|Fireflies by Rebecca J. Gomez|
What did you want to be when you grew up? Have you ever felt like you had to choose between two things that you loved?
For me, those two things have always been art and writing, especially poetry. Throughout my life, art and writing have competed for my attention and my time. As a high school student, art was my focus. Art was my future career! I had my poetry, but that was for me, mostly. It was like therapy for my emotional teenage self. Not much more.
But you know how plans go. Things changed. I pursued my art for a while, painting watercolors of flowers and doing commissioned portraits in pencil. I even made a little money. Emphasis on little. Then, my writing started to take hold again. I wasn't just writing emotional poems, but stories. And, to my surprise, I loved it. Gradually, writing became my focus and art became my hobby. My therapy.
Funny how those things go, isn't it?
As I had more and more success in my writing career, I would sometimes make timid attempts at making my art a part of it. But it was scary, and I didn't get much farther than a half-hearted attempt at illustrating one of my books and a few illustrations published in children's magazines. So my art stayed mostly in the background. Little more than a hobby.
Then, I got an idea for a book. A novel in verse told partly in doodles and art journal pages. Could I do it? Would it work? Maybe it could!
You know how ideas can be. Sometimes they take hold and won't let you go, no matter how timid you feel about pursuing them.
I wrote the book. I did the doodles. I created the art journal pages (some of them anyway).
To make a long, boring story slightly less long and boring, years passed. I parted ways with my agent. Then, over a year and a half of querying later, a new agent loved my verse novel enough to offer me representation!
Now that manuscript is out in the world. With my poetry. AND my art. This all feels entirely too real and scary.
But it also tells me that my art doesn't have to remain just a hobby. And I am excited about the possibilities.