May 6, 2009

Artistic Quibbles

One hears about movie stars who don't like to watch their own movies. People seem surprised at that, but I don't.

Movie stars might have quibbles with how their profiles looked... or how their scenes by the swimming pool came out. I saw in an interview with a legendary British actor who couldn't bear to watch his older movies. He claimed it was too painful to watch how he was overacting.

Well it's just the same with children's book makers. If you want artistic quibbles, we have quibbles in abundance!

I find it's easy to relate as a children's book-maker. Such behavior is almost a no-brainer. We're always struggling against that inner critic, who is not known to be any artist's best friend.

But it is nice when finally, with the forgiveness of time we learn to be more self accepting.

I once did the covers of a magazine for a year... and every time I'd get them in the mail, I'd shove them into an envelope and out of my sight. I didn't want to look at them ever again. Years went by and one day I discovered a big fat envelope on a dusty shelf. I opened it up with curiosity. It was the entire year's collection of those old magazine covers.

But this time, instead of cringing, I was astonished to see how well designed they were! How cheerful and fun they all looked! Finally, after 5 years, I was able to give myself a pat on the back. Such is the artiste's life I'm afraid.

I have an equally hard time with writing. Since writing is a totally plastic art form, it's difficult for me to ever decide when anything is actually 'right' or not. Sometimes I make a guess if it's 'right' or not... but then it's so easy to change everything.

I find it's especially difficult to read the printed final version of a book I've written. Why? Because no matter how many times I've proof-read it... or read through it until it turns invisible... I can never get over the feeling that I've left in some critical error. I'm afraid to read the lines. I keep thinking I might have put in the wrong word. Maybe I used 'for' instead of a 'from'. Little things like that won't let the poor author relax.

So I know just why those movie stars don't want to watch their old movies.

Today's blog photos are of notable people looking through my book, 'One Smart Cookie'. No doubt the stars were gracious enough to overlook the errors...

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