3 Reasons Why We Need Dreamers


It’s recently come to my attention that I am too much of a dreamer…and I don’t want to change.

These aren’t the sorts of dreams with a set goal at the end of the tunnel. When your chosen career is storytelling, it’s easy to forget the ‘rules’ and stand out even in your own crowd. For example, if you blog about books and are passionate about classics rather than trending novels, you aren’t going to review books like other readers.

You’re a dreamer. You’re different. You’re facing a challenge similar to mine.

I’ve been told multiple times to “wake up,” which implies there’s no place in the world for dreamers like me to splash some color here and there. I’m not growing out of this – I’ll always be a child at heart. And recently, I’ve decided to embrace it.

I’m not apologizing anymore for being a dreamer, and here are three reasons why you shouldn’t, either–three reasons why the world needs people who don’t conform to the standards of what is ‘right.’

We need dreamers because growing up can be toxic. It’s important to be more mature, of course, and learn to handle things in a manner befitting of your age–but when this proper behavior puts out the light of enchantment, the world becomes a dim place.

People want to be reminded of the freedom of childhood. Even when it seems you’re being mocked because you’re different, trust me, your fresh outlook on the world is helping someone now far more than you think.

We need dreamers to break the rules. Already in the world of blogging we see dreamers and creatives making a comeback, showing that it’s acceptable–if not necessary–to break the rules for success. And I might add that, with the Internet, we are free to be ourselves, unconventional though we may be.

We need dreamers to make art. Where language is a barrier, art will get the message across. A picture can mean the same thing to two people who have nothing in common–or it might mean something completely different! Without dreamers and the artists to create pieces that speak universally, what would our world look like?

Of course, not all dreamers are the same. Not everyone who makes art will be engrossed by tales of faeries, obsessed with glitter and small animals (like me, heh heh.) The point of this post is that it’s fine to be different, and you shouldn’t allow people to bring you down or prevent you from expressing yourself

You might be a more organized dreamer than I am. You might specialize in painting while I write novels. You might love pop music while I prefer indie–you might find enchantment in black and white, while lately I’m obsessed with pastels.

It’s okay. Be yourself.

This year I’m going to stop apologizing for being a little different, and I choose to be grateful for it instead. Embrace your unique personality and see how it affects your career and life.

If you’ve been put down for breaking the rules, I hope this year you’ll find the courage to accept who you are–unique and capable of true magic.

Movie Review: Begin Again


Stories can lose their soul if edited too much. This is true regardless of the medium used—books, movies, music. It’s a struggle not to polish a piece so thoroughly that it loses its humanity, a truth told in the film Begin Again.

Dan used to be a successful music label executive, but he hasn’t adapted to changes in the industry. It’s not that he has nothing to choose from—demos are mailed to him every day. He just doesn’t want to pick up a bad record saturated in auto-tune.

The determination to live by his standards, not bowing to what’s popular, has gotten him in trouble. He hasn’t signed an artist in years. It’s having disastrous effects on his career, even changing the way his family sees him.

When the record company fires him, it kills what remained of his confidence. That night he finds himself at a bar, drinking away his misfortune. In this moment of crippling hopelessness, he overhears an acoustic performance that’ll change everything.

begin-again

Gretta (Keira Knightley!!) is a songwriter recovering from a difficult breakup. Prompted by a friend, she’s reluctantly gone onstage to play her latest creation. No one seems to be listening but Dan, who approaches her and asks if she would consider working with him.

He could get his job back. She could land a record deal. What really happens is healing: Dan and Gretta are both lost souls, but help each other back up.

The songs alone are interesting, because they’re recorded on the streets of New York where life can be heard—this includes traffic, people, angry pedestrians. It created a sensation of music roaming the sidewalks, filling people with life.

Though Gretta’s songs are powerful, I had to check online to make sure Keira Knightley was singing. It was just bizarre to see her behind a microphone. People have criticized her voice, but I thought it lovely, the lyrics human enough to draw me in.

Begin Again teaches that art shouldn’t look or sound the same. It reminds us not to give up on our passions. Human feelings will capture hearts, time and time again. And we should not compromise who we are if it leads to unhappy success.

If we’re passionate about something, we ought to be careful. Some paths promise happiness, but will only make us drag our feet.

This story celebrating honest art made me contemplate my motives. Do I write because I love it, or for the sake of an audience? Would I compromise my story’s soul for the sake of a larger number? Am I going to follow trends I don’t like, just to make a name for myself?

These are questions all storytellers should ask. It’s tempting to follow crowded paths to success, but remember—we might forget the sound of our own voices, trying to mimic others.

What the World Needs Now


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Have you ever gotten an urge to write something from the bottom of your heart—only to be intimidated by some unnameable force insisting that you smooth the edges until it no longer sounds like you? That urge to fit in and not ruffle feathers…that urge to be like other people so you won’t draw attention…

It may lead you to hit Backspace every time you complete a sentence, starting over with something that’ll sound ‘better.’ Then it’ll make you hesitate before you click Publish or even share a snippet with friends; it’s an irrational fear many of us don’t even want to admit we have.

For those of us already creative, that urge makes us box our potential so it isn’t explosive. We swallow beautiful words because they’re too different for society; we’ll water them down so they no longer have an impact. If a person has yet to find their creative medium, it’ll have a more tragic effect: This person will never try to create, labeling any form of art as a waste of time.

I’m not talking about Writer’s Block, but reluctance to show the world one’s true colors from fear of being judged. Sometimes we don’t think we’re bright enough, or maybe we fear our colors are so bold they’ll blind anyone who walks past us.

What we don’t realize is the world needs more people who’ll glow so brightly with new ideas and creations that they’ll pour magic into a shadowy room.

The creative life is lived both selfishly and for others—that is, we create to find fulfillment but a story ultimately wants to be told. It’s a peculiar balance of doing our own thing and worrying how others will perceive it. Of course it’s all perception in the end—we can’t force someone to like our work—but face it, every creator craves that feeling when someone enjoys our work and says so.

Imagine how much more satisfying that’d feel if we stopped smoothing the edges of our message to create art that was purely ours. Imagine if our messages shone so brightly, they illuminated the room to catch the sight of more people, changing more lives.

It all starts with accepting ourselves for who we are. We should never go after the artist stereotype, because that changes over the years; what the world needs now, at a time so devoid of hope and color, is art with meaning. Art so outrageous and explosive that we will inspire other people to glow as well.

Don’t blur the edges until you’re telling someone else’s story! What we need are original, refreshing, dangerous tales. We need you—yes, you.

Artist Cait Potter on Exploring Different Crafts


Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.
Pablo Picasso

Picasso’s quote comes to my mind when I ponder two drawings by artist and writer Cait Potter. They’re among my favorites, the titles creating a parallel: Her fish is titled No Ordinary Bird, and the bird (displayed later in this article) is No Ordinary Fish.

What caught my eye about Potter’s work were the questions they prompted. Is it a bird, or a dragon? Is it a mix of the two? With art it often isn’t about what a subject is, but the emotion a piece evokes. Cait’s art made me wonder, so I asked about her creative process.

sketch1
No Ordinary Bird

 

When did you start drawing? Was it an urge you’ve always had lurking, or did it wake up one day?

Start of last year, I was going through some really rough stuff and when I was in the hospital I was really bored and it just kinda clicked. It was what I wanted to do; I stole a few magazines from the trolley and drew all over them. Tracing and copying the faces of the models. I had a sketchbook at home and I got it out as soon as I got home. I just went from there and it’s been a really good outlet. I think I was really just itching to try something new, I wasn’t inspired, I was really down and I’ve always been really visual.

sketch4

Can you name three things that influence your visual art?

Music, I’m a huge fan of music, I used to play a couple of instruments but now I just do the listening, maybe playin isn’t for me, maybe I’ll pick it back up in a few years. Who knows? I’m content with simply expanding my music taste and supporting local musicians’ atm

Movies, I got told once that I watch too many of them but now, I disagree, I think that movies have helped me become the writer and artist I am today. Rocky horror picture show will probably be one of my all-time favourites, along with Velvet goldmine. I’m a huge fan of b-grade and experimental films, it’s honestly something I want to get into making.

Photography. I love looking at photos, no matter how crap they are, give me experimental photography, give me interesting photos of random things, idc I’m about it.

sketch2
No Ordinary Fish

 

Are your drawings tied to your writing in any way? Do you ever consider a drawing truly done?

My art is very tied to my writing; I’m often drawing things based off of my writing or vice versa. I don’t really know tbh, I just do both when I’m inspired.

I hate it when drawings are done, you kinda just know when to stop, you just think, yeah this is done, but I get attached to my drawings while I’m drawing them, I hate when I’m done. Style wise, I don’t think a drawing is ever done because I know that if I left it and then came back to it a week later to finish it could be totally different then whatever it was in the beginning. Maybe I’m never finished a drawing, maybe I just get bored and never finish anything.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to draw, but hesitates to try a new art form?

Just do it, even if what you draw is crap. Don’t worry about the outcome enjoy the process, draw cause it feels good to draw not cause you like what you draw.


transparentcaitFind out more:

Cait Potter is an 18 year old artist, writer and photographer. She is an art student who has written three chapbooks.

Find her on Instagram and Pinterest, or visit her blog.

Guest Post: A Little Bit of Everything Gets You Nowhere


nowhere

Jack of All Trades, master of none, that’s how it goes. Right? How do we know what our calling is when we have so many?

I studied Fine Art in college. I focused on painting. But I never find myself able to commit to any one idea.

When I moved to Germany, my new group of friends asked me about my art all the time because that’s how we had met, through art. I knew enough to never admit you’re an artist because that’s a really arrogant thing to do. But I meant it.  I’m not an artist.

Artists have passion for their work, and me? I’ll work if you threaten me, or give me really pretty male models to work with. I can still remember a time after picking my major where I sat and thought, what did I do? I have two artist friends who I consider close, no matter where they live. Both are artists at their very core. One of them, listened to me talk about just why I’m not an artist.

“I know how to come up with nice compositions, and I know color theory backwards and forwards, and I know how to get good grades in art school,” I told him “But I don’t have a passion for it, and if I have something to say, I’d rather use my writing to get the points across.” I felt oddly respected by my good pal after we had that conversation. He told me that’s fine, and that he appreciated that I could say that about myself. When I told my other friend the same, he just told me I didn’t work enough. I didn’t work on my art enough.

So what’s the story. Does passion inspire work or does work breed passion?

I thought I had passion because I wanted to see my characters on canvas. The Jack of All Trades in me half assed the work I could have been doing in university because the passion was displaced. I find myself doing things like this all the time. The next project for me is sculpting BJD Dolls and taking commissions for other writer’s characters. Let’s hope for the best.

But even now, my passions are slipping and sliding all over the place.  I’m finishing up a manuscript based on characters I’ve loved for years. My darlings. But I keep finding more and more projects to fulfill my time.

I’m curating a book of short stories called Crows on Heartstrings and am completely immersed with corralling the artists and writers, talking about the business behind marketing and selling a book, trying to find funding, talking about the layout and cover. Does that mean I am meant to be a curator rather than a writer? I’m not giving my book the attention it deserves and I feel like I’m not doing anything of any importance with it.

The answer is no. I don’t think that by being a bit of a Jack of All Trades I’m sacrificing the integrity of one project over another.

Learn to distinguish between the excitement of a new project and true passion. It’s easy to get distracted with shiny new toys disguised as new projects. It’s okay to be passionate about more than one new idea. Please, keep those juices flowing and keep sharing your creativity in whichever means it chooses to manifest.

The only thing you need to remember is to finish what you started. If you find yourself drifting off as I am, remind yourself just why you loved your project in the first place. Don’t be afraid of scrapping everything and starting again. But, be wary of the infinite loop of perfectionism. Don’t settle for a little bit of everything. Don’t stop until you’ve completely indulged yourself in everything and reveled in the success of finishing all your projects as they come.

For me, I want to be a writer. I want to write stories and bring characters to life. I do that most comfortably with writing. But being a Jack of All Trades, if I can call myself that, has forced me to see the world in a more well rounded manner. If anything, it enhances my work.


aubreyAubrey Meeks is a writer, editor, and for lack of a better word, artist, from New York City. She is currently working on the (hopefully) final draft of her manuscript Archer and the Lust Boys for #NaNoWriMo2015 keep updated with her progress with her on twitter @aubreymeeksart.

Crows on Heartstrings, her next project, is a collection of short stories featuring 13 artists illustrating 13 doomed love stories. Keep posted with all her work on aubreymeeksart.com!