At some point during high school, I came to the realization that I wanted to be an artist. After graduation, I was extremely naive in the whole searching for a college thing, and got talked out of being an artist. “Artists don’t make money” the person that was signing me up for courses in marketing and advertising instead of fine art, said. So my dream of being an artist was thwarted for the first time.
Next, I joined the Air Guard to try to get my GI bill, so I could go back to school to become an artist. I wanted to be a person that designed and illustrated the medical training books in the Air Force. Okay, course set. When I got the papers that would tell me what I was going to be in the Air Force, it read Medical Service Specialist. The short term for this is Medic. Thwarted a second time, I fell back and regrouped, and moved to Dayton, Ohio.
I was called to war in 91, and was injured. I could no longer do my job in the Guard, so they gave me Vocational Rehab. Yay! I was finally going to school to become an artist. During my studies in an English course, we had to write short stories. My English Professor loved my stories and told me I should switch majors and become a writer instead. I brushed the idea off, because I was finally on my way to becoming what I had always wanted to be. In 1997 I graduated from Sinclair Community College, with a degree in Visual Communication (Commercial Art). And off I went to become an artist.
Twenty some odd years later, my time in that war in 91 was catching up with me. My hands shook, my eyes blurred, I had pain all over my body and short term memory loss. All these conditions got me “laid off” from my last job as an artist.
I fell into a black hole of depression, my ability to make art was for the most part gone. I stumbled around for years, being nothing, playing video games and watching Netflix. I had lost my joy. My muses had left for greener pastures. Insult added to injury I had to return to the place of my birth. I had vowed never to return to this forsaken city.
My depression became overwhelming, and all of my medical problems worsened. I so wanted to return to my beloved Dayton, but it was impossible at this time. I had thoughts of novels appear in my head, but I pushed them away. I was an artist, not a writer. I believe one of my muses had stuck around, and was giving me ideas. I tried and started a novel about a corporation poisoning our water, to keep the masses dumb and complaisant. That novel didn’t get into three chapters before I quit. I had placed the novel in the state I was living in. So even in fiction I couldn’t escape.
I believe my stubborn muse realized this, and gave me the story I’m working on now. It’s about a witch living in Dayton, two things that I love and had lost to some degree. Yes I’m a witch, but living in my father’s home I could no longer openly practice. So within the pages of my novel, and through my heroine, I could be a witch living in Dayton once more. It has been wonderfully therapeutic, and healing.
I’m still an artist, but now I draw with words.