Sunday, May 28, 2006

Laughter, Anticipation, Perspiration and A Little Bit of Terror!

After almost 2 weeks of rain, today dawned sunny and glorious. Our minister at church has no children of her own and will be moving on to a new church out on the West Coast this summer, so our family and another offered to be her excuse to come see the movie OVER THE HEDGE with us after church this morning and refused to let her pay for her own ticket. What a FABULOUS movie!! I laughed for most of the movie except during the really poignant scenes and cannot wait to see it again or own it once it comes to DVD. I caught only a glimpse of half of the things that the animators tucked in there as inside jokes. The artist in me always likes to see a movie like that a second time so that I can look at details like how they did the texture of the fur or what quirky things they hid in the background that I missed the first time. It felt good to laugh that hard and the squirrel character had almost all the best lines. How do I know?? Both kids have been doing running squirrel monologues almost all afternoon!

Tomorrow morning, just before lunch, I have another meeting with the author whose children’s book I hope to illustrate this summer. She seemed thrilled with my style and samples when we met just over 2 weeks ago, but I want to be SURE that she will like how my style brings her story to life. I had one really hard disappointment last summer when I did a whole bunch of work for someone in exchange for royalties on a project that never materialized... so perhaps I am just being overly cautious. Perhaps it’s also because I have come so close three other times and then had things fall through or had art directors choose one of the other illustrators in the final pencils stage.

One cure for nerves in my case is always to get out and much about in the garden. There is nothing so horrid, mundane and yet so satisfying as yanking weeds from your flower beds. I even discovered that something which came up in the place of one of the perennials I had planted last year was actually just a common meadow weed. Yank! I turned all the rich soil in the raised bed where I plant vegetables every year and then Erin helped me put in our peas, beans, radishes, lettuce, carrots, pumpkins and yellow squash. In two weeks the risk of frost will be pretty much over, so I think I am safe. I’d love to have a much larger garden, but I haven’t figured out where I’d put it when the girls still enjoy racing around and playing tag on the grass. Two hours of yanking weeds out and planting things in was very satisfying!

So, now that the girls are in bed, the Memorial Cup is over here in Moncton (the Wildcats lost 6 to 2) and their lunches will be packed right after this blog, it is time to settle down with my pencils and go over what I’d like to show the author tomorrow morning. The little bit of terror and self-doubt that always seem to lurk at the edges is being kept at bay by a new visualization technique I shared with Teresa the other day. After talking with a friend about how critical she feels when she hears the CD her group recorded and listening to my sister share how writers in one class she’d signed up for kept telling everyone how they hated their own stuff, I have decided that this type of self-doubt must be almost universal to the creative mind. So I will not let this get in the way of chasing a long-cherished dream. Every time I feel an inkling of self-doubt begin to rear its ugly head, I am going to visualize a huge cartoon hammer like one uses in that “Whack-A-Mole” game and I am going to mentally WHACK the self-doubt back underground. I really am such a visual person! I may even add in a squeaky sound effect for added measure. WHACK! WHACK!


Erin said...

"In two weeks the risk of frost will be pretty much over" Ah, you Canadians and your wacky weather. It was over 90(F) here today! Ah well. Best of luck with your author meeting tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it all works out this time. And definitely add the squeaky noise to the visual hammer. It will make you smile, if nothing else. :-)

Teresa said...

Good luck with your meeting, Jennifer...I'm probably too late, but sending good thoughts your way anyway!! :-)

Jasmine Waterfall (Jazz) said...

Your wonderful visualization technique reminds me of one of my favourite passages from Clarissa Pinkola Estes' Women Who Run With the Wolves:

"Often the creative life is slowed or stopped because something in the psyche has a very low opinion of us, and we are down there groveling at its feet instead of bopping it over the head and running for freedom. In many cases what is required to aright the situation is that we take ourselves, our ideas, our art, far more seriously than we have before."

I'm sure she'd appreciate your added sound effects. Whack away! :-)

tkdchick said...

I agree self doubt and self worth must be universal. I think that's why I stopped writing years ago. I was afraid of people reading my stories and telling me I was useless and to give it up.

Now I find there is little to no time for the things I used to do as a teen, both writing and drawing. But I absolutely refuse to give up stitching!!!