Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What Neil Gaiman, Studying for Finals, Art, and the New Year have in Common

Have you started looking forward to 2015 yet? 

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My Facebook feed is filled with so many wonderful and varied artists and I've noticed some of them making statements about things they will do in the new year. 

After all, 2015 is only a little over 3 weeks away....

Personally, I'm having a bit of a self-induced crisis. 

Because I decided to go back to school this fall and finally complete a Bachelors degree. I mean, I have enough credits to be considered a senior with all the starts and stops and transfers and changes over the years. 

What to study? I chose what made the most logical sense.

I freaking hate it. 

So today, as I'm studying for finals in classes I'm getting nearly perfect scores, but are crushing my soul (sorry for the dramatic flair...), 

I thought about Neil Gaiman. 

Weird, right? 

He did a speech a couple years ago that I refer to when I'm feeling lost or confused or like I'm trying to make things more difficult than they need to be. And I thought I would share it will all of you. I own the speech in a little book. But you can watch it below. 

"Life is sometimes hard. 
Things go wrong, in life and in love 
and business and in friendship
and in health and in all the other ways
that life can go wrong.
And when things get tough,
this is what you should do. 
Make Good Art.

Husband runs off with a politician?
Make Good Art
Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor?
Make Good Art
IRS on your trail?
Make Good Art
Cat exploded?
Make Good Art
Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before?
Make Good Art..."
                -Neil Gaiman

Mr. Gaiman is full of words of wisdom. He tells the audience to make mistakes. To write and draw and dance and live and play as only you can. 

But the thing that stands out for me, on this particular day, is this: 

"Something that worked for me 
was imagining where I wanted to be-
(an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, 
making good comics, and supporting myself though  my words)

-was a mountain
A distant mountain.
My goal. 
And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain, I would be alright. 
And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain...."
    -Neil Gaiman

I think I have strayed far from my mountain in the last several months and it's time to get turned back in the correct direction. 

What, if anything, are you planning for 2015? What kinds of goals and dreams have you come up with? How will you stay on track? Please share in the comments below!


  1. Interesting post - I've really not thought too far ahead yet...this year had some high points like meeting my AJE buddies so I have to find a way to top that. Otherwise I'd just like to get to this time next year and have plenty to look back on while I wonder where the time went!

  2. I enjoyed your post and the video of Neil Gaiman's presentation -- so much so that I posted links on FB and Pinterest. Thank you so much!

  3. Utterly splendid! Let your "good art" be your Beads of Courage for yourself. Document your courageous journey toward a BS. Ignore the "b.s." you encounter on that journey. Know you are a champion. Know you are a hero. Know you are a saint, as those of us who make art charms for your Beads of Courage auction already know. The "b.s." is time limited. Your courage is eternal. Rock on!

  4. I hadn't thought about 2015 AT ALL, Jen. Until you mentioned the Art Charm theme. That is the only thing I have planned for the New Year LOL.

  5. This was an inspiring post for me. Thanx Jen.

  6. It hadn't really occurred to me until I read your post that 2015 is so close. Yeah silly me. I haven't even reflected on what my word for next year will be.


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