Wordy Wednesday: Julie Blackmon

There’s this juxtaposition of wanting it and wanting to run away from it all at the same time. – Julie Blackmon, photographer, “More” Magazine – June 2009

I am going to take great liberties with the artistic world and those who live, work, love, and survive in it by saying that artists around the world can completely understand what Blackmon is saying. Pursuing something you love, anything you love, and hoping to make a career out of it brings just such juxtaposition. We want to do what we love, but we fear being rejected or maybe not being as good as all our “fans” claim we are; therefore, eliciting the primal flight reaction.

Far as I’m concerned, a true friend will tell you when you suck, and not just tell you everything is great all the time. However, I can’t see anyone complaining about Blackmon’s work now. We all know she didn’t start out with a perfect eye. She didn’t begin the best; she worked toward it. Toiled, honed, and practiced. Only the good Lord knows how much film she went through with her first hundred or even thousand photos before she felt secure enough to display them or even share them with her loved ones. During that, I’m willing to bet her logic and desire fought to the death.

“What will I do in the mean time?”

“What happens if (or when) I fail?”

“What do I do if I can’t do what I love?”

Those questions alone plague my mind and my heart while I write. Sure, it’s great fun holed up in my room type, type, typing away at the newest fictional saga clawing at my brain: demanding to be told. I want it so bad, but I also want to run cowering in the distance denying any connection to such a fantasy. Some days it seems too hard, just too out of reach to keep trying. Not only is the fantasy too far gone, but even any attempts to reach the fantasy are simple flights of fancy.

In a vain effort to wrangle this fantasy, I’m planning on going back to school in the fall to complete my master’s degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. I originally sought the degree in Public Relations, with the hopes of being a personal assistant or any kind of corporate assistant. Turns out having a master’s degree makes me TOO qualified for that particular position. And writing has always been a hobby of mine, starting out as journaling. That turned quickly into painting a picture of a world I finally felt comfortable in with people who were amicable and entertaining. I’ve carried that outlet with me for years, never dreaming of making it a career.

I went to college, and met this amazing professor my freshman year. Coincidentally (?) she taught Basic Composition, and manned the entire Communications department. For four years, my dear friend told me that my potential as a writer was great and could only get better: with practice and heart. She was right-it did-but life got in the way. My ex wanted to be a writer; too, coupled with low self-esteem there was an inhuman aptitude to make me feel bad for being a good writer – at least where there was a comparison of grades. I allowed the situation to quickly halt any idle thought I had regarding being a professional writer. It took what little self-esteem I had to boost the ex’s talent. So, I turned to public relations – it’s not as though I wasn’t already talking up someone else’s work.

After four long and well-lived years, I’m rid of the ex, writing up a storm, and loving every minute of it. Julie’s comment triggered a sort of innate kinship and spoke to exactly how I feel right now. There must be a subconscious magnetism to the artist for any person seeking a career in what they love – versus what anyone “thinks they ought to be doing.” My advice; and what I think Julie was really saying? Follow your heart, do what you love, and while it may prove difficult ignore that quaking, trembling desire to run in the opposite direction.

With a smile…

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