That's the title of this drawing—I made it last year at this time—its contortions and swirls, soft curves and jagged edges says it all (well to me it does, I still love this drawing)—here I am in this time of my life still exploring the possibilities, reaching higher in spite of feeling tired—putting my foot down and saying "Damn it, I want this—" whatever this is—this "more".
What is it? If you're a writer, an artist, a musician—anyone creative, you know what I'm talking about—shit, if you have a pulse, you know what I'm talking about. Who doesn't want more out of life?
Before I knew what I wanted to do with it—I wanted more out of life, even when I was a kid—I was one of "those kids", the odd one who didn't fit in, preferred to be alone, running around outside looking at things, noticing stuff—reading books too grown up for my age—questioning "how come". For no reason at all, I would run into the wind, through fields and woods, looking for that something out there to satisfy the urge for that elusive “more”. It wasn’t about having something tangible, possessions, because very often I’d find something to do to occupy my mind, my hands, drawing, painting, writing—I went through phases collecting things—picking flowers or stones at the beach (which includes searching for those worn bits of glass—washed glass, beach glass, sea glass, everyone has their name for it). I blew a lot of baby-sitting money on vinyl records and books. The “I gotta have it or I’ll just die” urge comes about when one feels most hopeless I think (shopaholics know this feeling quite well)—as I recall, we’re more dramatically disposed to be like that when we’re much younger. I discovered quite some time ago that having a bunch of “stuff” wasn’t what I wanted out of life—it was the wrong “more”.
I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a painter. So I went to college—academically, I hated nearly every minute of it because I was always being told what to write, what to paint—I wasn't being taught the nuts and bolts, the meaty stuff, not just the "how to" but the "how"—how to make the words in my head sing on the paper, how to make the shapes and colors that I envision become tangible on the canvas. I didn't want to be molded by someone with a big ego into something I wasn't meant to be. College frustrated me—it was the wrong "more". Maybe I didn't connect with the right people—maybe I just expect too much, my bar is too high.
And of course—my mother's voice in my head "Why can't you do something nice?" (Translation get married and have babies.)
I wanted more out of life beyond going home at night exhausted from working all day, feeling unappreciated, cooking and eating dinner, dreading the mail, and sitting in front of the television hoping to be entertained or enlightened by someone else’s creativity—much of which is flashy eye-candy with typical plots—I guess some folks are comforted by something familiar. Then going to bed and getting up to do it all again—living weekend to weekend to do—what? More.
I want more out of life, damn it. I wanted to write books and I wanted to make art. Sometimes I think I’m a glutton for punishment, but I wouldn’t want to have it any other way because I want more out of life than punching a clock five days a week—living hand to mouth—pay check to pay check—just getting by to pay the bills, and maybe have a little bit left over to buy something nice to make life a little more bearable like the latest Ani DiFranco CD or the next Donna Tartt book—new reading glasses—a case of Guinness is always good. I went through a transformation a little over ten years ago—I finally listened to my heart and started to write the stories, muddling along through a very cumbersome first novel that evolved and became more, and soon enough—the drawings evolved into paintings—and my vision became clearer, I hit a sweet spot in my creativity and I was overwhelmed by it, but I knew this is it.
I want to do something that matters—something that matters to me, something that matters to the world—something that might matter to someone else who needs that bit of “more” too. If I paint a painting that someone buys to hang on their wall—it is my hope that they will look at it every day and love it just as much as the day they plunked their money down to buy it. I want them to tingle with joy when they allow their eyes to wander through it, following the rhythm of marks that I made or getting lost in texture. If I write a book that someone plucks off the library shelf one day (or buys at a yard sale for a dime) because there was something about it that stirred their curiosity about what I have to say between the covers. If they read it once and it haunts them later—if they read it again and find something more there—if it changes them in some small way, even if it encourages them to read more books (not just mine) I’ve done something more.
I want more out of life. I paint and write to satisfy that need—I do it for myself more or less—if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t have the happiness that I feel—that high that I feel when I start something new, work on a work in progress, or finish something, finally. There is so much joy in the act of creating that manuscript—that drawing—it’s something so deeply personal for me—it’s selfish at the same time it is generous. It’s what I must do. I always wanted more out of life—it isn’t about fame and fortune—I’m not into the glamor, that's ridiculous. I have very simple needs, simple wants—but I still want more out of life.
That's my story—I'm stickin' to it.
Welcome to my blog Upstate Girl, (a.k.a Follow Your Bliss Part II), I am an independently published author. This blog is all about writing and the stuff that inspires me to write, the joys and obstacles that come along with the writer's life, and my fascination with the psychology of people and what makes them tick...the human condition, as is...and my love for words, playing with them and making sense of them...and I throw in a few photos from my acre of the world just to make things pretty...sometimes there are things I have no words for, only pictures will do.
*Copyright notice* All photos, writing, and artwork are mine (© Laura J. Wellner), unless otherwise noted, please be a peach, if you'd like to use my work for a project or you just love it and must have it, message me and we'll work out the details...it's simple...JUST ASK, please.