My new book is on Amazon now. The Kindle version will be free August 1 – 5. This one isn’t fiction. How to Make an Artist Miserable is a journal/essay/tirade about some of my frustrations as an artist — and how I’ve learned to overcome them. Like people assuming I work on a “for hire” basis and requesting giant portraits of their children, for example. Over the last few years, I’ve actually found a way to deal with those people. I no longer draw pictures I don’t want to draw. It’s very liberating.
You can click here to learn more.
When I write a book, the title is usually the last thing I think of. The title sums up the book. The title describes the book. Since a manuscript evolves and changes as I write it, I don’t know what kind of title will describe it until it’s actually finished. For me, the title is like the last little dab of icing on top of the cake.
Any time I tell people that I’m writing a new book, they blurt out, “What’s the name of it?”
I shrug and say, “I haven’t thought of that part yet.”
At that point, they frown at me and look away, shaking their heads, almost in disgust. Like there’s something wrong with me. Like I apparently don’t know what I’m doing. If I don’t know the title, I must not know anything.
It annoys me when people do that. It’s like walking up to a college student and asking, “What kind of career are you pursuing?”
And the student says, “I want to be an accountant.”
“Oh really? That’s great! When you become an accountant, what color do you want the carpet in your office to be?”
And the student says, “Well, I haven’t really thought about that yet. I’m just trying to get my degree right now.”
And you say, “Obviously, you’ll never make it as an accountant. That office carpet is a big deal!”
I’m not saying the title doesn’t matter. The title of a book is profoundly important. It has to draw attention to itself. It has to make people want to pick up the book. But there’s no rule that says you have to think of a title before you begin writing.
Many people who don’t write (or even read, for that matter) seem to think they’re experts on the writing process. Bugs me.
(The typewriter image isn’t mine.)
Here’s a colored pencil drawing I did a couple of months ago. There’s a real store called “Pay N Tote” in the town where I live. It’s a quaint little place. I’ve wanted to draw it for a long time, but I wanted to throw something strange in it. Hope you’ve been doing well. I’ve been busy working on a new book.
I don’t mean to bash anyone else’s art, but this statue of Lucille Ball in Celoron, New York is a good example of why I don’t like to draw portraits on commission. There’s always the possibility of absolute failure and humiliation. I’m not a “for hire” artist. People ask me to draw their children and their spouses. Some of them are nice enough to offer money, but many of them just expect me to do it for free. They assume it’s an easy, simple, sure-fire thing. But it’s not. Not for me, anyway. Sometimes I draw a portrait that looks like the real person. But sometimes it ends up … well, like this Lucy statue. And it’s always embarrassing when that happens. As much as this statue makes me cringe, I also feel sympathy for the sculptor. I know what that embarrassment feels like.
I’ve been writing a new book lately. That’s why I haven’t blogged much. This one isn’t a novel. It’s a long, rambling essay — sort of like this blog. Hope you’re all doing well, my friends.