Thursday, 10 April 2014

You have chosen... wisely

(I still love this film. No shame.)

When you’re working on a permanently limited spoon count, making choices in terms of how best to use them becomes a daily task. I work full time and I take my exercise regime pretty seriously so come the end of the week I’m very much on energy rationing and that selection process becomes even more important.

What I’ve realised over time is that I’m very poor at spending said rationing on me. “Me” time or doing something purely for me is generally the last thing I think of to do, and in the long run this probably isn’t a good thing. Eventually I’m going to have to get better at it.

Take for example my creative hobby – I can’t remember the last time I sat down to sketch purely for my own enjoyment or to make something for me. I’ve been saying since I moved that I would make something to put up in the flat, but I’ve just never made the time. When I have been sketching it’s been for other people.

I’m completely aware of why that is so in this instance though. Whilst sitting with a pencil isn’t exactly wildly energetic I’m a perfectionist and so I work with utmost concentration, and concentration is like Kryptonite for spoons.  It just saps everything.

There’s an old saying that states hands and horses are the two hardest things to draw correctly, but I would suggest whoever said that never tried to draw water-and-foam wolves rising out of the sea or replicate a complicated logo in icing pen on a cake. The latter of which I’m doing again in a couple of weeks, because I’m an idiot. 

Whilst I do have a plan in mind for something for the flat (an A3 Middle Earth map won’t take long, right?) I think it will be a long time before I get into the habit of channelling my creativity into something that really benefits me above anyone else. I’m at least going to attempt to explain why.

I don’t create that often any more – I used to do so prolifically. Whilst it’s never going to be more than a hobby (I’m not good enough for anything more, and that’s completely fine) each piece is something special to me – note special, and not “finished”. Sometimes I think I have to give the end product away just to stop me endlessly tinkering with it to make it better. I remain resolutely terrible at finishing.

I think mostly this comes down to the fact that it is my only real skill. I’m not musical, and I’m not particularly good at working with my hands (even pre-Fibro) so being able to replicate an image my eyes capture is my “thing”. It’s the only way I feel I could give something I’ve made to someone and their appreciation be genuine, rather than a veil over them manically thinking up ways to file it in the bin without me noticing.

Also, I won’t create for just anyone either. For whatever reason I feel a peculiar attachment to the work of my own hands and mind, so while I don’t necessarily want to keep them (I just take a photo for me to keep) it’s not something I make or indeed give away lightly. It’s also a lengthy and tiring process, so if I’m going to spend the spoons on making something for you then rest assured you’re pretty darn special to me. I’ve only ever once gotten that decision wrong, but I still enjoyed making the piece in question so I can’t complain.

(*happy dance*)

My last effort was Thror’s map of Erebor from The Hobbit. If we count the time spent practicing the writing style on the map – which was wonderful fun as it’s a lovely flowing script once you find the knack – all in all it was probably about ten hours work. It was however tremendously enjoyable probably in no small part due to my attachment to the source material. I did get a small thrill when tracing out the words “Here of old was Thrain, King Under the Mountain”.

This also gave rise to my A3 Middle Earth map scheme. I loved replicating Thror’s map and I don’t want to relinquish the style just yet. Learning to take more time for me is going to be a very slow process, but I think one of the best places to start is with something I enjoy so much and takes up a huge portion of my energy.

Time to make something for me.

I have a couple of bits of game artwork outstanding, and one upcoming birthday gift I have in mind if not completely planned out yet – if you’re thinking words along the lines of “glutton” and “punishment” at this point that’s completely understandable – but I have some annual leave coming up and I’ve made the conscious decision that I’m going to make a start on said map. It will be a long time and many spoons in the making, but starting it will be half the battle. It’s a little bit of a psychological trick.

Half-finished pieces of art for me are like unfinished books: a somewhat unbearable elephant in the room and something in desperate need of completion and closure.

Except as I’ve already pointed out I’m very bad at finishing. This could be a very long project indeed.

"The Road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began….."

Wishing you all many spoons xxx


  1. You have a real talent and I for one will be very excited to see the map when it's in ANY stage on the way to finished.

    1. Thank you very much Leah! I shall keep you posted :) x