A year, no, probably closer to two years ago, I was at The Art Store (no, seriously, it's called "The Art Store") buying sumpin' or other, when I saw the sign on the locked glass case: "Koh-i-noor, 50% off." Now, if art stores (like computer stores and office supply stores) are to me as hardware stores are to most guys and jewelry stores are to most girls, the Rapidograph case is like where they keep the specialty-use Mikita saws or the anything if you're at Tiffany & Co. I could buy one of everything at the art store (or The Art Store) whether I needed one or not, but Rapidographs...well, shit, son, you need y'self at least five of those. For your different liiiine widths and whatnot...
To my credit, I did not slap down the Visa then and there; I actually left the store and thought about it for a week. (After making sure the sale would still be on, of course.) Then I came back, paid the man, and trotted off with my shiny new box of SEVEN, count 'em, SEVEN Rapidographs like the panting dog that I am. Upon reaching home, I immediately propped them up on a shelf to admire them in their pretty new case...and never touched them again.
Until yesterday, that is. I did under duress what I would not let myself do out of mere desire. Because while discussing a particular design job I'm working on right now, I threw out an idea that required drawing. By me. Now. (Idiot...idiot...)
For someone who grew up with a pen in her hand, I'm not a very good draw-er. I guess the problem was that I was using it to write at least as much as to draw. Because for every time I'd long to be Hilary Knight, I'd want just as fervently, or more so, to be Kay Thompson. R. Crumb, Edward Gorey, Aubrey Beardsley; Dorothy Parker, Charles Bukowski, Joan Didion. So many twisted, miserable lifestyles; so little time.
Ultimately, I decided I was a better writer than I was an artist. And since I couldn't be a great artist, I would go with my strong suit and let the drawing go entirely.
It's a shame, this idea I've held so long: that we can only do One Thing. That creativity can't express itself through multiple, if imperfect, outlets. That I must be truly great at something to earn the right to spend time working, or even playing, at it. I've probably missed out on a lot over the years because of it. But lately I've been finding that I enjoy dabbling, a little cooking, a little sewing, a little guitar-pickin', a little blogging. I'm finally loosening my iron grip on perfectionism as a way of life, and wouldn't you know, life's getting to be more fun. Messier, scarier, and even dirtier (all this fun leaves little time for scrubbing grout with a toothbrush), but a lot more fun.
So I must pause, briefly, to thank those brave, multitalented souls who came before me for putting themselves out there, for exploring their truths via their eclectic, complex selves, so fearlessly and inspiringly. Evelyn Rodriguez, a.k.a. The Zen Mistress of Business, who is a constant reminder that binary thinking is not not nearly as activating (not too mention fun) as a crazy cocktail of influences. Hugh MacLeod, who's crackerjack marketing-smart AND a draw-er of some of the funniest, filthiest cartoons ever AND doesn't see a disconnect with being both. My new bud, Michael Nobbs, who introduced me to peops like Trevor Romain and Danny Gregory, all of whom made it possible for me to believe that great art and great writing weren't mutually exclusive, that they could reside happily within the same sentient being, that one might actually inform and enrich the other.
You guys make it a little less scary to post this picture. And the idea of picking up a sketchbook at The Art Store positively thrilling.