Make Good Art or Get Creative

This speech by the writer Neil Gaimon I found extremely powerful especially for someone like me who has to do creative things to survive.

But also the fact that I have not done things the normal way and that I keep hitting barriers such as I don’t have an art degree so therefore do not count as an artist for some people. I am in a space inbetween. When I hear or read that others have not done it the normal way either it gives me hope.

Also I feel encouraged that I am not the only person who finds that trying to do projects for money fail and end up leaving you worse off than you started but the ones you do because it’s a fun idea race ahead and are successful.

He mentions the changing landscape of publishing too which for me is an emotive subject – I really think I am going to continue on my own path with my blogs and getting my own CDs printed and what have you. I have tried traditional publishing twice now and both time the company has gone bust or something similar – one still having the rights to the work I’d done so I didn’t even end up with it and worse they have not done anything with it :/

My first attempt at crowd funding has been a huge success 🙂 So I am very happy with that.

He mentions throwing bottles into the sea and then they all start coming back and you have to learn to say no. And you know – this is actually happening – though I would say I have been shouting into the void and now the echos are not only coming back but are bouncing and reflecting and propagating and I am having to turn things down! (But please still ask as I may not be doing stuff that weekend etc… or like with the Stroud Water Festival – what I was supposed to be doing may have been canceled).

I do feel a bit weird though it is just like suddenly I am this person that people know of – I’m getting pounced by people who I do not know who start chatting to me about my art (ok well this has always happened quiet alot but frequency has increased!).

It is bizar but I do feel like a fake – really? Me? That thing I made in the middle of the night? That story I wrote whilst breast feeding the baby at 5 am? The knitting I did at a festival whilst listening to my favourite local bands? That really? You like it?

It is not all positive feedback mind – one of my best friends hates my songs, I was accused at the Poetry Festival of being arrogant as my business cards say Artistic Scientist and Scientific Artist. Alaric cringes at my Wiggly Pet stories and visual puns. Performance poets see me as a page poet, page poets see me as performance or worse experimental and the artists are scared or the science part and the scientists are like ‘you have no PhD!’ and I have people ranting at me over spelling mistakes on my blogs…


That is small compared to what is coming back to me at the moment. I keep thinking I’m so lucky how has this come about? But it is such a knife edge world really – I’m getting bookings now but 6 months down the line? And also it still isn’t actually making money 🙁 And what it does make tends to be for charity.

But you know people are excited about Ballads of the Scientifica and there have been requests for a Wiggly Pet book and for t-shirts with things like my Normali Tea picture on.

If you watch/listen to Neils speech he says make good art, I would change that to Get Creative.

Creativity, Science and Art equals Future Innovation

When I tore the ligaments in my ankle and had to be flown home from a field trip in the desert I GOT CREATIVE – I made Wiggly Pets

When I had to take a year out for medical treatment to my back – I GOT CREATIVE – I began writing and designed a series of childrens’ science stories.

When I found myself having nearly died, and crippled from childbirth, boiling with anger and fear – I GOT CREATIVE – I started writing a novel and so was found in a cafe by the now Cheltenham Poetry Festival Director.

When our house was flooded I GOT CREATIVE and designed childrens activities to entrain my toddler.

When I got shingles and had to rest and give up the Master degree for the second time I found the Paleo Art community and began drawing trilobites and things.

When I was devastated about miscarriage I constructed The Punk In Pink personality.

When I was petrified of going to the hospital to have little Mary I wrote poems about that fear and about having a separated pelvis.

When we were being chucked out of our home I made a poem about how the home is not the building but the people with in.

And so on. There is an even larger list of good times and being creative but that would make this post silly long! 🙂

Basically as I have struggled to build my own serendipity funnel and have just reached my perceived tipping point and this talk resonated so strongly that it made me cry (yes I know that will be the hormones).

If you haven’t already listen to it 🙂 But most of all Get Creative!

Posted: Thursday, June 28th, 2012 @ 10:20 pm
Categories: Poems.
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