I wanted to drop you a line, friends, to say hello...
As you know, I am studying law and, if you know any law students, you know that during semester, they go into a study cave and rarely come out. I am no different. My life is spent studying and sleeping, and occasionally decompressing with an episode of The Bold and The Beautiful (because if there is ever a show that reassures you that your own life is not so nuts, it's Bold!).
There is definitely no time for art - all good intentions aside - and the closest I get is looking at the lovely art on some Facebook groups I'm in or occassionally Pinterest. Every so often, I buy a magazine (when I can find the ones I like).
That's not to say I have forgotten you. I have not and my heart does yearn to feel creative. Over the summer I had big plans to really sink my teeth into some online classes. Then cancer struck - sort of. I had major surgery in January for non malignant but dangerous tumours relating to my previous cancers, and that basically killed off any creative urges I had. My primary goal was to stay awake and alive.
For what it's worth, I have recovered really well and have had excellent results, which is a nice thing to be able to report.
Here's an honesty bomb for you:
A big part of my lack of creative motivation has been the relative disappointment of Amplified Art. This was a book I poured my heart and soul into. I worked really, really hard on it, travelled to the USA to have the photography done and finish the writing, as well as teaching from it. I poured a lot of my hard earned money into it. I know from the classes I taught related to the book that people wanted this book from me. I would not have written it otherwise. I know people enjoyed the classes and wanted more.
For reasons many and varied, the book really hasn't succeeded - sales have been really low. It has been given virtually no support from the publishers and so booksellers haven't picked it up or been exposed to it the way I expected. There were massive issues around distribution which meant that, here in my own country, by the time the book was available, its moment in the sun had passed.
As an artist and a human, I wont lie: it hurts. I imagine it'd be a little like someone telling you that they don't like your child. It may not be meant maliciously, but it's personal and it stings. This does too.
I will say this: though the reviews have also been slow, they've invariably been positive - even the negative ones have actually been only partly negative. Some of the recent ones have actually been lovely. I want you to know I read them - all of them. (Even if I shouldn't). I appreciate them (even the ones that offer constructive criticism) more than perhaps I can convey. I truly take heart to know that someone, somewhere is getting it.
I've also had some emails over the journey of people telling me how much they appreciate my books and my work. This, too, means so much to me. I am not someone who necessarily seeks validation from others - if I know I tried my best, I can only do just that and what others think shouldn't matter. But it is nice to sometimes be reminded that this hasn't all been a colossal waste of time, that people are learning and enjoying what I've given them. I may not need the validtion but when things haven't gone quite as expected, it's nice to be reminded sometimes of my value as an artist and writer. Like other humans, I sometimes question my choices and second guess myself. I doubt many people whose livelihoods depend on this kind fo work don't second guess themselves at least six times before breakfast (hello to Lewis Carroll!).
I just want to say thankyou. Thanks for being on this journey with me. For believing in me when I don't believe in myself. For caring.
I don't say it enough, but I love you for it.