A method of coping

A close-up of a page of text from Neil Gaiman's speech entitled "Make Good Art".

I fell out of the habit of taking part in the 52Frames photo challenge for a couple of weeks. It was a few things that caused this, really: a lack of inspiration, a lack of energy, a lack of time.

Last week, though, I was determined to get back on track. In part because this was a challenge I was determined to complete to the best of my ability, and partly because the theme for the week was Books. And how could I possibly pass that up?

After I decided I wanted to focus the image on a word or phrase from a book, it was just a matter of finding something. It took a bit of looking, but then I remembered Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” speech, in his The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (which I recommended back in December). And my search was finished.

“Make Good Art” is one of my favourite speeches, and it feels particularly timely right now. You can read it as a whole, or my favourite portion is available as a Zen Pencils illustration. The speech is advice for university graduates, and my favourite portion is about making art when life gets hard, to help you cope.

This photo turned out exactly as I hoped it would, with the focus on the most relevant words. True, my photo focuses on words that were printed in Gaiman’s 2004 Harvey Awards Speech, but they’re followed by the same advice as in the university graduate speech. I just chose to use these ones because of how they’re set apart and capitalized. They’re not presented quite that same way in the printed version of the Make Good Art speech.

I don’t know about you, but making art—whether it’s writing, photography, or some other form—has become one of my go-to coping methods. And one I’ll be relying on heavily over the next little while.

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