My favorite columnist, Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle, assembled some thoughts on how word-based people feel when asked to go visual. It ran on my birthday, which was perfect because he could have been describing my life. Not only is drawing, painting, and even photography a frustrating and often daunting experience for me, but I also have trouble understanding why many visual people think what I do with words is magic.
The column also reminded me of when I was writing arts stories for the newspaper. I became wary about interviewing visual artists. So many of these wonderfully creative, intelligent people would have so much trouble describing what they do. Even basic facts about their lives were often hard for them to articulate. They would become flustered and embarrassed. I did my best to assure them that all they had to do was talk — my job was to organize the nuggets and write the story. Sometimes that helped, sometimes it didn’t. I’m sure both sides came away shaking their heads about how the other half lives.
Here’s the column that sums up how my half lives.