Sunday, April 01, 2007
Pat Janssen Hall’s up-to-date take on Frida Kahlo’s famous Self Portrait enchanted me instantly with its swirling mocha background, Frida’s beautifully elusive expression, her elegant neck, and the shock of that white “I am not obsessive!” tee-shirt.
“So what’s with this tee-shirt logo?” I asked, turning to Pat, who was leafing through one of her many albums of artwork.
“Oh, that,” Pat murmured, turning several more pages in her album before handing the collection to me. “Well . . . look what this reviewer wrote.”
I scanned the newspaper clipping, which featured several of Pat’s eye-catching designs augmented by the reviewer’s own highly enthusiastic opinion of Pat’s work, praising her “maniacally obsessive attention to detail.”
“He made me sound a bit crazy,” Pat grumbled. Then she chuckled, re-reading the glowing article. “I guess I am.”
Sounds familiar, I thought, shifting uncomfortably as I considered my own writing obsession. Why do rational people willingly pour out their souls for years, earning insecure livings, the ever-present threat of rejections and the rotten-raspberry peltings of critics? (Okay, I admit the critics have been very kind to me; I shouldn’t list them as a downside. But there’s always one, isn’t there?)
Life would be so much easier without these torments. Unless you’re filled with a God-granted passion that makes life unbearable without your art.
To reassure myself (and Pat) that our obsession is not TOO uncommon, I’ve gathered quotes from other writers of all genres and ages. Enjoy!
I KNEW I WAS OBSESSED WITH WRITING WHEN:
“When I wanted to get pulled over for speeding so I would have first-hand material for a scene I was working on. (I didn't get pulled over.)” Jenness Walker
“When I missed a meal.” Donita K. Paul
“When even my dreams weren't a safe place to hide! My writing muse follows wherever I go, asleep or awake, braindead or not.”
"I first knew I was obsessed with writing when I first understood what a word was. Seriously! I can't remember a time in my life when I wanted to do anything other than write. Period. I believe writing is my calling and has been since before the foundation of the world. (Can anyone say "one-dimensional"?) Actually, that's not completely true. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, so doesn't that make me two-dimensional? Sigh. Probably not.” Kathi Macias
“I followed so many rabbit trails I constantly craved carrots.”
Sylvia Tucker, Ph.D.
“When I stopped suffering from ‘Writing Cramps’ and started suffering from ‘Lactic Acid build up associated with Acute Eric Mosher's Disorder.’” Eric Mosher
“When my home fire evacuation plan includes risking life and limb to save my laptop!” Jill Elizabeth Nelson
"I knew I was obsessed with writing when . . . . turned everything I read and heard into a story idea.” Gail Gaymer Martin
“I started having full blown arguments with my characters! In the
middle of the night no less!” Rachel Smith
“Hmm. That's a hard one because I was "obsessed" with my fantasy world long before I began writing. From the time I was about ten years old, I always had one story or another churning through my brain. Other than writing short stories in high school English classes, I didn't write until I was in my forties. I've been writing for twenty years now.” Louise M. Gouge
“. . . when I was riding out a terrific storm at sea on a 48 ft boat and fought my way from the bridge down into the cabin to discover if a thought I had would work in my WIP. Actually it did, and showed up in my first novel.” Polly Bolack
"I knew I was obsessed with writing when I cried over a positive pregnancy test--not because I was overcome with joy, but because I feared what a baby would do to my writing career. By the way, Nathan is now almost 5 and I thank God for upsetting my plans by sending him.” Jeanette Hanscome
“... I spent all my Christmas and birthday money on books about craft instead of clothes or a purse!” Leigh DeLozier :-)
“...I spent FIVE hours last night trying to get the layout just right on my writing blog. Ugh.” Angie Farnworth
“I stopped watching Robotech, Voltron, and other afternoon cartoons and started writing my own story episodes starring the brave loud Asian chick heroine who vanquished monsters with her mighty sword and cute shoes.” Camy Tang
Note: Pat Janssen-Hall's remake of a self-portrait by the famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo is available as a signed and numbered giclee!