Ever since I was young, I took art way too seriously. It was always with equal parts focus and messiness that I drew a cow and sometimes an octopus. However, it was obvious that Chrissy Underwood from elementary school was officially “the best artist.” Her mid-galloping horses were the stuff of cowboy fever dreams.
Knowing that I wasn’t going to be top dog really broke my fragile artist ego. I was salty for years. The kind of salt that gives your hair a nice swooping cowlick. I knew that I wasn’t the best at something, no matter how hard I tried, and this knowledge gave me my first giant dose of moody artist baggage.
In high school, my English teacher wrote at the bottom of my C- paper, “You missed the point of the assignment, but have you ever thought of a career in writing comedy?” I treasured it. I cut out that quote and kept it in my secret box of praise and wonders. Sure, I barely passed high school and I was the fourth best artist at this point, but I’m funny, everyone.
Since then, the too-serious monster took over my system. I couldn’t make quirky greeting cards for a few laughs, I made a SERIOUS greeting card BUSINESS for years until it wasn’t fun anymore (the business was called Sasquatch Says Hello, of course). I couldn’t just make a children’s book with my friend, I wanted it to be picked up and sold throughout the US with agents and book signings! I wanted to practice a fanciful new signature while small children gazed up at me in awe.
In other words, I can’t just make a fun website celebrating the Seattle arts, I want The Stranger to be shaking in their strategically-scuffed boots.
I can’t seem to let my seriousness about the arts go. I have an artist ego and a grossly large heart for this community that is so ever-expansive that when I close my eyes I am just Godzilla-stomping all over this city. Sigh!
Obviously, I needed to try something different.
Much like my personality, the accordion is a heavy breather. I decided to take up learning the accordion, an accordion that will never be played for public consumption. This is quite possibly the first time I’m doing an activity for the sheer joy of learning something new. Ever. In the history of my life.
So my question posed to you dear friends is this: When was the last time you created something just for you? Just to get it out of your system, just to be experimental, just to have fun, and not need to share it with someone else to get that feedback? To not make it something larger than it needs to be?
For April, instead of me desperately asking all of you to contribute to Lonely Arts Club (but still, obviously please do), or trying hard to write all the latest art scoops while sacrificing sleep, or wondering how on earth I will ever be able to pay all of the lovely contributors, I’m going to try and do this project for the joy of doing it—and that’s it.
What are the kinds of things we’d like to see in this community? More of you, yes, and more experimentation. Wiggle room. Lovely, unexpected surprises. In April, I’m giving Lonely Arts Club the equal parts messiness, freedom and focus it needs in order to grow. I don’t want to over water this blooming onion.
In other words, I love you. And I’m trying to love myself. That means asking my Godzilla ego to step out of the way to let Lonely Arts Club waltz into spring. ❤
Sarah “Ever-a-Heavy-Breather” Miller