Art Harder*

* The title for this post comes from something Chuck Wendig says sometimes. His version is NSFW.

I have no training in making cakes, in decorating cakes, or in drawing, as this birthday cake I made for Tiny Beowulf's 4th birthday should indicate.
I have no training in baking, in decorating cakes, or in drawing, as this cake I made for Tiny Beowulf’s 4th birthday will indicate.


I have been desperately trying to make art my whole life.

When I was a kid, I drew all over the place, including the walls. I wrote on furniture. I filled books — some of them journals — with my scribbles and illustrations. I doodled the hell out of things. And it was never really idle, but always an attempt to make something creative where there had been nothing creative before.

I had my last Art class in fifth grade. When I started sixth grade, at my school, I had to choose one elective. I could take Art, Spanish, Speech, or Creative Writing. I wasn’t interested in Speech (yet) and had zero talent for Spanish. I’d looked forward to my Art class that I’d had once a week since first grade, but I knew I wasn’t very good at it, so I made that my second choice and put Creative Writing as my first, because I genuinely enjoyed writing and thought I probably was pretty good at that. In my free time, I drew pictures and I wrote stories. I had yet to make a recognizable face with my pencil, but boy howdy, I could tear the place up with words.

So in sixth grade, I began taking Creative Writing every day as a regular class. I liked it so well and enjoyed my classmates so much, that when the time came to choose my elective for 7th and 8th grade (yes, they made us commit for two years), I picked it again.

Writing is what I do. But I’ve dabbled in many other art forms over the course of my life: playing the piano, singing, dancing, costuming, jewelry making, painting, even crafting.

colored pencil
I'm half-Arab, so this is the dance form I've been around most of my life and which I enjoy the best.
I’m half-Arab, so please, no accusations of cultural appropriation.









photo by Lauren Volness
photos by Lauren Volness
photo by Lauren Volness
photo by Lauren Volness
photo by Lauren Volness






I’ve really liked all of them, but I’m also at a point in my life where hobbies are

Pinot's Palette is THE BEST
Pinot’s Palette is THE BEST.

a luxury I don’t really have much time for. The one I tend to indulge in most often (i.e. two or three times a year) is painting. It has occurred to me that had I chosen Art instead of Creative Writing in sixth grade, my life might have been extremely different. I might be a painter now who scribbled amateurish poetry in journals now and then on the side, rather than a writer who occasionally paints something my generous family is gracious enough to allow me to stick up on the wall.


If there’s one thing I’ve come to realize the last few months — and believe me, there have been many little epiphanies lately — it’s that we need more art in the world. And I personally need to make more art, in order to cope with that which is not art. I first discovered the intimacy of that concept back in April, when I happened to receive some particularly troubling personal news and could assuage my turmoil only by sitting down and literally making art. That day I spent several hours creating my poetry art cards (which I’ve posted about here before). And I felt better. The cards were something I was truly proud of, not only because I just really felt good about them, but also because they earned the acclaim of others — something my drawings never did.

So at the encouragement of several people, I decided to make an Etsy shop and put them up there. That decision felt good, really exciting. I got all set to do it.

And then life happened, and everything sat there for seven months not being posted up on Etsy.

Well, no more. I don’t want my life to be about waiting. I finally got the shop set up; it’s called Arts Eclectica, and here’s the link. I hope you’ll check it out. There are cards for all different occasions and some which are just because. Thank you in advance.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a novel to finish editing.

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