Sailors on the Sea

Thursday, December 18, 2008

From Novice to Master - It's a Long Road

I do not have anything out for review right now, so I guess that makes today a Free Topic Day. So here is my topic.

Do you know what I wish? I wish I could paint, or at least draw artistically to my satisfaction. About ten years ago I stumbled upon a website dedicated to artists (http://www.elfwood.com/elfwood.pike). Some of the art is so fantastic it takes one's breath away. Some of it is done by newcomers, still learning their craft. The artwork tends mostly to the fantasy genre, which is how I was able to find it. Since I first found it they have added written work, recognizing that writers are also developing an artistic craft. I have not put anything up to Elfwood at this time. I may. I don't know. Probably not for a while anyway. I've got to give Critters (http://www.critters.org) a go first.

The art of drawing/painting is similar to the art of writing, I think. The entire life cycle can be seen at Elfwood. There are young beginners of twelve, or maybe even younger. There is also talent developed to an amazing degree.

It is easy to find fault in a novice's work. Especially when comparing it to a master's. What is sometimes less obvious (because of the mistakes) is an artist's potential. It's the same with writing. I look at things I wrote back in the 70s, or even the 80s, and I am embarrassed. I shouldn't be. It's part of the process. In order to write well, one must first write poorly. Why? Because no one begins by writing like a master, anymore than they begin drawing like one.

I caught the end of a television program - I don't know what it was - in which a guy was being interviewed because he had written a book about The Great Masters of history. I don't know if he had a special area of concern. He mentioned the Beatles, Mozart and a few other people in literature and such. He said something I found most interesting. When the interviewer made mention that Mozart was writing music at a very young age, the guy quickly added that none of Mozart's great works was done until he was a man. It took Mozart nearly twenty years of practice before he finally got it. He pointed out that the Beatles spent months playing eight hours a day, every day, to audiences in a German strip club before they finally gelled and became the influence they did.

His point was that nobody just "comes from nowhere". Every great master in every area first went through an arduous learning process. Some moved faster through it than others, but they all had to start at the beginning and move forward. Some were quite horrible in their formative stages. We learn through failure more than success. (That's why I know so much. grin)

I don't know where I am on the path between Novice and Master. I don't even know which point is closer to me. They are so far apart, and the road is not straight. There are hills and valleys and mountains and lakes and rivers to cross. Sometimes it is a weary road to walk. Other times it's like a race track.

And I want to draw? And play music? (There was a time when I used to play the harp - I love the harp. Like a fool I sold it in order to get money to go to school and become something totally unfulfilling. Now I try to play bass.) What am I thinking? I have shed a bazillion tears over my writing. (So have some others who have had to read it.) The desire to be a Master is there. But it is so frustrating to stumble. Am I really ready to add drawing to my path? Or music? Why not? Like I wrote some place on one of my blogs: dreams are alive, and to nurture one is to spawn others. The rizones of my writing have sprouted new dreams. I am an old fool who will never learn the lesson my family fought to teach me all my life: dreams can't happen. Yes, they can. Can't they?

I would much rather dream about flying an airplane than learn how to fly - author: annonymous.

Not any more. I'm tired of that kind of life. I want to live.

4 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

I lost my comment so I'll try again.

I didn't know that about the Beatles but it makes sense. I always want to get to the master stage without going through all the in-between bits.

I did Art A level and my husband taught me some basic guitar but I don't paint or play well. I think what I do best is to encourage other people, which is all very well but it would be nice to create something that other people appreciate.

BBJD said...

You are an encouragement. You are also more than that.

As to what you can - or cannot do - I refer you to a post I made on A Voice in the Wind entitled "Can You Draw a Cat". In a nutshell, this is what it says.

At age five (5) everybody thinks they can draw a cat. At age twenty-five (25) very few still believe.

I think we can all draw a cat. But we compare ourselves to the Masters and conclude we can't. The Masters were once novices. Eventually, the novices will be the Masters.

I very much appreciate what you've written to me. Regarding your work, if you have anything finished I would be happy to read it. I'd be happy to read anything you haven't finished.

You take care of yourself. I need your visits. I guess that makes me selfish.

fairyhedgehog said...

"At age five (5) everybody thinks they can draw a cat. At age twenty-five (25) very few still believe."

I like that. I've put it on my blog with a link to here.

BBJD said...

You bet. smiles

I only wish I could remember the name of the man who said to me.

Contributors

A Tentative Schedule

Monday - Progress Report
Where am I with regard to the Current Book

Tuesday - Thoughts About Writing
I was going to be profound, but let's be real

Wednesday - What Am I Learning
What can I take from what I am doing

Thursday - Work Sent Out For Review
Respondes to my submissions

Friday - Other Works of Fantasy
Some of my other fantasy writing

Saturday - The Impact of Music
How music has influenced what I write

Sunday - Venting
My 'morbid' time. A safe compromise, I think