Monday, October 22, 2007


When I was 18 I was part of a national choir that toured Europe for a month. I was able to visit, however hastily, some of the most famed and beloved cities in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France. It was a whirlwind experience - friendships, crushes, music, travel and so many new people, sites, sounds, and places I was barely able to absorb them. Not surprisingly it was an emotionally charged month. Up until that time I had never really left the western U.S. and had associated almost entirely with conservative people who shared most of my beliefs. It was the first time I really tasted what life outside of my small town was like. My best friends on the trip were from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Maine. I was definitely the anomaly in our little group. That month it felt as if I were somehow able to open my eyes wider than I ever had before, that a new section of my mind opened up.

I considered myself a fairly cultured teenager. I had a strong appreciation of music, a love of literature and a fairly basic knowledge of art. I liked pretty pictures just as much as the next person.

In Paris we went to the Pompidou Museum. I saw all kinds of art there. Some was beautiful, some confusing and some, in my opinion, kind of stupid. But as we were browsing the gift shop I came across a 5x7 print by Francine Van Hove.

Something about this piece struck me in a way art had never done. I had always turned my virgin eye away from nudes, wondering if they were not just an excuse to exhibit images that were erotic. But I loved this picture right away. There was something so raw, simple and real about it that I was taken by its beauty. The woman seemed somehow strong and vulnerable at the same time. I bought the little print and stared at it in long stretches and something opened up inside of me. I wanted to be able to make people feel the way Van Hove had made me feel. I mourned that I was not an artist.

I found my little print the other day and my appreciation for it is still strong, though now it means different things to me. I realized, also, that I don't have to be able to draw to be an artist. My goal as a writer is make people feel. I may be a long way off from doing that effectively, but in the end that is my motivation.

What gets you excited about your craft?

Vocabulary Word of the Day:

NON SEQUITUR - noun - A statement that does not follow logically from what preceded it.


Anonymous said...

That's a powerful goal. One that I share and can understand. Photography is an easy way for me to communicate. I see things that really move me, and photos allow me to rip them from the moment and freeze them. I can show them to others as if to say, see what I see?

I suppose writing is my way of trying to capture life itself. Everything that you can't capture in a photograph.

Vesper said...

Beautiful drawing, Hoodie. It speaks to me of the innocence we all have when we sleep...
Writing is a deep need for me. Where does it come from? It would be hard to tell. Where will it go, I don't know.
Your goal is superb. I couldn't say I have a goal because I'm not writing with future readers in mind. But I think that if you express your feelings in a way that will be felt true by others, then the goal to make them feel is reached.

SzélsőFa said...

I like your goal, it is a reasonable one.

It would be inappropriate to call my photography art, but I think I make photos to capture special, impressive and/or inspirative moments/feelings. To save the unsaveable.

It would also be a massive exaggeration to address my writing as 'art'. I write when I have to.

Hoodie said...

Jason - yes, you have great skill at capturing strong moments of reality in your photographs. I had never understood how difficult great photography was until I tried it. When you combine your pictures with your writing you present a very complete feeling. I love that.

Vesper - I understand what you mean about the deep need to write. For those people who don't feel that it is difficult to understand. I have loads and loads of unread words that had to go on the page for their own sakes.

Szelsofa - You should give yourself more credit. You are an artist in your own right.

Church Lady said...

I want to make kids smile, and hopefully laugh. I will never be able to write a Newbery-calibre book because they all make you cry. I think there's enough sadness in life. I hope I can write well enough to get a real belly-laugh from a child, and tell a great story along the way.

Minx said...

Natural creative's just have an inner need to communicate the world around them. I dabble in everything, probably the mistress of none, but who cares.

Beth said...

I haven't seen you in a bit. Glad I checked in on you.

I love your goal ... and the print. I usually don't like nudes, but this one does say so much without saying too much.

I get excited when an idea hits me for something I feel really interesting or that I haven't seen before.

Most of the time I just feel really peaceful when I'm writing, rather trance-like though.

SzélsőFa said...

I liked you comments on Strugglingwriter's blog.
Will you keep us updated on NaNo as he does?
I'm just asking and would love to see the progress!
*fingers crossed for you*

Hoodie said...

Church Lady - A worthy goal!

Minx - I wonder what makes some of us ultra-communicators while there are so many content to tread alone.

Beth - It's a gift to have something that makes you feel that way.

Szelsofa - Yes, I'll be posting my progress. Thanks for asking.

Sorry for such a lack of posts/comments, everyone. Soon.