I knew that I didn’t want to draw a cactus, at least not a plain cactus, since that was the “low-hanging fruit” on this picture. As I let myself start thinking deeply about this prompt, I started thinking about what makes me prickly. The topic started to make me uncomfortable, so that’s how I knew I was on the right path. I started thinking about how once someone has been hurt by love, they can get prickly and not want anyone close to them.
Several years ago, I went to the park and sat alone in my car. My boys were off visiting their father. I was lonely and couldn’t stay at the quiet house any more. So I sat at the park and watched the clouds drift by. And cried. Okay, I’m going to admit it now, I cried. Hard. Long and hard.
Something encouraged me to open my eyes and look toward the sky. I did, and there was this cloud floating along that looked like this twisted genie lamp. I grabbed my sketchbook and drew it out. Then I did another, and another. I went home and continued drawing these all weekend long. It’s not like I was filling pages, but whenever I felt the mood to let my hands draw some elegant curves.
Just the other day, I came across something (I think it was a Facebook post) complaining that it seemed like princes were always out to slay the dragon and there were no stories where the princes were actually the ones in need of saving.
I just smiled to myself. I didn’t comment, just walked away.
You see, I’ve already written that story.
Now, I’m going to share it with you.
I was 15 when I originally wrote this story and turned it in for an assignment to a college-level workshop on writing children’s fiction which I was taking at the time. I have only made minor corrections to the story here — it is pretty close to the first writing. I keep thinking I will go back and flesh this story out some — it would be fun to do. But here, now, I will share it with you in all its cheesy glory.
A children’s fantasy about a prince who has met his match. Available for 1 week only! Then, it will turn back into a pumpkin and a new story will appear.
Ah, April Fool’s Day. The day when we all try to trick someone else while not getting tricked ourselves.
How often do we stop to realize that we are our own fool in our life every day?
If someone is trying to “fool” us, they are trying to trick us or manipulate us in some fashion. Do our brains not do this to us too? How often do you forget the present moment to lose yourself in a memory of the past or a hope for the future only to realize that we’ve made a mistake when we should have been paying attention?
Our brain fools our heart often. This is why in Manifest the Magic, my characters start discussing how the eyes are connected to the brain and the heart is held captive in a cage all it’s own. The brain is what “sees” the outer world and deciphers what it wants to tell the heart. I feel like it’s one of the ways that we trust our thoughts over our emotions and our gut instincts. It’s easier to believe what we “see” than trust what we feel.
But there is a good side to the fool too. I look at the fool card in the Tarot decks. Here, the fool represents starting a journey. Sometimes he is shown about to fall off a cliff, as if that’s exactly what happens to people who set out on their own in search for adventure. I think that’s the opinion of someone who is jaded and been burned themselves a few times. Not everyone who starts in a new direction is risking impending doom. Must we hold onto this legacy? In other decks, the fool is merely on a path with his faithful dog beside him. I’ve seen a horse and rider leaping a chasm as a fool card, as can be another interpretation of this card: a leap of faith. Any way you look at it, the fool of the Tarot represents taking a risk.
What if we were to look at April Fool’s Day as a day to take a new risk? Remember, you are the fool here, not someone else. This has to be your risk, not someone else’s. What journey would you set out on? What would be your direction? Would you be heading toward your True North (meaning that it’s following your emotions rather than what your head is telling you what to do)? Maybe for just one day, it is time to step outside yourself and allow yourself to be the fool. Do some child’s play. Eat something you’ve always wanted to try but never had the (dare I say it?) “guts” to try. Wear a jester’s hat to work and make everyone you see smile.
Beware, you might just find yourself liking to be the fool and decide to do it everyday. And maybe that’s not so bad. The world could use a little less jibber-jabber of head talk and a lot more fun and laughter.
Each time you judge yourself, you break your heart. — Kirpal Venanji
While there are times I do believe you need to keep a critical eye with your art (which in a sense is making a judgement about yourself, or rather the work you have done), I can also relate to this quote.
Please note how I phrased that in the parenthesis. When you are creating, it is very easy to think at first that you are judging yourself when you are checking over your art. but you aren’t. It is something you created. It is now separate from you. If a piece isn’t turning out as well as you hoped, it’s not that you are a bad artist. In fact, this is a good thing. It actually means you are growing as an artist and seek a higher level of craftsmanship. So don’t get all depressed (and break your heart) believing you’re no good. Rather, remember that it’s a sign of your learning. Go back and keep working on that piece until it is better. Keep the judgement on the work instead of yourself. That’s where it belongs.
As long as you can keep the separation between you and your work, you’ll keep pushing yourself to get better and better.