I’m thinking today of Robert Mapplethorpe, whose prints caused such tumult in the 80s and who I admire for taking his own path in the world of art. So often we censor ourselves. Or at least I do. Mapplethorpe famously didn’t.
I have to ask myself who would I be if I were fearless? Who would I be if I didn’t really care what you thought of me. Someone quite different I suspect.
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
― Frida Kahlo
I do care and I am not fearless. Perhaps I can be a tiny bit less fearful, at least in my own creative space. I can give other people the gift of deciding if they want to embrace me or censor me for themselves. Because if we withhold who we are, we are withholding something important and no one gets anything. If we are generous with ourselves, we can feed the people who wish to partake of the feast we spread for them.
No donut shop has something for everyone. Vegans and gluten-free people need to find the right shop for them. Raised glazed and maple bacon donuts are not for everyone. How would it be if all donut shops said, “I can’t make vegan donuts or donuts for gluten-free people. I mean what would the people who want raised glazed normal donuts say about me?” That would clearly not work out well in the world.
We need to keep spaces alive for the vegans, the gluten-free, the non-vegans, and those who want to put green chilies on everything, even donuts. We need space for the Mapplethorpe lovers and the Mapplethorpe haters and those who are Mapplethorpe indifferent.
I am obsessed with beauty. I want everything to be perfect, and of course it isn’t. And that’s a tough place to be because you’re never satisfied.
― Robert Mapplethorpe
It is the same for my own work. I need to open my own donut shop that serves the people who need what I am.
November will be crazy busy for me. I’ll be producing a short story a week in addition to writing a novel and completing the art for our gaming supplement. My plan is to crawl even deeper into my creative space. If I don’t nose out much, that’s why. I’ll continue to write a blog post once a week, but expect them to be short.
Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing–and keeping the unknown always beyond you.
― Georgia O’Keefe
Good luck to my friends. May you find the strength within you to be as bold as Mapplethorpe, as creative as Georgia O’Keefe, and as sensitive as Frida Kahlo.