Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ear Relevance

“Stop making sense.”
--Talking Heads
I get this ear-ie feeling sometimes that I'm not making any sense. Or if I am making sense, it doesn’t mean anything to anyone but me.

Maybe that is nonsense. Or maybe it is just being ear-rational. But everyone wants to be relevant.

I’d just like to leave this world thinking I contributed something besides a pumpkin carved in my image and likeness (though it was graven). It’s easier to think you will make your mark on the world when you are young. When you are middle aged, you start to realize that leaving a mark in the world is a bit like writing your name on a sandy beach with the tide coming in.

When I was young, I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to paint or sculpt or draw. I drew a picture of a horse when I was 11. It won a gold ribbon at the Western Idaho Fair as part of a 4-H competition. I left the world of competitive art at that point because where can you go from there but down?

I never liked taking art classes. There was something about learning about form, light and composition that took some of the joy of creating out of it. There is nothing like a bunch of rules to take the “create” out of creating.

I did make a few slab and coil pots in an art class in junior high that were kind of interesting. The best part of working with clay, however, was slamming it onto the table to get the bubbles out.

My last formal art class was Drawing 101 in college. I drew some killer vases and cow skulls. I had hoped we were going to draw naked people. I got an “A” in the class anyway.

By that time, I gave up on the idea of being an artist and decided to become a writer. There were still rules to contend with, but I read a lot growing up and being a natural born mimic, I could fake understanding grammar with the best of them.

It is easier to explain to people that you are a writer than to tell them you are an artist (though one could argue that they aren’t potentially the same thing). I have never met anyone who actually made money off from being an artist. They generally make money off from being baristas or bicycle messengers and paint on the side. The same is true for “writer” writers. If you really want to make money writing, you need to go into public relations or advertising. Only a rare person makes a living being a novelist. I am not a rare person.

So to fill in the gaps between making a living and being an artist, I took up blogging. It is an odd preoccupation. It pays nothing. It is appreciated by few and overlooked by many.

Which brings me full circle to my original ear-resistible point -- I am not sure I am making a meaningful one. But this post is becoming an earful, so I’ll end it.

Oh and a pox on any of you who try and use ear puns in your comments.

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