My first display- part 1

Avoiding pigeon-holes

Back in November of last year I was walking through our local library. I noticed original art of a surprisingly ethnic type, on display. There were some rappers, a black Jesus and other pieces. They were well done, just seemingly out-of-place. But it hit me, why shouldn’t my art be in a display case too?

I went to the information desk to find out who was in charge of the showcases. I was directed upstairs to a large office with lots of…books…everywhere. As I waited for the nimble office dweller, I thought about my art. Sometimes it feels as if African-American artists are required to do “ethnic art.” As I look online and in galleries for black artists, I see tribal influenced works, urban scenes, musical and erotic pieces. They are often bold, exaggerated or colorful.

I’m not sure my stuff really fits into any of those categories. Actually, if you didn’t know I was African-American, would my art tell you? Should it? Well, I’ve always seen my race and culture as just two of the factors that define me, not even the most important. Really the strongest visual theme in my art seems to be my identity as a women, and my concern for other women.

Display at Lewisville Public LibraryMarch 2013

Display at Lewisville Public Library
March 2013

Hey, perhaps there are lots of artists of color that I haven’t discovered, simply because their work is not ethnic in a traditional sense. Well, not liking to be pigeon-holed myself, I’ll try not to have preconceived expectations for artists of color. Instead,

I can simply enjoy the diversity their experiences bring to the canvas or potter’s wheel.

I didn’t win…but maybe I did

Readers, good news- I submitted an excerpt of the book to a Christian writing contest and I didn’t win. “What?”, you say? “You didn’t win? How could that be?”

“I know right!” I was absolutely shocked. And I learned a lot.

When I was deciding to enter, I had to consider the entry fee.  I’m watching my shekels, so every expense requires the “is-this-really-necessary” test.    I asked my husband, “If I pay this fee and don’t win, will I feel badly? Will I feel like I wasted my money?” He said I shouldn’t. “Hmm, no, I don’t think I will. I’m going for it!”

The contest was for a 750 word piece. It required a quick submission and the three winners would be announced quickly. (Ahhh, I’m healing, maturing, but I still hate waiting.) I used a piece from my still un-titled book. Since the entry needed a beginning, middle and end, I had to tweak it some. I did and felt really, really good about it.

And when I received the email with the winners, I had to read it twice. My brow, furrowed. “What? Where’s my name?”

When I told my husband later that evening, I realized a couple of things. First, I didn’t feel like I wasted my precious pennies. It was worth the risk.  Second, I really thought I was gonna win. Was that crazy or arrogant? No, it was confidence! Wow, me?  How about that? Third, I proved to myself I can handle rejection of my writing. (Yes, I know rejection can get quite a bit harsher than this.)

My husband said he was proud of me for being brave enough to submit “my baby” for judgment. I am too. And I’ll do it again.

Wanna read my submission? Head over to my site: http://www.myblueisblue.com/book-excerpt/

Tell me what you think of it.