I hate thinking myself an artist. It sounds pretentious and probably is. A little voice in my head tells me, “Hey, what about contributing to society?” or “Why should expressing yourself be your job? Why shouldn’t everyone also get an equal opportunity to do so?”
Then I remember how art has impacted my life. How my friend’s short film about relationships led to me having an honest conversation with Jenine about ours. How Disney’s Frozen, believe it or not, restored my relationship with my dad. That may seem silly but it’s true. Art has not only entertained me, but inspired, changing me into who I am today.
I’m reading Stephen King’s On Writing. I read it when I was a teenager, but don’t remember a word. It’s my favorite type of book: the type that re-energizes my passion for stories so much that I have to stop reading and start writing myself.
I published a novel back in 2014. After writing, editing, designing the cover, formatting the interior, and self-publishing the damn thing, I burned out. Told myself I was going to take a break. Besides blog posts and a few short film scripts, I haven’t written much in the past four years.
The problem is many of my ideas are based in fear. I started writing “The Mansion” because I knew Goosebumps was a best-selling series and I wanted to write a best-selling series, only to discover that I didn’t like Goosebumps.
This past week, I watched two short films that changed my life. Both made by friends. “Ella” by Dan Chen and “Our Last Normal Conversation” by Cole Bacani. The latter isn’t even finished yet. Both films were profoundly personal and that surprised me. I didn’t know you could do that. I didn’t know you could simply tell your own story and make human connections through film. I thought you needed explosions or a movie star to keep audiences interested.
But that’s what art is. It’s about connection. I realized I needed to stop trying to entertain people and start connecting with them. That’s why I’m more proud of certain blog posts I wrote in an hour instead of a four hundred page novel.
Sometimes I get confused and think that I don’t like creating art. It’d be safer to get the filmmaker’s version of a corporate job. Again, more fear-based thinking. The best art works against logic. If it’s safe, it’s stupid. And I’m done being safe.
I don’t know what I’m going to create next. I’m finishing up a short film called “A Roomba’s Tale” but after that, who knows. My only goal is to make something outside my comfort zone, something new, something bold. Something personal. I’ll keep you guys updated.