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It was around this time of year, and I was walking on a gentle mountain trail with my absolute favorite person. Yes, I'll admit I have favorites. Happily, it's a long list, and if you're here reading this, you're on it.

It's wonderful how walking activates the mind as if the legs were cog cranks specifically designed to directly engage those tired cranial gears. Being fall, I was less intent on noticing the birds, and started talking about ideas that were surfacing, wondering what would take shape. "So, what's it going to be?" seemed to be the question confronting me. The "what" referring to creative output. Out of my ramblings on the mountain came a perception of what I want the core of my work to be at its very best -- what I want it to do for me, and ideally, for you.

The challenge, it seemed, was, and is, to create something positive, regardless of the specifics of what it might actually look like or by what means it might ultimately be made. If it could impart some joy, perfect, or a sense of possibility and wonder, even better. I'd settle for a twinge of some ineffable connection.

My inner cynic is always ready to make an uninvited appearance, but I don't find the snark's offerings compelling or absorbing. Don't bring me down. Do I want or need to see more interpretations and fantasies of violence, abuse, and humiliation visited by humans upon everyone and everything? Is it shocking? No. Titillating? Eh. Obvious? Yes. On the other hand, the optimist and idealist risk seeming naive, their contributions cloying, sentimental, new agey, utopian, obscure, self-important, simplistic, and again, obvious. Personally, I decided to see what I could do while keeping my drawings non-objective, staying away from being literally descriptive, keeping my personal baggage in storage. By eschewing the obvious, maybe I'd find a way to get a little closer to the ideal of making something instrinsically positive.

CONTINUED at Drawn Together, Sky Pape's drawing and fine art blog.

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