Am I proud or embarrassed?
Please read my work—please don’t tell me you’re going to read my work
Dear Party People,
I was driving my 15-year-old, E, home from school this week, and we started talking about her art. E’s draftsmanship is incredible. I’m jealous of her control. Her lines are clean and perfectly straight when she wants them to be straight and beautifully curved when she wants them to be curved.
I told E that her art was excellent.
“Agree to disagree,” she said.
I laughed and gave one of my dad pep talks that my children find unbearably honest and earnest.
Towards the end of my ramble (or whatever the upbeat version of a rant is), I told her that her art was excellent because she’s worked hard to develop the necessary skills, and she has vision. The vision part is where the magic happens. Her lines aren’t lifeless. I can feel the little bits of her soul she leaves in every sketch.
“Agree to disagree,” she laughed.
Then this sweet teenager of mine, my second-born, dropped a bomb on me.
“We’re starting a poetry unit in English, and I told my teacher about you. She wants me to bring in some of your work.”
I told E that my poetry might not be exactly what her teacher was looking for. I reminded her, not that she needed me to, that I tend to write about—uh—non-traditional poetry topics.
E told me she thought my poems were great.
“Agree to disagree,” I said.
The next day E went off to school with all my two haiku collections, my prose poetry graphic novel, and my two illustrated haiku zines.
I wanted to tell her no. I wanted to apologize to her for the embarrassment my work would cause her. Mostly I wanted to rip the books out of E’s hands and yell, “You’ll have to wait until I make something good!”
But I had spent too much time encouraging her art to sabotage that by tearing my own work down.
So I tried to be proud of my work—but ended up being embarrassed.
I did get a report back a few days later. E’s teacher told her that she could see how I’ve influenced her writing.
That poor, poor kid.
This week in response to a prompt I saw on Twitter, I created this haiku comic:
I’m trying to be bolder with sharing my work. I need to take more risks if I want to grow as an artist. I’ve heard that you should do the things that scare you the most if you want to level up in life.
The thing that scares me the most is filming a video of me reading my work. Unfortunately, that appears to be where I’m headed sometime in the next few weeks. I’m going to start making TikToks with my face, voice, and poetry in them. Ugh!
What scares you about your creativity? What big risks are you thinking of taking? What’s stopping you?
Be the weird you want to see in the world!
P.S. I’d love to hear from you about your creative fears. What big risks are you considering? Let me know!