“Doubt sucks the soul dry, and creativity is a muscle.” That’s what Jay said when I asked him what he had learned this past year since he had last written to you all here.
We thought it might take a month or so to get resettled after our move west. That was a year ago. Sometimes we are a little overly optimistic.
A lot has changed in that year. We now live in Washington State, and Jay works for HP as a Interaction Experience Designer. He never stopped creating but taking the time to write about it has been a different story. So, I’ve decided to help — because I think he is really good at it.
After he told me that doubt sucks the soul dry, I asked him to tell me more. Wanna listen in? Here’s my notes from our conversation:
This is really an issue of humility verses self-doubt. Doubt makes everything tedious. You lose love and want-to. Whereas, true humility develops perseverance and overcomes the doubts.
Two pitfalls, that at first appear opposite, are actually entirely similar:
- The problem of doubting ourselves to the point of paralyzing inaction.
- The problem of our identity being wrapped up in being an artist, illustrator, or anything else we do.
Both feed off each other because neither are humble, and both will suck you dry. Your greatest, most satisfying, and fullest potential as a creative soul waits outside the gates of this self-imposed prison — called, “pride”.
We have been reading through The Chronicles of Narnia out-loud as a family this year. Before you get a cozy picture of all of us sitting peacefully around the fire, we’ll be the first to remind you that life is real at our house too.
Sometimes before we begin reading or midway through there are squabbles and tensions that need to be worked out, etc. But, that’s part of why we pick the books we do, the ones that broaden all of our imaginations, beyond ourselves.
As we talked on about these hard-fought-for lessons concerning self-doubt, we remembered Bree from The Horse and His Boy. Bree had encountered fear and failed in the face of it. Afterward, he felt fit for nothing better than slavery, unworthy of the company of the free horses of Narnia. (Pride in the wrong form kills delight and steals joy.)
Though he had traveled far already, to get to Narnia, he told his companions it was only right for him to turn back, when the Hermit of the Southern March, “…had approached them unnoticed because his bare feet made so little noise on that sweet, dewy grass.”
“My good Horse, you’ve lost nothing but your self-conceit. No, no, cousin. Don’t put back your ears and shake your mane at me. If you are really so humbled as you sounded a minute ago, you must learn to listen to sense. You’re not quite the great Horse you had come to think, from living among poor dumb horses. Of course you were braver and cleverer than them. You could hardly help being that. It doesn’t follow that you’ll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know you’re nobody special, you’ll be a very decent sort of Horse, on the whole.”
-The Hermit’s words to Bree in chapter ten of The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
Have you noticed the way self-doubt and warped identity issues come from the same root (being strangled by the work we do, rather than nourished)? We’ve all spent time here, the important thing is to pull up doubt and pride by their roots and in true humility persevere.
What is true humility? It is the heart of a student: a willingness to learn from anyone, anywhere, without thinking everyone is better than you. Remember, creativity is a muscle, exercise it. Don’t give up.
Here’s an excerpt from a long-term writing project of Jay’s, a compilation of stories called,
Consider the Ravens :
Breath of Wind
When my eyes cracked opened
And I saw all worlds become one
I hid my spirit and hid my soul
And hid my form.
It was in this infinite infancy
In this monumental moment
In this tangling of time and space
That I heard the wind
As it breathed out my name.
It flowed down through the valleys
It floated upon the streams
Weaved through the meadows
And danced upon the leaves
My ears caught its words
But my eyes couldn’t see it
For now the wind was hidden.
As it came to dance with me.
The perilous morsel
Was pleasant and true
Though my soul became aghast
And my mind became aflame
And my vision became blurry
As the wind called my name.
Because we know everyone needs a Back-to-School Bigfoot Tee-shirt (parent’s included):
When you click the link above.
- Choose design you’d like on your tee. Here’s some examples: one, two, or three below.
- Choose department: men’s, women’s, children’s, accessories (you can even get a beach towel?!)
- Choose the style of shirt you want, t-shirt, tank, long-sleeve, tri-blend, scoop neck etc.
- Choose size
Here’s what is possible:
An 8×10 watercolor or inked illustration of a favorite scene or (all-age) character. Think storybook or film character.
It will be signed, protected, and shipped as soon as it’s complete. And when you follow any of Jay’s social networks, (MrJayMyers: Twitter , FaceBook , Instagram) you will see process shots of the project.
Costs: Watercolor: $100 or Ink: $35 See more info here.
One of the fun ways Jay has kept himself creating within the constraints of full-time work and full-time family life has been to take on or even give himself challenges. One of those fun challenges every year is Inktober. In 2017 Jay and good friend and fellow artist, Therst, persevered through the entire month by focusing on one theme: Bigfoot!
If you’d like to enter for a give-away of some of Jay’s Big Foot Illustrations, we’ve got TWO going right now until Sunday at noon Pacific Time. Don’t miss out, the odds are in your favor. Here are the links for both: Give-Away One & Give-Away Two
Thank you everyone for your support! From being a part of our community, to sharing these posts, we appreciate you!
Have a great week everyone. Create, be happy, create more,
Jay & Raynna
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The Full Color Collector’s Edition of The Chronicles of Narnia is currently deeply discounted at 58% off!