Time is a strange journey. Look fair away, it’s done a loop, the stars have spun upon their teetotum sky, washed away in sun’s arising, sandcastles in the sky. Look hard close, it grinds still, ossifies to bone, petrifies to stone.
Sunday morning is the morning for the making of pancakes in our household, our boat tossed on time’s rivers. Saturday morning, an exception. I was making pancakes. Matt, my business partner called. News.
Very excited, he tells me the Ultraviolet Grasslands, our rpg book, won the golden ennie award for best interior art and the silver ennie award for second best cover art. Lucky I’d pre-recorded the acceptance speech, as I was too flummoxed to say anything coherent. Apart from wishing Matt’s wife a happy birthday, since that is what they were celebrating at their end.
Time, marking time.
We mark time with actions. Events. Rituals. The morning coffee. A new day begun. The Sunday pancake. Another week accomplished. The birthday party. Another voyage around the sun. The wedding. A new family founded. The funeral. One journey ended, a different begun.
I have been drawing. Making art. For as long as I recall. Early side-on trucks drawn with mother’s help. Snoopy knock-offs in a childish hand.
It must have been high school when I became aware that there was a professional group that made art: the artists. And then there were the others: non-artists. I attended a regular high school. Artists-to-be attended visual arts high schools. Or design high schools. Therefore, I realized, I was not an artist-to-be. My conviction that there are artists and non-artists hardened in university, where I studied political sciences. Artists-to-be studied art, I … did not.
Accepting that I have permission to make art, that every human has permission to make art, that there is no dividing line between the artist and the non-artist, was a lesson I learned slowly. I slowly began to draw again.
Three-and-a-half years ago I confessed to my wife that I wanted to do something with art, and she encouraged me. Around that time the first illustrations that were to make their way into the Ultraviolet Grasslands bled from my pen.
A year ago and a day, the UVG kickstarter was funded. The free introduction to the UVG won the silver ennie for best free product. I felt I was finally on my way. A few hours later my father passed away. Flights. The turning of the world. Funeral. Inheritance. Litigation.
Two years seemed to pass between last August and this January. Days and weeks passed to bursting with change.
Then the covid-19 pandemic erupted, and I watched horrorstruck as government after government failed in its fundamental duty to protect its citizens. Lockdown stretched and loomed in Slovenia, a strange no-time.
Sunrise, sunset, no rituals to mark the coming of Spring or its passing. No birthdays celebrated. No festivals visited with friends.
Return to Korea and quarantine, another strange no-time. Then moving house, another strange no-time. Life in boxes, packed, stored, sifted, sorted, opened, thrown away, replaced.
A couple of days ago I talked with a friend.
“It feels like it should be April.”
“Where did the year go?”
A couple of days ago. Ennies. Award. Too flummoxed to feel anything coherent.
“You must be so happy.”
“Yes, I suppose so …”
“… but mostly, relieved.”
“Not that I was expecting the award, or anything, but the recognition feels like confirmation that I didn’t screw up.”
After nearly a decade of discrete rebellion against the idea that there is a professional gulf between artist and non-artist. After a year and more of strange kickstarter time. After a year of death’s aftermath. After a half year of corona time.
Didn’t screw up too much. That’s a relief.
Maybe it works the other way round, too.