What’s on your canvas?

Consider the page: a blank canvas, quietly waiting for the artist’s inspiration to unfold. It should not be difficult, or as difficult as I allow it to be.  The blankness does not sit there quietly.  Instead, it becomes a snickering, taunting posse of  playground bullies.

“Betcha won’t do it!”

“She won’t; she doesn’t know how!”

“Scaredy cat!”

Funny how I am in my 40s and waging battle with what I am certain is short term memory loss, yet I can still clearly hear the voices of school-age demons past.  “YOU? Go out for cheerleading?” or,  “You think you can play basketball??” followed by screams of laughter.  Because back then, in my teenage mind, people’s negative assessments mattered.  I think they made me angry enough to want to prove everyone wrong. Despite the mockery and under clouds of self-doubt, I did try out for both activities.  I went on to become a cheerleader through four years of high school. I even made the JV basketball team my freshman year, probably because not many girls tried out. I kept the bench company most of the season, but made one amazing shot from half-court that I’m pretty sure no one remembers except my mom.

With writing, there is nothing to prove to anyone but oneself, and no teams to be picked last for.  As in sports, there is much to be gained from daily practice.  Yet if someone is talking about or making fun of my work, I don’t know it. Unless they email to tell me, in which case, it really doesn’t matter. We each have our own canvases to master. No one can tell us what the subjects should be, what colors to use or whether the end result is appealing. As artists, we alone have the final say in how much or how little we enjoy our masterpieces. The beauty doesn’t lie merely in the final creations, but in the fact that we we overcome the blankness in order to create. And besides, everyone knows that beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder!


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