Artists?

The world is an interesting place.  Art abounds everywhere.  You find it in jungles and oceans, on tropical islands, in deserts,  in snowy mountains and mountain lakes in the Summertime.  Flowers are artistic wonders, especially roses.  Butterflies, birds, bugs, spiders, even ants are artistic expressions and artists themselves.

Take for instance the Golden Orb Weaver, among the largest of orb-weaving spiders.  An adult female can stretch up to seven inches long.  Its body is bright yellow with black stripes.  When it weaves its large web, it creates a thick white zig-zag in its web, running from the outer perimeter  down to its center.  This white zig-zag reflects ultraviolet light, which attracts certain flying insects which can perceive UV light.

Another cool thing about Golden Orb Weavers is their silk.  There are seven kinds of spider silk, some of which is very thin and delicate and some of which is stronger than steel.  The Golden Orb Weaver is among the few spiders who posses all three of the strongest silks.  And it has to have that strength so its web can hold it up.

Then there’s jumping spiders, some of which are barely a third of an inch long.  It’s been scientifically proven that these tiny hunters, who always spin a safety line behind themselves, can see more colors than even human beings can.

There are mountain grasshoppers and crickets who can make loud clicking sounds with their legs for attracting eligible mates.  And who doesn’t love butterflies or lady bugs, or the awesome kung fu masters of the  insect world, the preying mantis.  Some tropical mantis’s grow nine inches long, and even more.  Some have green bodies and bright purple palps under their forearms, or forelegs, which they flash when attacked by birds to scare them off.

So the animal and plant worlds are filled with wonders of beauty and power.  And then there is mankind.

We write poetry, we write songs, we create music, we create buildings and bridges, films, photos, plays.  We dance.  We paint. We tell stories.  We create wonderful colors and fabrics and clothing.  We entertain ourselves with movies and television and computer and video games.

And yet the irony to human activity, other than our desire to destroy what others create, is we judge and condemn what we don’t understand.

I have met artists who can appreciate a well-told story, a graceful dance, music that moves the heart, the body, the imagination.  I have met visual artists who appreciate films and photos and sculptures and poetry and comedy, but cannot see writing as an art.

Alliteration, pacing, rhythm, all important parts of great writing, is meaningless to them, unless it’s in a song or a poem.  I’ve been told that my writing isn’t art.  When I wrote news articles, it wasn’t art.  When I wrote other nonfiction, it wasn’t art.  And when I write fiction, working hard to make it readable,  working hard to infuse conflict and rhythm, working long hours to create believable characters, none of that means anything to them.

Throughout the 20th Century, traditional artists (such as sculptors and painters) found it hard to find their place in the world.  Suddenly, photography and film had captured the hearts and minds of civilization.  And just as they felt lost, they felt the need to diminish someone else.  And that became writers.

Oh, Shakespeare, Hemingway, and thousands of other writers were considered artists.  And yet, there were thousands of others who  weren’t considered artists.  And most of us today aren’t considered artists, either.

Animators can be artists.  Game makers can be artists.  Cartoonists can be artists.  But writers?

In many ways, I envy visual artists.  When you write, unless you’re very famous, it can take years to see any profit.  And then it might just be a few hundred dollars.  But even a beginning artist can make a few hundred dollars in a year.

Painters, for instance, can earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars for their paintings, even if those paintings only took a few days or weeks to complete.  Or even just a few hours.  But writing a novel can take a year, or even several years.  Painters get immediate reactions from audiences, while writers may never hear from their audiences, if they even have an audiences.

Instant gratification versus years of toil.  How unfair is that!

But, just as other writers and artists do, I put all of my heart and soul and imagination into what I do.  And like other artists, it’s my desire to entertain and bless mankind that guides me.  Money is nice, too, and I wish I made more of it.  It’s nice to know that your work if valued.

But some of us, be we writers or painters or film makers or musicians, may never know how valued we really are.  Look at Jesus in the Bible.  It wasn’t until after he was gone that his message, his art, his words became popular.

I know that I am an artist.  I’ve had great conversations with visual artists about what art is and everyone of them concur that writing is an art.  But there are so many artists that don’t recognize writing as an art form.  To them it is just a tool, like a paint brush.

But just like them, it is hope that keeps me going.  Hope that someday someone will see me for what I am worth.

I quote the Bible a lot because I find it calming and soothing to read.  And maybe the lack of recognition, even after thirty years, is like the Bible axiom that says, “A prophet is never recognized in his own land.”

Ah, well.  Here’s hoping.

See you out there.

 

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