Thursday, August 29, 2013

Make Good Art, Neil Gaiman Said

I have been feeling Blue,
just a funky kind of,
"my life is perfect right now, but summer is ending, my kids are moving away, OH NO, CHANGE IS COMING!" feeling

and I am 60,000 words into the third book of my Duffy Barkley series, and loving what I wrote, but still avoiding writing any more because, well, because my energy is down.

Then Yesterday I got a 1 star review on Amazon, and to be honest a 4 Star review on another book on Amazon and a 5 star review on Goodreads too, but of course it is the 1 star review I obsess about.  So I reread the reviews I have posted, trying to find the good stuff, and I stick on the iffy stuff instead

The front of the first 2 books
See, I have hand painted watercolor pictures for the first two Duffy books, and some people don't like them at all, and I'm not sure about them myself

And I found this comment again, from an A. Stepaniak, in the reviews
The back of the same books.

"As a graphic designer, I was put-off by the cover design Dixie Miller Goode chose for 'Duffy Barkley Is not a Dog'. And, so the saying goes, I should have never judged a book by its cover. After reading, I love the cover design. It's clearly from the mind of Duffy, and it's fitting.'

And so instead of writing, I was on facebook, of course that did not help me feel less depressed. So I remembered that video of Neil Gaiman giving a graduation speech and saying, "make Good Art" all the time.  

You know the speech? 

“Remember, whatever discipline you’re in, whether you’re a musician or a photographer, a fine artist or a cartoonist, a writer, a dancer, a singer, a designer — whatever you do, you have one thing that’s unique: You have the ability to make art. And for me, and for so many of the people I’ve known, that’s been a lifesaver, the ultimate lifesaver. It gets you through good times, and it gets you through … the other ones. Sometimes life is hard. Things go wrong — in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art. Make it on the bad days, make it on the good days, too.”
– Neil Gaimanin his commencement address to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he was bestowed with an honorary doctorate in fine arts 

Well, I used to take art classes and paint, sculpt, draw and weave, but then I became a teacher, a wife and a mom, and I stopped.

 But I dusted off my old lab coat that I used to use as a painting smock, and got out my paints, most of which were dried and worthless, but enough were there to start playing around

 Working on an idea of maybe going for a completely different look, in a book that combined the first three novels into one volume.  I'd still do a book 3 watercolor to match the first, and offer it as a single edition as well, for those who don't need to have both a 1, 2 and a 1,2,3

But this is the idea I am playing with for the multi volume.

 And after making art that may or may not be "Good art" but is for sure "Goode art" I feel better.  My mood is improved and I'm ready to write again

1 comment:

  1. Dixie, I like that cover! It's funny that we both turn to watercolors for something different from writing (though I would never be able to use mine that way--I experimented some for my new book covers, and then went and hired a pro--I can't do what you can). Hope you are feeling more the thing. I haven't had a review like that--but then, you know, it does mean people are seeing your books, even reading them (though I'm not sure the one star person read it). That's more than I'm getting right now.