Left and right brains are frequently known as the visual and verbal hemispheres and for me, that split has always been a very literal one: I’ve never been able to make up my mind if I wanted to be a writer or an artist.
Hence the pendulum.
Sometimes, I would pursue writing and I have made money writing just about every way you can make money writing, from advertising copy to grantswriting for documentary films.
Other times, I pursued my visual muse and painted portraits. For a while, I produced limited edition porcelain dolls. I followed with inlaid wood pictures and a host of other art media.
And although either the writing or the artwork predominated, I usually did them both.
But if the balance between these passions is too lopsided for too long, I suffer in one form or another.
All of these words are to tell you that I’m sick of words. They are all looking a little shop-worn and weary to me of late.
I have used a lot of them in the more than six years that I have been a reporter in Plumas County. Some words I have used so often they are threadbare and stripped of impact.
And so, it’s time to change my focus and concentrate on finding markets for my crystal window hangings.
Making them kept me sane through torrents of verbiage, legal contracts, official resolutions and public studies on this or that; and now it appears that I have accumulated quite a lot of inventory.
I am also looking forward to more photography in my life, something I have always loved since I got my first Brownie in the fourth grade.
I will never stop writing, of course. I can’t. It’s fully half of me. I just need a sabbatical.
I’ve pendulum-swung too far in the other direction as well and become mute for weeks, even months at a time. It’s a very panicky feeling to look into your brain and not see a word in sight.
When that happens, I will know that it’s time to change focus again.
But, for the moment, I’m looking forward to a period of silence when communication comes in the form of shapes and colors.
I’m looking forward to being acronym-free and to meeting people without asking how to spell their names. I am looking forward to not being responsible for anyone’s understanding of anything.
Being a responsible reporter is always a difficult job and it didn’t become easier when the economy tanked.
It’s not easy to watch people lose their homes or to write about layoffs in this company or that. Public entities struggle with impossible budgets and the state continues to mandate the same planning studies as if the world hadn’t just turned upside down, in complete defiance of everyone’s current planning.
And almost everybody is mad about something.
That’s reality and as a reporter, that’s what I write about.
But at the same time, we live in beauty and are surrounded by grace. That’s reality too. That’s what visual art expresses.
So, I’m not going to say goodbye. I will still see all of you. Perhaps I will even write for you from time to time. But next time when I see you, I will ask you what’s happening. I don’t intend to know.
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