A New Direction

Time flows forward only, and stops for no man. However, at any point along the way, we can draw a line in the sand and call it a starting point. Too many times, we go along in our little life, head down and focused purely on putting one foot in front of the other. In so doing, we may very well miss an opportunity as we pass it by.

Computer games ate my leisure time. I needed something to rest my mind with, as well as this wreck of a body. With the one game that captured my imagination going free to play, and thus opening the floodgates to the ganking, griefing masses, I logged off for the last time. I know me, there will be no return to that life. I don’t want to read about it, I don’t want to write about it, and I don’t want to hear about it; it’s gone.

I am grateful for the people I met, though. With everything going on at the moment, I will be a stranger for a while, I’m on a deadline, work wise. I’ll catch up with the gang when I can, though, although many are going their separate ways, now. One thing’s for sure, I’m done with games.

Having turned my back on that particular avenue of entertainment, I find myself with no actual recreational activity. I don’t watch the depressing horror show that is TV and I don’t consider social media entertainment. Honestly, I don’t want a Russian bride, I already know Donald Trump says stupid things, and I don’t care which party you vote for or which God you either hate or worship. It’s a sad place now, and that’s no fun.

Now, some might argue that music is a pastime, but that isn’t true for me. Physically unable to gig, music for me is now a workout that keeps me fit (although it hurts like hell), and a technical challenge that can never be completed. I’m out in the shed most afternoons, and I love it nonetheless. It’s the evenings, though, that see me twiddling the thumbs.

Nearly thirty years ago, I put down a paintbrush for the last time. I loved painting landscapes in oils. I attended art college when I left school – it’s sort of the same as unemployment, but with classes. People said I had talent, and just needed to focus more. What many did not know was that I only painted while heavily under the influence of what today is amusingly called “Recreational” drugs.

That delusional term should be removed from the English language, in my humble opinion. There is nothing recreational about a substance that can rob a person of the will to live. I was fortunate enough to have one true friend, whom I’ve known since early childhood, and he got me out of that situation with all the subtlety of a brick through a window. What can I say? He’s an Aussie, and I’m his mate. However it was done, I owe that friend my life, and the fact that I was able to reciprocate at a later date has cemented that bond forever.

I have subconsciously suppressed the desire to paint ever since; a fact I only realized recently. It first surfaced when my initial novel, The Road Out, required a cover. After the purchase of Corel Painter and a Wacom tablet, a cover was produced. The two science fiction novels that followed got a cover each, as well. Straight away, though, I put the artist back in the tin. I enjoyed it, so there was no reason to stop. However, I did, and without hesitation.

My two daughters soon realized their good fortune and purloined said tablet and stylus, and, along with the purchase of an anime art program, put it to good use. I watched with envious eyes as their skills grew, and their work improved. My youngest is a natural. Her work is now, from my viewpoint, indistinguishable from that of an adult, as evidenced by the sample (totally original with no reference material whatsoever) below:

hiromi

Watching all this develop drove me to reflect; was 28 years long enough to remove the mental stigma? I decided to have a look on YouTube, as my daughters both assured me there are plenty of artists out there who film themselves working. It took some searching to find someone of a like mind; plenty of people talking the talk, but few who walk the walk. I am not someone who wishes to view the inside of a turgid mind as it is thrown onto a canvas. I’ve had my years of that lifestyle, thanks all the same. I prefer someone who paints what he sees in a way that conveys due reverence for the work of art that is our planet.

And I found someone. Not only a fine artist, but a man who has a knack for entertaining in a relaxed fashion, while imparting priceless instruction. His taste in music is none too shabby, either. It was all the impetus I needed.

Now, I already sense several who know me rolling their eyes. But no, I am not changing direction yet again, not really. Painting will be my hobby; a way to relax and possibly put a little gift into the hands of the so many to whom I owe so much. Unless the results would prove to be an insult, that is. Only time will tell on that one. However, many were happy to accept the products of my drug soaked youth, so I can hardly do worse now I’m 28 years straight, can I?

Writing continues to be my work, although the addition of narration to my growing list of endeavors has taken a fearsome toll on my time for writing, to be honest. I have been designing and building a vocal booth to both turn my eBooks into audio books, and possibly get some work doing the same for others. A post with photos will come as soon as the wretched thing is finished. If anyone ever tells you building a vocal booth is cheap and easy, kick them – hard.

Yes, 28 years is time enough with my eyes on my feet. Music kept my ears busy, writing kept my mind busy (as has this accursed booth), and narration will occupy my voice, no doubt. But, I feel it’s time to lift my head and use my eyes again. Here on the Sunshine Coast, I am surrounded by natural beauty, and I long to capture some.

I will wrest the tablet and stylus away from my girls every now and then (it is mine, after all. Besides, I say when it’s bedtime), and punch out half a dozen or so to get my hand back in, as best as can be done digitally, at least.

But I can already feel the bend of the bristle, already smell the linseed oil, already see the wet paint glisten. It’s been too long.

 

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