Ah, the world of an artist, welcome to my world! Honestly, I’d rather have my magic markers, glitter and papers than make-up, jewelry and fancy clothes. Give me my notebooks and computer over a flat screen television or satellite dish any day of the week. Lead me to the park where I can be inspired by the antics and beauty of nature. Find me in the craft stores carefully choosing stickers and beads with which to create goodies to wear and share.
Years ago, I worked in a little gift shop, in which I sold jewelry I made. It was fun and I had a blast creating things I would later see customers wearing. Then I decided to branch out and placed my ankle bracelets in , of all places, hair salons around town. See, these salons also had tanning booths, so I figured the ladies with the hot tans might want to have something glittery to show off their fancy new colors. I was right and the ankle bracelets sold like, like ankle bracelets. Meaning, no one could have just one.
My dad reminded me the other day that they had a painting of mine hanging in their house. Huh? Oh yeah, for that brief period in time about 20 years ago when I thought I’d try my hand at decorating canvasses with whatever my mind cared to create, I did end up with six finished pieces and all but 2 of them sold. I wondered who bought them…
Now, my greeting cards have been going strong for well over a decade! I LOVE any excuse to make a card. Of course my first attempts were few and far between, especially when I found I could join the Gold Crown club at the local Hallmark store, thus saving a boat load of money by spending an ocean’s worth. Yeah, for about two years running, I personally kept that store and the local post office in business. When I started, in earnest, to create my own cards, I was still on a first name basis with the postal clerks however Hallmark felt the loss keenly. In fact, I remember the day our receptionist came into my office and just stood there for a moment, shaking her head. When I asked her to either speak or stand aside (she was blocking my light), she whispered that the manager of the Hallmark store just called to see if I was okay, as they had not seen me in there in 3 weeks. Yeah, I was an economic force with which to be reckoned.
side note here… that store was eight doors down from our shop, so they had to have seen my van parked out front every day…
On Fridays, I had the day off from ALL my jobs, so I would pack up either my jewelry totes or my pens and papers and head to a coffee shop, which just happened to be located smack in between the store where I worked in and the card shop. I’d plant myself in a out of the way corner and hang out all day, drinking coffee, taking my meals and making art! Eventually the card shop staff found me and one particular morning the manager came over, sat down and just watched me draw. After about ten minutes, she asked if my cards were for sale. I was shocked as I never, ever thought about selling them. So I suggested a price, she whipped out some cash, chose a variety of cards and away she went. I treated several of the coffee house employees to a pizza from the parlor next door and we all had a good grin. Two week s later, the card shop manager returned to sit with me, this time I was making bracelets and yes she bought a few. But she also told me what she had done with the cards. She had submitted them to Hallmark for consideration. Hush my mouth. The coffee shop patrons as well as the staff were always paying more attention to me than was necessary, and it was as though E.F. Hutton was there, in person. Of course I HAD to ask her what happened. Sadly, she shook her head, they were not as interested in my cards as she was but on the bright side, they DID return the cards to her. Guess that meant they weren’t going to copy my designs, eh?
Ah yes, I have had several brushes with artistic energy and pulled in a few pennies. These days, I still take special orders for jewelry or give pieces away as gifts. Painting? Well, I have some oil pastel crayons and have created a couple pieces but the Detroit Institute of Arts is NOT scheduling a showing any time soon, thank you very much. No, I pretty much concentrate my artistic talent on my writing and publishing my books. Yes, I do create my covers and all the photographs in them are mine. I do see writing as an art form, heck we had creative writing classes in school.
Of course for me, my creative writing takes the form of poetry and the majority of the books I have published are poetic in nature. Beware, oh poet brothers and sisters, the look of fish-eyed disdain when you tell people that you are writer of rhyme. As I have had more than my share of those who practically demand I defend the importance of my chosen career path. In the past, I chortled right along with them, denying my birth right as well as my talent. We’d all have a good laugh, then we’d be onto more serious roles such as drunkards or euchre players! Still, I knew that one day I’d craft a rhyme so perfect,when they’d read it, all their tongue wagging would cease and they’d hoist me upon their shoulders, parading me around the town for all to see, me, the successful Princess of Poetry!
All right, you may STOP laughing at any time, ‘kay?
But I did write that poem and since I have stopped playing the reindeer games of caring what they think (oh and yes, stopped drinking too) I feel completely vindicated and accepted by the one person I really needed to know accepted me and my writing, ME! So here it is, The Poet’s Role, from the very first book I self-published, Perspective, it’s all about replacing one thought with another. And should any of my former critics end up seeing this (doubtful but hey) then I offer them this: THANK YOU!! You rock!
The Poets’ Role
If the poet had a role, what would it be
Perhaps to show you a world you do not need eyes to see
To help you understand a mother-loved face
To let you imagine you’ve come from a far-away place
To recant romantic tales of long ago
To help you enjoy the trip when someone tells you where to go
To enhance the beauty of a voice that can no longer sing
To stir the heart with flag waving pride of just how freedom rings
To introduce children to parents they never knew
To invent yet another way to describe the color blue
To wind up this diatribe
More personal than credible
The role of a poet
Is purely hypothetical
(c) Annette Rochelle Aben 2009, 20015