The above photos were taken by my daughter, Cara. (Isn't she clever? The black background in the 2nd picture is simply a black t-shirt. Brilliant.) The top one is of a hemp bead bracelet that my publisher is distributing with review copies of my new book, Gotcha!. The bottom one is of the actual book. As I've said before in this blog, I am so pleased with this cover art. Orca Books could not have done a better job of packaging my story. Now I just have to worry about whether the story is worthy of the packaging.
That leads me into the true story part of this post.
An artist, a musician and a writer were relaxing over cups of coffee after their yoga class. They were discussing 'completed projects'.
The artist said, "When I look at my completed paintings, I always want to reach for a paintbrush and rework parts of the painting."
The writer said, "As I do readings from my books, I realize how stupid the story is, and how badly written!"
The musician said, "When I put out a CD, I have to perfom the songs on it over and over again. With each performance I can only hear all the mistakes and wish I could redo the original tracks."
Okay, I'm paraphrasing. But the conversation did go something like that.
I guess it's human nature. I have never hosted a dinner party where, after the guests have all gone home, I didn't dwell on the meal's shortcoming rather than on what was good about it. In my garden I can only see where something is lacking, rather than what looks fabulous. Even in my author presentations, when all is said and done, it's what I forgot to include in the presentation that haunts me, not what went well.
The exception to this rule is with my daughters. When I look at them I can only see their strengths. They are each so close to perfection that sometimes it takes my breath away. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, their messy bedrooms drive me CRAZY, the 'borrowing' of each others things borders on 'theft' but these things are minor in the big picture. They really are amazing young women.
There is a huge difference in being proud of our art and of our children. Our children are creating themselves. We can only guide them. In some ways that is true of our art. I'm sure that both my artist and musician friends would claim that their art guides them, just as my writing takes me to places I never expected. What we set out to paint, write, compose is not anything like the final product. However, I do believe we have more control over our artistic creations than we do our children. No, I don't think we do, I know we do.
I'm not even sure why I'm comparing the two. Maybe because it's Valentine's Day and public expressions of love are in order. I hope my girls each know how much they are cherished. I also hope that all my artist, musician and writer friends can learn to be satisfied and proud of their creations. I know I'm working on it.