On October 13 the Main Library in Jacksonville, FL is hosting Jax Makes as a celebration of local makers and artisans. Independent of this I have spent the last nine months working on a series of handmade greeting cards and wall art. Serendipitously I received the email about Jax Makes while I was in the middle of this pursuit.
I’ve been an artist for as long as I’ve been a writer but for a variety of reasons I never recognized the validity of my interest in art even as I took art classes. My dad was the family artist. I am happy to say that I have excised that particularly self destructive wound and just started making art again. At the start of the year, in the spirit of making paper cranes, I bought a pack of blank watercolor cards with the intent that I would just begin working on them and work my way through the pack and at some point find somewhere to sell them.
My path as a creative individual is winding and not especially lucrative, something I have sometimes been acutely aware of and actively tried to avoid on the basis that it seemed as though what makes me myself is entirely against the stream of the world I live in. I always find it difficult to talk about this stuff not because it feels so unique but because over the years it has seemed that everyone’s personal battles have flavors of this feeling so it seems almost too mundane to discuss.
I’ve struggled to figure out how I want to blog because although I love reading nonfiction I prefer to write fiction and unknowingly weave threads of the fibrous mesh of thoughts I have on a regular basis into something that is perhaps more coherent than my day to day rambling thoughts. But, the truth of it is that the book I’ve been writing for six years is still developing through edits. The fictional world I’m building is dense with lore, characters, traditions and other minor things that are delightful to me as I discover them.
Making art with my hands in a very basic way has been a wonderful alternative to the baroque world of my mind and has offered me an opportunity to fill in the space of my life that requires more contact with humanity than my book necessitates. I don’t thrive as a coffee shop writer surrounded by life. I’m apt to spend the whole time people watching–which, while informative and useful, prevents the actual editing work from happening.
So, now I have a month left to finish everything for Jax Makes and I am thrilled about the terror of the thing. I have many pieces finished from nine months of working daily, practicing and spending days on end surrounded by projects in various stages of completion. Working in this fashion has helped me discover my actual style, my influences and the direction I want to take my future visual work. Once Jax Makes is over I have plans to include art posts here and finding a way to blog about the editing experience even though I’m not sure how to start or if it will be interesting to post about.