At Blurb.com you can use InDesign to upload pdf files and publish your books. There's a book I share with my students. It's not a cheesy romance, it's not unrequited love, it's about friendship, and two friend's love for the same thing. Both of them love the world, both of them love to travel and go to see new places. Both of them dream. Both of them are like the Vikings of old who left Europe for new life. Both of them are like all of us.
The reason I like children's books so much is because they force me to simplify. You see, it's true what they say about kids seeing the world new, without filters and all the things that get in the way of the truth. Kids don't care about the details, they just care about smiling. Ya, if you're a psychologist you might call it narcissism, an undeveloped ego, but that's not what I'm trying to get at it. Children's books are a great venue for artists to say what it is they are trying to say without all of the confusion they go through in trying to speak to adults.
Children's books force the writer and the artist to get back at the truth, to speak to the little innocent monster in us all without the convoluted filters we hold over things to capture attention. And don't think its easy making things simple, you have to really examine yourself and cut out all of the things that are there just to appeal to that sophisticated adult sense. You must think universally, and in thinking universally realize who and what you really are that is different from everyone else. You have to choose not to betray yourself, but also speak to a whole audience.
That's why I like children's books, they don't confuse what you're trying to say with something else. All they know is what they know, they don't care what anybody else knows. They're going to take away whatever it is they're going to get from the art. I wish more adults realized that, that art is less about the result, but more about what the artist went through during the process. Your art could be completely misunderstood by everyone all around you all of your life, and you would still get something from making things.
I don't think art needs to be understood, I think it just needs to be made. It's great when we can come together on things, to support our communities, and all those good things. There will always be an artist somewhere though who is trying to get at the gold, the real meaning behind what he is saying. It's true art exists within the context of a society, but a society can never know all that the artist goes through. No one can be completely understood. It's fun to laugh inside at all the people who think they understand what the artist was trying to say, but that the artist didn't really care what he was trying to say, he just wanted to "say". He doesn't know or care about all that seriousness. I can't be the only one who finds that humorous.
His art is playful; a way to preserve himself. A way to mock the things which believe they have power over him. In art he is free. In art he finds the truth; the truth that tomorrow his art will mean something else. The truth that his art will mean something else in the eyes of someone else, on a rainy day, on a sunny day, and he'll always remember the way he felt when he created it. It can never be unmade, even when it turns into ashes. In art he discovers timelessness. He knows that his art, like all things can never die, and the bird that is caged today will one day be free again. True, that bird might die in a cage, but the bird's spirit will never die. All that the bird could have been still lives on in all birds; in the eyes of anyone whoever wanted to fly.
The bird becomes a man, the bird becomes a caterpillar who is too late in the season and never becomes a butterfly, the bird becomes a caterpillar who builds a cocoon, the bird becomes a caterpillar who goes into the sky a butterfly. The bird too becomes a skeleton and worms, and a bird also becomes the worms he eats to build his wings.
THOUGHTS ON CAGES and BIRDS
When a bird grows up in a cage, all it knows is the cage. To a caged bird, he is free. To a bird whose never swam like a fish he is free, to a fish whose never flown, he is free, to a cloud whose never left a valley, he is free. To the bird who has left his cage, he looks forward to the day he is free again. To a bird who has never left his cage, he knows not what freedom is aside from his cage. To him the pebbles at the bottom of the cage are the same as a thousand mountains and beach shores. To him, ten feet are like a thousand miles. No one is caged who has ever stretched his wings, even in their own imagination. He flies in his imagination, so the day the cage opens he can soar like he always has. The only cage we have is ourselves. The only cage is the people whose criticism we believe matters. We choose every aspect of our own life, even the suffering with which we choose to accept.
The more you want out of the cage, the more unbearable waiting for the door to open will be. You will be so distracted by your suffering, when the cage door opens you will not move to leave. Instead, live free now, inside your confines. The bird who yelps to leave, only catches the attention of his captors. Play dead if you must, and then when he comes to check on your body lying unappreciated, leave and enjoy what is left of your life. You may want to come back home, your captor might be different. You may die in your freedom because you never learned to catch your own food. We all have our cages, we all have our freedoms.
What is your freedom? Where is your cage? Did freedom ever exist without a cage? Have cages every existed without freedom? I ask myself this question, so I might better understand why either exist. What would it be like to get lost in freedom, might I find myself inside a cage? What might it be like to get lost in a cage, might I discover my own freedom? I guess when you stop asking the questions it doesn't matter OR does it matter most?