Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

What do you want right now?

I've been stuck.

I fell into a horrible trap that many artists and writers do-I started paying way too much attention to the bottomless pit of the cyber world, comparing myself to other artists and writers and it has crushed my sensitivity to make prompt decisions for my work. Rather than making confidant suggestions to myself, like,

"I need to work on this story now and go forward with it",

I've found myself immobile, unsure of what project needs to be birthed. This is not like me and it might be too that now that I'm 57 and have a lot of different pokers in many blazing fires, I just need to realize my focus is easily distracted.

What's even more irritating is I have found myself looking at some writers I really don't like or respect as people and thinking, why does that person have an agent or publisher when we all know they are real jerks to people and the writing is self absorbed,pompous and in some case, bad. Ah, but they have 'profiles', some not any better than mine, that for one reason or another was deemed more commercially viable to the guy writing the check.

Katherine, back away from the computer.

So, I must stop that crippling downward spiral. I have one book proposal floating around out there at publishers-and that waiting seems to easily stifle creativity. You think maybe you will hear this week, and you don't, and for some reason it can create that 'frozen' feeling. The best anecdote is to start another project immediately.

So I'm going to start a new idea for a children's book next week. I was looking at some old book dummies ['dummies' are layouts with crude sketches and the spreads of text laid out for a book] I'd done years ago, back when I had an illustration rep and I was anxiously trying to break into the kid book world. I shared some on Facebook and some of the thoughts were very helpful, but I think the muses in those little stories have evolved out of me, and the stories seemed forced and not very magical.

I don't live in the city and am somewhat disconnected with what is relevant in the commercial world of art or publishing, except for what I see online. I don't have an agent to help guide me so I just forge on. I have felt more like I am entering a different market though. I am not hip or trendy to anyone, nor was I ever, but the commercial world wants that. I must ignore that and do my best work, and listen to myself first and foremost, and then seek discussion from someone I trust.

I have a scribble on my wall, in front of me, "What do you want right now?"

That is the question.

To be read by a wider audience. To be acknowledged. To continue to be able to make a living.

But more than ever, I want to...live, and not feel so compelled to spurt things out in teeny online doses. I love sharing images and my life, it is fun, but I am seeking a longer thought process, a quieter dialogue between me and my muses...and my audience-whoever the heck my audience is.

I walked around last night after chores. The sky was so beautiful, and very eruptive, changing each few minutes, grey clouds blowing in with blue windows behind them. When I'm looking at Old Barn sitting in this show of Nature, would it make it more relevant if I get another book published this week? Would my work with my animals lose meaning if I never sold another painting, or lost the will to paint? Does having an agent or not mean I'm not relevant my current readers? Will having an agent like some make my writing more important to me, or better? No.

Does Pino care about any of this? No.

All around me, the things that end up in story or art first come through me viscerally, through this life, here at my farm. It's my world. In this way, I'm always working. I just have to get back on track and listen inwardly, to know which story to pursue in the best way I can.