Being an Artist

I’m like few other people. I knew at age six that I had to write, but it wasn’t until much later than I understood that I was an artist. That meant that I had inborn sensitivity to beauty. It happened so often that I’d be awestruck by the beauty of a rainbow, a sunrise, a seascape which others seemed not to notice. The most common occurrence was my being taken by beautiful sounds like birds singing or the rolling of thunder. Even as a small child, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of music. I wore out my few 78 rpm records of the classics and taught myself to read music and play the piano at school since we were too poor to afford to buy a piano.

Despite my infatuation with music, I knew by age six that writing words was what I was destined to do. I read constantly and developed an appreciation for what worked when putting words together on paper. Moved by the beautiful writing of A. A. Milne whose Winnie the Pooh fascinated me, I learned that economy was a key ingredient to beautiful and effective prose. I went on to luxuriate in the work of Mark Twain. The King James Bible and Shakespeare required me to study the text to be able to understand it, but that inspired me anew.

I discovered poetry early on in nursery rhymes, but I was never as attracted to that art as I was to beautiful prose writing. The rhythm and rhyme struck me as tacky. It wasn’t until I approached adulthood that I discovered free verse poetry. I studied the tools of that art to adapt to my own prose writing. Meanwhile, I submerged myself in writers like Dickens and Milton to learn how to create beauty with words. These days, I am a fulltime writer who reads constantly to learn more about how to craft beauty with text.

I have long since become reconciled to perceiving beauty where others see nothing. That make me something of an oddball. But I gladly accept that fate as the price for a sensitivity that brings me great joy.

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