Wednesday, February 6, 2019


It is the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writers' Support Group. This group, which I've been a member of for as long as I can remember, is a group of writers devoted to sharing triumphs and failures, and to celebrating the 'pitter-patter-let's-fly-atter' nature of the intrepid writer. We meet monthly (first Wednesday of every month) to offer support, encouragement, and timely tips - or to share our fears and neurosis in an open and nurturing environment. I missed January and was beside myself for doing so. No, actually I wasn't. I really think there should be a week between the 31st of December and the start of the new year. A week of WTF do you mean we've entered a new year? I don't even have the tinsel out of my hair (it was a party filled time)! But, in the proper IWSG fashion, I got up, dusted off my knees and got back on the horse. 

The (optional) question this month is "Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?" How extremely timely this is. I have a gazillion creative projects always on the go. I am a photographer, I draw and paint, I make dolls and occasionally quilts or hooked rugs. I sometimes get a hankering to make a little scene in a box, or knit a scarf that might wrap the neighborhood in wild colours. My dancing is sporadic but joyful and my singing is constant but always without an audience (except for the grade twos who always encouraged me - bless them). I love to cook and reinvent recipes. I have done ikebana once or twice. I act and clown. I used to sculpt and I sometimes long to do that again - but it is so ridiculously dependent on space and materials that I tried carving avocado pits last year. Not one of my finer moments but it was great to give it a whirl. I've done papier-mâché and felting. I embroider but only for love. I've made tiny worlds in a teacup, pine-needle sachets, small books, painted porcelain, and tiny shrines. 

Here are the things I come back to again and again - writing and drawing. I will have long and good spurts of doll-making as well but the episodes of it might happen decades apart. 

In the last few years I've kept up my writing and have finished a collection of poems, two novels ready to be published, about four others in various stages and a memoir. I've also written a few murder mysteries to be performed for an evening entertainment and half of a full new play. I've filled up endless sketchbooks and have thousands of photos. 

Lately, and why this question is so timely, I've been considering that I put more energy into my art than into my writing. I know there are very good reasons for this. It is hard to continue to create novels that are tricky to sell. My art is for me - I share it on social media but I do not give a care what others think of it. It is all for the doing, which I find a blissful state. Sometimes writing is like that - I'd say it pretty much is with my poetry - but not with the novels. Why? Because I've wanted to write BOOKS since I was eight. That's it - plain and simple. My darn ego has been entranced for fifty-nine years - massaged and contorted by pretty much me and a couple of other folks (my grade two teacher has a lot to answer for and I do not remember her name). 

This year I decided I would draw a tree a day. I thought that would be a great project and so far it is. I figure by Christmas this year I'll be a helluva tree drawer (or painter - the medium isn't such a big deal in this). It has consumed a huge chunk of my creative side. Everyday I sit down to draw or paint a tree or trees that I am either resting my actual eyes upon or from a photo that I have taken. I post them on Instagram and make no comments whatsoever about them. Having a year to do it means I don't fuss over each one - I do my best but I think of them as a work in progress - part of a master plan.  I'll put a couple of my drawings in here for your pleasure. (I hope)


Anonymous said...

I love that artwork, Jan. And I couldn't agree more that doing something creative can really boost writing, and keep one in touch with one's creative side. That fuels the passion for writing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

There's something about creating for the joy, without a care. Probably why I like playing my guitar more. I don't have to sell it.

Ellen Cordery said...

Jan, your trees are beautiful! I can totally relate to putting more energy into my art than my writing, even though I would really really like to make writing my full time job! Maybe that's why ... as you say, making art is for that bliss, while writing is for the ego.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love the trees! And I love how creative and crafty you are. I wish I could do all those things...I'm just a one-trick pony.

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Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

You're so creative! I love the drawings of the tree branches.

Ronel visiting for Feb's IWSG Day Being an Insecure Writer -- And Happy About It

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