Self-Portrait

Imagine drawing a map. Imagine tracing all these lines and shapes, using different colors. Quite a meticulous process. But this map is not one that leads to a treasure, or one that is meant to describe any real place on earth. No. This is a map of your soul. Depression Valley, Island of Solitude… you get the idea. All the places that are scarred because of too many tears. The heartbreaks, the bitterness, the loneliness, the happiness, the joy… the ecstasy.

All an artist does is a self-portrait. Everything. We write about people we never met, and we like to think that we simply imagined them into existence, but the truth is that our characters either resemble us or have traits and qualities we wish we had.  Continue reading

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Perseverance vs. Perfectionism

impossibleIn a way, I believe that all artists are possessed by this silly ambition: they want to do something no one else has thought of doing before them. They want to create something that’s unique. And perfect. And so they try, again and again, and they always fail. It seems to me that this is what truly motivates us.

We keep on writing because nothing we write is good enough, or at least, as good as we think it should be. Or as good as we think it deserves to be.

No story is ever “finished.” There’s always something to change, to add, to remove. Continue reading

Are You In Love With Your Own Writing?

“A word after a word after a word is power.” Margaret Atwood

There’s this thing called verbal narcissism. It’s pretty much the ability to game a wall, if it comes to that. To sell sand in the Sahara Desert.

It also means to be so in love with your own words that it could mean talking on and on about things that few people ever care about. Or it could happen that you do deliver a strong message, but you’re using so many words to do so, that it’s all distilled to the point of making people want to smack you over the head with their keyboards. Continue reading

The Art or the Artist? by M.C. Tuggle

 

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“John Wayne was no actor.”

Yes, that’s what she said! While working a crossword puzzle, my wife had asked me about Academy Award winners from the ‘60s, and I’d suggested the Duke. My response was met with the above inflammatory statement. (John Wayne wasn’t the answer to the puzzle, but in fact, he did win an Oscar in 1969 for True Grit.)

But my wife’s comment got me to thinking. No doubt a lot of people would agree with her. After all, John Wayne pretty much played the same role in all of his movies. When he portrayed Genghis Khan in The Conqueror, he was quoted in a press release that he’d decided to play the title character “as a gunfighter.” Continue reading