What I do when I’m not writing.

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

If you weren’t an author, what other art would you likely pursue?

My father was an accomplished watercolour artist, he was also a superb woodworker and spent the last years of his working life restoring antique furniture. I envied his skill and desperately wanted to do something artistic or craft-based. I used to help him with various jobs, which taught me enough of the basics to be confident enough to work on my own house. In the past, as well as making and putting up shelves, kitchen cupboards and hard garden landscaping, I’ve built window frames and quite a few other things.

Over the years, I’ve tried most craft-type activities and found myself unable to do just about any of them. Drawing and painting are beyond me, the only thing I can paint with any success are walls and furniture (on a good day). I tried painting by numbers but found it hard to stay inside the lines. I’m incredibly envious of people like Bob Ross, who make it seem so easy.  

I don’t just mean that I had a go and gave up, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to get past the start of the learning curve but never really progressed.

So, how about music? Well, I mastered the air guitar at an early age, and the steering wheel drumkit, I’ll even sing along if nobodies listening. But apart from a bit of Karaoke in Japan years ago (when I might have had a few glasses of Asahi), that’s about it.

We won’t mention the dancing, I’m a Dad, after all.

Which explains why I was pleased to find that I could paint a picture with words. As with a painting on canvas, I was amazed to find that different people saw it in different ways. And ascribed meanings to it that I had never even considered.

I’ve never tried knitting, but I can do a mean cross-stitch. Probably because all you have to do is be able to count. And I enjoy taking photographs of the food I cook and the nature I see on my walks and days out.

These are the things that I’m working on as an antidote to the stresses of life and where I turn when I need to switch off. And the art forms that I want to get better at.

Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.

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I’d love to get your comments, please leave them below. While you’re here, why not take a look around? There are some freebies and lots more content, about me, my writing and everything else that I do. You can join my newsletter for a free novella and more news by clicking this link.


6 Responses

    • Richard Dee

      Thanks, once you get into the rhythm, I find it very relaxing.

  1. P.J. MacLayne

    Those are great designs. It’s amazing how much detail you can get with only one stitch but a variety of colors of thread.

  2. Chris L Adams

    Great post, Richard. I guess I have too many creative outlets, only one of which is writing stories and poetry. I’ve always doodled and sketched, but only found myself doing oil paintings a few years ago after watching the Bob Ross you mentioned. (FYI I post my fantasy/scy-fy related ones at: https://www.chrisladamsbizarretales.com/fantasy-art). In about 10th grade I started drawing, inking, coloring and writing a comic book which was up to 70 some pages before our home burned and I lost it. I really do wish I had that, as it was quite neat to watch the art improve over that 2-3 year period.

    I’ve played guitar since I was in 9th grade and been in several bands over the years. They’re one and all just pursued interests, and when I focus on one the others sometimes wane a bit. I have an old Flying V body I’m going to restore this year which came to me stripped (even the string nut had been removed), and might pick up a new acoustic this year. I haven’t written any poetry for a while, but usually keep one on the homepage to my site for grins and giggles. The one there now is a grim, medieval thing that begins, “Spearhead force in dawn’s gray mists …banners wave aloft as knights join the lists…”

    That’s about it for me on the creative outlet side, except to say that I do have to do something, and writing and art and music are my favorites. Like you, I pursued home-worthy hobbies like woodworking, electrical, plumbing, etc. I do all of my own upgrades (replumbed the entire house couple of years ago) that I feel I can handle. I’d probably leave a kitchen remodeling project to the pros (setting cabinets, installing tile, countertop, etc) as sometimes, although it is something I could do (or could learn to do?) I just don’t want to devote that much time to it when there are stories to write and paintings to paint. Another thing I do is my own automotive work when possible, but the same goes with that as major home projects; if it is going to require me to spend several days on it . . . well, I may just hire it out and have done with it.

    I’ll leave you all with this Halloween piece I wrote a couple of years ago…

    Hellbroth Witch

    When I was young and dumb,
    I used to succumb –
    To the Devil’s Drink,
    in the bars where I’d run

    Full of creeps young and old,
    Some nice, but many cold-
    I met Hellbroth Witch,
    Hot, wild and uncontrolled

    They had a panty contest
    The girls were gorgeous and possessed
    Hellbroth dropped her skirt,
    and that place went Wild West

    I’ll never forget her smile
    Full of allure and beguile
    Her eyes stared into mine –
    She won that contest by a mile

    Gulping Hair of th’ Dog
    Staring through fumes and fog –
    I carved a path through the revelers,
    still gripping a glass of spiked nog

    I tipped that glass back
    The room turned black –
    I stared into her eyes,
    my own were like a maniac’s

    To this day, who knows,
    why Hellbroth picked me, when she chose –
    She took me home that night
    I recall candles, and fishnet hose…

    That night, I believe,
    was my best All Hallows Eve –
    Hellbroth saw to that,
    She had so many tricks up her sleeve…

    I don’t know if, or when –
    I’ll ever see her again-
    But her smell and touch remain,
    and thoughts of her fill my brain

    She mumbled spells as we trysted –
    Phrases all Jiminy twisted
    I saw true magic that night
    Words now hazy and misted

    I know her lore was real
    Cause a hundred years is a big deal
    I ain’t aged a bit,
    and I ain’t lost my sex appeal

    It’s my hope every day
    Come what will or may-
    That this Halloween,
    Hellbroth Witch’ll pass my way

    I’ll know her when I see her
    I’ll know that silky purr
    I’ll bury my face in her neck
    And pick back up, where we were…

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