What do poison ivy, the Edsel, and my first novel have in common?


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“God is really only another artist.  He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat.  He has no real style.  He just goes on trying other things.”  ~Pablo Picasso

A work horse of the art world, Pablo Ruiz Picasso did not allow himself to be cornered into one way of thinking, or one style of expressing himself. He tried sculpture, painting, sketching, and different styles within those disciplines which allowed him to stretch, to wrap his mind around new ideas.

When Joni Mitchell sarcastically says on her Miles of Aisles album, “Paint a Starry Night again, man,” I get it. She is comparing visual and performance artists. Visual artists and writers create something. It is done. Move on. Try something new.

Performance artists, on the other hand, are asked to go back and repeat, revisit their work, over and over. Imagine, when you are 50, and someone in your audience asks you to sing something you wrote when you were 20. Your internal dialogue goes something like this: “Jeezum, I was an idiot when I wrote that. Do I have to?” But you put on your most charming performance-artist smile and say, “Sure, thanks so much for asking for that.”

I wonder what God thinks when she looks back on her earliest creations. Like Ford and his Edsel, God must have one or two misgivings. The termite perhaps? Or maybe poison ivy?

I feel the same with my writing. When it comes to my novels, so far, I have attempted coming-of-age, literary fiction, and humor. Soon, I hope to tackle screen and playwriting. But, when I go back and look at my early work, I cringe. My editor tells me that’s because I have grown as a writer. But I just see frightful work, and I hope no one asks me to read aloud from any of my early stuff. If they do however, I will take a cue from my performing-artist friends and smile…

What makes you cringe? And, what new thing are you going to try this week/month/year?



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One Response to What do poison ivy, the Edsel, and my first novel have in common?

  1. Linda says:

    LOVE this one Sally! sooooooo true, sooooo spot on. I love your writing – it resonates, and it makes me want to let out my inner writer . . . so this week/month/year i am going to write more! love you/miss you!!! praying for a buyer!!! (-:

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