use glue to make something stick. Then add paint. Then step back and see what it all means, and keep moving forward.