Artists start off with optimism. We stand at the edge, open hearted, reaching out. In that act is the hope that someone will understand. Do you get it? Do you see what I see? What often happens though, is a lack of understanding (rejection) and after many, many failures to communicate, we stand at the edge, open hearted, reaching out, with our hearts full of hope, but our minds full of fear.

And that’s where the crazy sets in.

It’s no secret that artists are a little off. The range is anywhere from a little quirky, to stark raving mad. Because it’s our vocation to examine life, we think we see signs everywhere; in the sky, in an untied shoelace, in the way a leaf rests when it falls in a rain puddle. We think. Only we don’t know. And the uncertainty drives both our creativity and further madness. So we create signs that we can control, ones that we know precisely their meaning, because we have imbued them with the meanings ourselves.

And so I give you my talismans. (Well, three of them, anyway.)

I use these and I feel like a writer. I feel like anything I write, you’re going to understand.

Your talismans may be different. A favorite pen. A necklace. The quote you have tacked up on your bulletin board. But we all have them. They are things that give us strength when we start to falter, when the crazy gets a little too much, when the rejections roll in, when we can’t believe our own good luck. They ground us and keep us focused lest we go jumping off that edge we live on.

Only, talismans have a funny way of occasionally turning back into regular objects. I’m not sure if they do that on their own, or if we occasionally lose trust in them as magical objects. Either way, we’ve lost our anchor, and that edge is right there. … So be careful.



4 thoughts on “Talismans

  1. Catherine Stine says:

    Love the cups! I have a fave one that says “Hot & Literate.” My talismans are photos of my muses-a few writing teachers that I really learned from. Interesting that they are all male. It might be because my dad was hugely creative (painting, piano player, writing), and an early mentor.

  2. Tracey says:

    Hot & Literate! I love it. I have a thing for mugs. Probably why I have so many. The one on the left marks my first published book with editor Paula Wiseman. And my name is first on the list of her authors, so it’s probably my favorite. If it ever broke… well, let’s not think about it. Most of my writing “heroes” are men, and my dad isn’t creative, so no worries there. 🙂

  3. Deborah Batterman says:

    I’m picturing you, Tracey, hands around any one of those cups, warmed from coffee or tea inside. Thinking. I have delightful ‘Bookworm’ cup that I drink from but my talismans are more the photos of writers taken by a photographer friend: Isaac Bashevis Singer’s fingers tapping away on his Yiddish typewriter, Isabel Allende with a dove on her shoulder, Mario Vargas Llosa editing at table. I have one of a young Leonard Cohen, too, but it’s much too intense for me to be looking at while I write. 😉

  4. Tracey says:

    Ooh, sexy pictures, huh? I understand. A girl needs her… well… we have needs. The images you have sound amazing. I have other talismans, but the mugs are definitely my everyday magic.

Comments are closed.