Corona ambition

July 10, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

A person of my acquaintance works for a self-publishing company out in B.C. His name is Frank. He was telling me how his company is overwhelmed with people wanting the books they have finished to be published,

“They have taken advantage of this down time with Corona to write their memoirs,” he told me. 

There are plenty of online writing courses for ambitious souls to create a first draft of that first novel in “ninety days.” Frank explained that there are several months of hard work to follow the 90-day first draft and plenty of money to spend.

It is a fine ambition; all creative effort should be applauded and nowadays, self-publishing might not necessarily result in printing, as such: ebooks are convenient and involved much less cost than print.

A book store in Orangeville, displays self-published books in a single place amongst the shelves. They are not distributed according to category throughout the whole store, along with books issued by traditional publishers. 

Yet, as Frank was adamant, publishing companies expect authors to work hard to promote their works. Many are the wonderful evenings and afternoons of well-known authors coming here to read from their new works and talk to audiences, later to meet and greet them, eagerly purchasing books, to say hello and get their signatures on the front pieces. 

Authors travel back and forth across the country to attend book-signing sessions. Some are presented on a stage, with a wine and cheese reception for signing later; some simply sit in a book store with perhaps a chance for conversation. However it happens, authors write and it is never just like that: “all art is work,” as any artist will tell you, whether it is a passion or not, and the dedication they give to the promotion of their efforts looks as though it takes as big a toll as the writing did.

There are, likewise, plenty of courses online for every kind of artistic endeavour and it is great to think that this enforced “house arrest,” so it has sometimes felt, has led lots of people to unleashed their creativity. Here’s to the recognition of the artist within. We have been patient and polite about our confinement and the results of that patience are declining numbers of infected people. 

To dodge the media pounding on the subject of this pandemic, as though there was nothing else in the news of interest or concern, I sincerely hope that people did turn off their televisions and radios to engage themselves in flights of fantasy, words on the blank pages framed by their computer screens; a new love of reflecting their lives with colour on canvas; chisel on stone, admitting that knitting “is cool,” working with wood, Fimo modelling, anything, everything. Baking bread. Gardening.

Maybe, all art is like writing a memoire. Anything created reflects who we are at a certain time and place; who we are at any time, digging back to our earliest time in life, creating in a way our childhood yearned for or a surprise inclination that was never in our thoughts before.

Once again, art matters. 

Now it might not be the most important thing whether Frank publishes your work or not; whether you invest money the way you invested time; it might not matter whether those paintings will ever hang on a gallery wall along with the works of other painters who have been doing it for years; sculptures standing amongst the marbles; wooden carvings in the park.

For the moment, what matters is the effort and outlet. What counts is the fact that art has become better understood and used as a solace to pain and, perhaps even loneliness. The need to share the work is important and it could be a mere matter of photocopying or display in a room somewhat re-arranged. 

Bit by bit, but cautious with the example quite close to us of what can happen when we are in too much of a hurry to “open up,” galleries and book stores are opening. Our Corona ambition to make our own art may well lead us to places of art where there was less interest in the past. 

I think we hope these long months of abstinence has changed how the world is run, that somehow, lessons have been learned and we will return to make a greener, kinder world. 

Well, I wish. 

Yet, we are still building pipelines and Alberta is talking about going back to coal. So much of what hurt us is back in business without a hint of change. What about us as people, though, will our Corona ambitions have left their marks?

Have we become inventive in different ways that will be of benefit to us, to others, to our planet and our children’s future from now on, I wonder.

Meanwhile, many of this year’s Christmas gifts may already be tucked into drawers and closets, waiting to be wrapped. Presents that were created by the hands of love during a difficult time.

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