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  • keithman08

Art Outlet

Have you ever wondered why you were here? I don't mean why you are here reading my blog post. I mean why you are here on Earth. Every once in a while, all of us have had that moment when we feel less than fulfilled in our career, with our spouse, in our income bracket, or... whatever. Some have allowed these moments to lead them down darker roads, even to suicide.

I have had those moments before, too. After all, we live in a "not so perfect" world, and deep down inside we know there should be something... well, perfect. Inside all of us lies the echo of what things "should" be like, but they aren't. I am inclined to believe that is the result of a perfect creation that has become victim to the ravages of sin. Now, don't freak out. I am not about to launch into a theological or preaching platform. I am simply driving home the reality that we all know THIS isn't how it was supposed to be. Thus, we get frustrated, depressed, even angry, because our expectation (which is a legitimate one to have, by the way) continually goes unmet.

Let's take that thought a bit deeper. I am a good case study for this topic. You see, I was born with a lot of talent (not to brag, or sound prideful, but please hear me out). I can write, draw, paint, dance, sing, do voice impersonations, etc. I love having these gifts. Mostly because I enjoy sharing them with those around me. For example, I have a blast doing cartoon voices for my students in the classroom as a reward for their hard work during school. However, when I had tried to get a job as a voice-over artist, I hit a brick wall.

That in itself sounds rather pithy. Stick with me, though. It gets better. I am also a gifted cartoonist. In fact, my biggest lifelong dream was to become a nationally syndicated comic strip cartoonist like Charles M. Schulz. I even wrote to him in my junior high school years, sending him samples of my art. Do you know what? He wrote back! He wrote the most encouraging letter to me to never give up, and to keep drawing, because he saw some real talent in me. So, I did. I developed my own comic strip!

When I became a college student, one of my professors had me further develop my comic strip ideas, and then actually submit them to syndicates. It was all part of my education to actually go through the process it took to get syndicated. And once I did, I discovered something. Syndicates receive upwards of 400 submissions per WEEK, and only take on two or three strips per YEAR. You do the math. There are a LOT of terrible comic strips in the papers. I mean TERRIBLE artwork and just plane BAD humor. And yet, they somehow were elected over my work. Dreams are hard roads to follow. Not only did I receive enough rejection form letters to cover my bedroom wall, I never once received any form of support or constructive criticism to help me improve my chances. It was a real kick in the head. But I didn't give up. I still haven't. This would be my 35th year of trying to get my comic strip syndicated. Meanwhile, I thought perhaps there was another route I was supposed to take.

Enter the idea of writing and illustrating my own children's books. I saw a lot of bad children's book art in the stores, and was certain I could do better. Well, publishers (like syndicates) receive many submissions per week. However, the numbers are a bit higher; around 1,400 submissions per week, and only ONE published per year. The odds are not bending in my favor.

Through the course of my life, I have tried many different approaches to getting my artwork before the public eye. Every one met with failure. Every one a disappointment. Oh, I am not complaining, but here is my point. I was designed to create, to be creative, to do artistic things. Yet, I have not been so blessed to actually use my talents in a way that would mean I had achieved a lifelong vocation.

How about you? Maybe you don't have talent, but there is "something" you have always felt you were meant for. Yet, somehow that something never seems to work out. Maybe you are single, and feel you were meant to be married. Maybe you are on the low end economically, but you feel you could run a fortune five hundred business. Whatever your particular let down is, I want to encourage you. We live in the "already, but not yet." Yes, you were designed for something better, something grander, something extraordinary. But maybe, just maybe, the end is not the point. I just want to leave you with this thought. Maybe the JOURNEY is the point. Maybe all the experiences we encounter, all the obstacles we have faced, are there for the purpose of building our character. And, I believe, that character building is meant to make us ready to handle those future blessings, and better appreciate the process it takes.

Blog entry #2. Check. Shalome.

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