Thursday, March 11, 2010

If the door opens, seize the opportunity

I spent a wonderful weekend in Rockdale, TX at the Tejas Art and Book Fair but not as an author. Nope, I wore my art hat for this one. Because of my work for Flair Magazine, I was invited to visit with a local high school art class regarding careers in art. The talk we gave was motivational in nature and carried the theme; If a door opens, seize the opportunity.

That advice has followed me all through my life. I didn't choose to be an art teacher; art teaching chose me. Because I worked as an artist, I felt compelled to write. As a teacher, I watched students create each day but I didn't have time to join in. The need to create grew until I thought I'd explode. With small children at home, finding room to paint became difficult. Writing didn't require messy supplies or a large space. So - writing became my creative outlet. My husband's co-worker discovered my new love and invited me to join her critique group. The journey led me to Champagne and my first contract.

I have a BFA with an emphasis in commercial art and a minor in math. I've never used my degree as it was intended. Instead, I went back to school for certification to teach. For the first time, I'm finally using my commercial art degree. How? Why? Because I was published. Eh? My next door neighbor was good friends with the publisher of Flair. On the very first issue, the publisher lost her editor so she asked the friend if she knew anyone who was a writer. I was called and wooed with pizza. I've been with the magazine almost three years now. I started as the editor but when the art director position came up, I moved into that slot.

What a fun circle. I write because I'm an artist, and I'm an artist because I write. Regardless, I took the job because the door opened. I knew nothing about journalism. For that matter, I knew nothing about indesign, but I wanted the opportunity to put dormant skills to work. The door opened and I walked in.

This past weekend, I wore the art hat but as I was milling about the crowd, I ran into someone who recognized me as an author. She'd been at the booksigning in Bremond. My circle just got broader.