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Sunday, 2 October 2011

Meant To Be

I just have a little something to say about the idea of something being pre-destined, you know, meant to be. Let me give you an example:

Peter Jackson. He makes films, right? And he's been doing so ever since childhood. He used to watch films all the time and ran around with a Super 8 with his friends. And since he's still doing that, it's pretty obvious that it's a sign of genious and perseverence, but also that he loves doing it. Right? So he's doing what he is meant to do.

Picture from here

Flash forward to 1983. I am one year old, and my mother suddenly becomes suspicious. It's awfully quiet in the house. She hurries upstairs to my room, where she finds me, pencil in hand, having covered an entire wall in tiny little circles, as high up as I could reach.

From that point on, it pretty much only got worse. I drew on anything, with anything. My parents bought me one of those large rolls of drawing paper from IKEA, and I had a field day. Many field days, in fact, but I was unstoppable, and I filled the roll far quicker than they'd counted on. I copied pictures of Donald Duck, I made up little worlds in which aliens dwelled, I invented their gear and clothing and flying saucers. I had what seemed to be the collective imagination of a medium-sized kindergarten. I don't know how many of those rolls I filled, since none are left for posterity. Shame, really.

I kept at it. In school, when we had tests, I sometimes finished them quicker than all the others (yeah, I suppose I was kind of a geek ohwaitIstillam), so I used the extra time to make funny little drawings on the back of them for my teacher. So it surprised no-one when I decided to go to art school for my high school years. I met people who got me into comics, I read Elfquest till my eyes were sore, and made my own comics which I even entered into contests. People said I would become an artist one day, as I was so talented at drawing. An artist? I guess they didn't really pay attention to what I was drawing. But then, neither did I.

You see, even though I more often than not ended up drawing funny stuff,  I could also, when I took the time, draw and paint wonderful things. Portraits and landscapes and still life and watercolours. So I went on to university, doing a bachelor degree in Fine Art. I admit I did rather well. Rather well indeed. But when I had finished and went back to Norway, I had a nagging feeling that I wasn't supposed to do that all day for the rest of my life. So I entered a flower-arranging course.

Wait, what?  

Flower arranging, you say? WTF?! Where did that come from? I can only say that at the time, it made sense. If I was going to try to make it in the art world, I had to have something to fall back on. Especially on the Norwegian art scene, where you really have to have done your degree in Norway to get a foot in anywhere. However, by the time my year of arranging flowers was over and I was meant to take up an apprenticeship, I'd met my chiropractor, you know, the one who wants everyone to follow their dreams, and so I decided to hop off the exhilerating train (not) that is flower arranging, and take a job in a toy store.

 Flower arranging: totally blows your mind
The Flower Arrangement, painting by Otto Scholder, 19th century

Wait, what?

Yeah, yeah, I know, but that also made sense at the time. I had to sit down and think of what I wanted to do, and I needed money while doing so, and it was only for a year anyway. I continued to see my chiropractor, seeing as flower arranging had wrecked havoc of my shoulder, and little by little he got me on the right train of thought (and my shoulder back to normal), and even bought one of my paintings. And he hinted that maybe comics were my thing. I guess I have a lot to thank him for.

So I moved to Bergen to study art history. Yeah, yeah, yeeaahh ... I suppose, in hindsight, it seems like I was fighting my destiny kicking and screaming, but at the time ... it was a wonderful, interesting year in which I learned so much. And to be honest, you have to have a little life experience when making comics, because if not, what will you make your comics about?

I suppose, also, that this blog post makes it sound as though I'm this driven genious within comics who spills over with ideas and draws perfectly without effort. Not true. I encounter writer's block on a daily basis. I struggle with anatomy (because I have to draw fast, you know? Won't make any money if I spend a week on each comic strip), I have to be good at grammar, at colouring, at perspective, and because I don't have an agent, I also have to be good at all the boring office stuff as well, like taxes and accounting and billing (okay, that last one can be fun I guess).

 Picture from here

So I'm pretty sure I'm finally doing what I'm supposed to do. Doesn't mean I won't do a whole lot of other things as well, though. Like writing a blog in English. Or decorating a kick-ass cake. Or play my guitar and reminisce about my band days. Or pull out some fabric and a pattern and sew a dress or whatever. And I still pretend to be an artist every now and then, enter group exhibitions, even sell stuff for quite a lot of money. But it's not what I want to spend every day doing. Except the making money bit. I could do that ALL DAY LONG.

Thank you for you attention. Now carry on with what you were doing. And think about whether it's what you're meant to do.

Oh - and I found this picture while searching for that poster of Lord of the Rings up there. It's hilarious. If you don't get it, I suggest you go here. And also here, here and here. That's today's recommendation right there.

Photo from here

Oh. And I changed the name of my blog. It's called Written by Jorunn now. I thought about "Jorunn Writes", but then it sounded as if Writes was my last name. I'll stick with Written by Jorunn for a while.