Thursday’s Children 8.8.13: Inspired by the Chalk on the Walk

Chalk Art in Park City

I took this picture last year while visiting family in Park City, Utah. There was this big arts festival going on, and I wandered around through hastily erected tents filled with all sorts of crazy things I’d never seen before, like steam punk jewelry made from old castaway watch movements. Clocks made entirely out of old silverware. Chalk drawings that looked like worm holes into another dimension.

As I looked at these beautiful works of chalk on pavement, which each artist had undoubtedly slaved over for hours, I couldn’t help but think… why would someone do this, if they knew it wasn’t going to last? I mean, this is Utah. If the rain doesn’t wash away the chalk, the snow will. Or the desert wind. Or a pack of screaming and unsupervised children will run around on it and mess it up, or something. Why would you put so much love into something if only a few people ever get to see it, to enjoy it?

I’m sure you can all guess where I’m heading with this. In a lot of ways, being an aspiring author feels like being a professional sidewalk chalk artist. You spend weeks or even months planning something, mapping it all out in whatever way you do, falling in love with it, until finally it comes time to pour it out of yourself and onto the pavement. Then you stand back, and wait for the world to admire it. Sometimes they do. Sometimes, they say nice things about your work. They tell you that you did a good job. Other times, people walk over it.

But no matter what the response, you have to keep planning. Keep creating. Life is fleeting, and so is the work we do. Trends come and go. Editors change their minds. Readers can be fickle. But you can’t call yourself a true sidewalk chalk artist, or a writer, if you don’t keep doing what you do. Rain or snow (or sudden windfalls) notwithstanding.

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3 thoughts on “Thursday’s Children 8.8.13: Inspired by the Chalk on the Walk

  1. I promise not to snow on your ms 😉 And you’re absolutely right, artists create because they must, just as flowers must bloom. What happens to the creation/blossom afterwards is theoretically irrelevant, or at least secondary.

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