Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blank Canvas

Welcome to another week of Writer's Challenge II. The folks at are always welcome to new people joining the fun. You can sign up to do it just once, or you can keep coming back week after week - no pressure, no huge commitment. If you feel like giving it a whirl, click the link here. Pairings are randomly generated, but you never know, you just might be responsible for giving me my next prompt!

This week my prompt comes from Sid, who writes here. The prompt is, "write a piece on how the world is but a canvas to the imagination."

While I wanted to add another bit to my novel, the prompt really rang the bells of my philosophical side. So, I'm going in that direction. However, to further challenge myself and to give my readers a little bonus, I've decided that tomorrow, using the same prompt, I will write a piece that fits in my novel. So, slap a bookmark on it, grab another cup o' bean and join me again in the morning.


Every now and then I take a moment and realize just how fortunate I am. Not (only) because of the many and varied wondrous things that count, like friendships, family, love, home, food, clothing, and a solid sense of who I am. Yes, I'm incredibly fortunate and wealthy in those things. But when I realize just how fortunate I am, it's in the moments that I fully realize my ability to create, and create in so many venues.

I'm a writer, an artist, and a musician. That's the top of my list. I'm also a cook (chef sounds so stuffy, but I could throw down with the big boys if I had to), a baker, and a seamstress, and a few other things that don't make the papers.

I don't consider myself a master of any of them. To me, mastery implies that there's no more upward or forward motion. Mastery equals arriving. I don't want that. Ever. I always want to grow and change, in my life, in my art, in my perception of the world around me.

Besides, there are a lot of so-called masters that I don't agree with, whose work doesn't "do it" for me. I can admire their skill, but the work itself leaves me feeling... unquenched. Conversely, there are a lot of not-masters who produce work that leaves me dazzled and breathless.

Mastery is overrated. Honing is where it's at. Unleashing is where it counts. Living within a skill is... well, it's just magic. When you're crazy in love with what you're doing it's a lot like being crazy in love with a person. It sends you, it throws you ass-over-tea-kettle into realms you couldn't imagine, it makes you smile at oddball times for no apparent reason. And just like loving another person, it's a relationship that's never perfect. It's not meant to be. It's meant to rattle your sensibilities every now and then. It's meant to get you riled, angry even, because you know you're not going to give up on it, so it makes you focus and find a way into it and through it.

So, I'm thrilled to be a Jane of all trades and master of none. I'll take it. Humbly and gratefully and with trembling anticipation, I'll take it. I sing, I play, I do a bit of stand-up comedy, just a touch of drama to keep things real. I can emote and make it sincere. I'm not afraid of my own voice. I know how to use it to get applause. I'm fortunate that the world is my stage.

I'm a writer. The other day someone compared bloggers thinking they're writers, to people who sing karaoke thinking they're Pavarotti. Screw that. I may not have a best selling novel (yet), but I get up and write every day. I write whether anyone reads or not. I write because I love writing, because I love words. I can turn a phrase, stand back, and know it really says something. I'm fortunate that the world is my blank screen.

I'm an artist. I see a palette of color everywhere I look. I see points and vectors and pixels. I see faces in the trees and the clouds and the architecture. I see things differently. I can imagine (easily) things that are not, and are not as they should be. I'm hard pressed to get through a day without slapping some kind of color onto some kind of paper. It's not a great day unless I've got ink or paint on my fingers. I am fortunate that the world is my canvas.

Everything around me influences my creativity in some way. Everything finds a way into me and through me and back out in some creative way.

That's fortune. That's great wealth... to have the entire world be but a canvas to imagination...

...and to have the canvas to capture that imagination.


  1. Oh, I love this, Barb. I feel the same about my ability to create sentences that move people, but I never thought about it in terms of wealth. I love to see things through your prospective. That is another area of talent you have...the way you see things is much bigger, brighter, and deeper than the average person. I feel so blessed to be able to look at life through your eyes.

  2. You took my breath away. This is exactly how I feel. Exactly how I wish to be. You not only captured its essence but you articulated it in such a way that you gave life to its soul. Great job!!!

  3. Mentally bitch-slapping the Karaoke commentor. Someone once asked me who my 'audience' was when I wrote. I thought for a minute and said that I am my own audience. I don't write for someone else. I do it for me. I think they are still trying to puzzle that one out. If I try to write TO someone, it always comes out like crap.

  4. A writer is anyone who writes, like a singer is anyone who sings. My 8-year old niece is every bit as much a singer as is Pavarotti, only with less hair and a weaker grasp of the Italian language. I've never understood why some people feel it necessary to gain others' acceptance prior to feeling worthy of doing or being a certain something or someone.

  5. This was a wonderful take on the challenge and your words sing such truth! My favorite line: "Mastery is overrated. Honing is where it's at. Unleashing is where it counts." Absolutely!

  6. Lovely post! And can I just say, I'm so going to be adopting "ass-over-tea-kettle"!! :) Never heard that phrase before, but I do believe it'll be a new favorite!


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