Friday, August 28, 2009


Nora (aka Ravyn) is visiting this weekend. As usual, we're trying to pack as much work as possible into a three-day weekend. But tonight, we sat out by the pool with our feet in the water.

I seem to do that a lot, you say---sit with my feet in the water. The news (and my deck thermometer) indicated the temperature was around 116. Even tonight, Nora describes the air as a convection oven. It is very much like that. Water is essential when the air is still and hot.

In the last hour, I managed to spill my drink (a nearly full white Russian) and Nora performed some excellent slapstick with her deck chair. (Please don't ask for photos--there was too little time and too much water.) But, under the stars, which still tend to shine regardless of the heat, which will still shine long after Earth is gone (and it will be) we talk about things that are important to each of us.

The big stuff. The core issues. The stuff the art is made of. (I suspect this is often why people come to see me in this desert.)

I've been working on lectures for the World Fantasy Convention. It's different from most conventions, because instead of speaking before fans, students and readers, I'll mostly be speaking before my peers. (That should bring a shudder to any human of the civilized world.)

Next July, I'll have lived twenty years as a professional artist. Twenty years of creating something nearly every day. Twenty years of learning how to. Twenty years of learning how not to.

You'd think I'd have something useful to share.

Writing notes for my lectures is similar to writing notes for this blog. in that I sometimes hesitate, thinking that you're likely eons ahead of me and have already discovered anything I might figure out and that I'll look like a schmuck for even bringing it up.

Screw that. We're all teachers. We're all students. We don't need to be afraid to share.

If have a lesson for today, it's this---that we experience things as they happen, so it's a good idea to simply record them as they are, without polish or prejudice. For later.

Because the story comes later. The art comes later. Trying to force either out of the experience will only result in waste and mess and mediocre.

Add the experience to the mix. Let it stew. Let it age, like wine, or cheese. Like an idea. Let it come when it's ready.

I have twenty years of evidence to support this concept, enough to tell me it's worth sharing with you.

I've refilled my drink and put Nora into a comfortable chair. But it's late and we're yawning and tomorrow demands we sleep soon.

Hope your friday is good.


Lord Daecabhir said...

One of the most important barriers to get over in life is fear of making a fool of oneself. It is closely followed by the barrier of imposing your own perceived limitation upon yourself.

And often the best teachers teach by being, by sharing information, by sharing their own joy and love of the subject at hand, rather than by pedantic technique.

May you and Ravyn have a very fruitful visit... even if the fruit is just simply reconnecting and letting the creative energies flow.

lisa said...

Indeed you are right. I find myself more and more willing, as time goes by, to make a fool of myself. Which is saying a lot, actually, as I was already pretty darn willing.
But I'm certainly determined to limit myself. I wasn't always. It took a lot for me to close myself off. It will take some work to pull myself back out.

And thank you. We're doing all that, for sure.

Loraine said...

I try to record things in a timely manner, exactly as they happen. Sometimes I'll pick up a journal from eight years ago or something and read what I'd written.

Talk about your windows to insanity...

But the stories do seem different now, and the influence it has on my art seems to inspire me more.