Posts Tagged ‘art’

Do you ever feel like a Picasso?

June 27, 2012 Leave a comment

I mean seriously. Look at this thing. I don’t like Picasso’s art work for the most part. When I see a work of art I look for beauty. Something that makes me go “Ah yes …very nice”. Perhaps Picasso is accurate about aspects of life and reflects those well but he’s not cheerful. In this world full of cruel irony and lost sentimentalism, I frown when I look at this thing.

I wouldn’t have one of his paintings in my house. However, this is how I feel today; disjointed, out of place, broken and thrown back together as if the maker lost his plans and guessed where things might go.

The music is far from the instrument, my hands are small, eyes are lifeless. I can’t figure out what goes with what. I’m sitting in my own lap, licking my own tongue. Shadows with no maker. I feel this is how people see me too …at least for now. But, my hands tremble as I calmly assure them …this is not me …let me get myself together. I plead …please wait. I am impatient with me too …and justly so …and I’m growing that way with the world.

Is my vision disjointed? What corrections can you make? With one move the picture could focus or fall apart.  Because I’m disjointed my strength fails me. I’m three people or just one. Blocky, square, rounded and colorful but unmatched. My clothes are out of style. Victim of cubism and the cry of a collage life. I am pieces of discarding beginnings. Shadows look through me and reach around. I’m hooded and lonely like a leper. Am I here or there? My jaws out of joint and mute like the painting.

For God’s sake …please know that this is not me. From afar you’ve seen pieces and set them together with innocent misconceptions. To know me fully will help you arrange these snap shots, these flat squares of my life that hang on the walls of your heart. It is not me. I, the momentary broken Humpty Dumpty, as all the king’s men shake their mythical heads. Pray I can be put back together, at least partially and put back upon the wall. With a little help from my friends and the best that’s in me and the God I’ve doubted I shall reunite my broken hinges.

The older I get I realize nothing is wrong with being a healthily co-dependent (though I’m been doggedly independent) and that the high point over two promising hearts holding hands is a God on high who shines wisdom into their hearts. All else is vanity and if doubting becomes your master you end up like a Picasso.

Do you ever feel like a Picasso?


In other news…

I have decided against using a pen name. I will delete this blog (and A. R. Travis facebook, twitter and youtube channel) I will lose a lot valued connections. If you wish to “friend” me or follow me under the name given me by my momma and daddy, be warned, you get the whole me, the very non-politically correct me blogging about all manner of things. If you wish to abuse yourself, you can follow me at and on twitter @ASpeakingHuman (!/aspeakinghuman) and at

I’m tired of being two people and wondering what I should and shouldn’t reveal about myself in one place or the other.

A. R. Travis (Alton Ray Travis on facebook) was going to be my alias for that day when I publish my epic heroic fantasy, which I’ve been crafting and creating for about 5 years. My real name is Allen Bagby (on facebook).

Categories: Art, Creative Writing Tags: ,

Why Beauty Matters

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Getting Older

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Getting older… Getting over …vanity of youth …insanity of fad …from the blind side of sought and the wrong side of ought. Journey out of the naiveté, but ache and wonder resides and spills from the cloven seasons of my heart, even as I laugh, life moves in for the kill.

What was the future is beyond my furrowed brow, but somehow, brightness shines in the valleys between far away thrills, bridging the distance of that old resistance in an instance, to other hidden fields. The wonders of pain and stain, of sunshine and gain are all in the palm of my gazing mind, reshaping, improving thoughts that were blind or unkind. With a thought quick as a glance, smooth as a changing stance, leaping on the tip of icebergs galore, foundations of floating depth explored.

I’m not what I pretended, less than I intended and far less than I apprehended. There is grander I cannot grasp…a pleasant and powerful undercurrent to life parallels the misery, sensed only with my meager knack to detect wonder, as I stand astride two destinies, one good, one nil. Seems to me truth is more ancient than light, rolling like waves with such force I crouch to the deck on my squeaky little ship. There is more air than I can breathe more sun than I can soak up or see.

Life will rob you of peace, but think of no other riches than those of heart. Life takes its toll but strive for no other greatness than that of soul.

Too Outta Shape For Truth

April 23, 2011 3 comments

We’re a fat culture. I’m stating the obvious. Don’t be mad. Worse than that, we’re starved of good mind food to the point of braindead. Many are living way under the poverty line in that area and there’s no subsidy for it. It is a bigger problem than our expanding waistlines. Watching a rotund kid trying to run to first is like watching an adult grope for Truth. There’s just too much postmodern flab to get on base.

Reality vs. Relic

April 13, 2011 2 comments

You Can’t Keep Borrowing Essence

So much is phony in our world that we hardly notice. Ever drive through a neighborhood and see the fake animals, deer, pink flamingo, and lion statues out in the yard or at the gates? I think phoniness in our inner worlds is just as predominate, and harder to recognize. So, how the heck does this relate to story building?
     In Donald Maass’ book Writing the Breakout Novel, he says, “It is all too easy for an author to project into his novel more than is actually there.”
     Those words haunted me. Because I do project a lot of emotion and I imagine lots of subtext and subplots into any scene I write. I have that strength; it inspires me to fill up the emotional cup for the reader, so to speak, to the level I’m feeling inside. I also listen to epic original movie scores while writing, editing, and revising. I pretend it’s the soundtrack to the movie trailer: CREED OF KINGS. Projections and the emotion of the music add something for me that won’t be there for the eventual reader. Not saying it’s a bad thing that I do this, it’s just that those add-ons have been doing a lot of work for me. I just need to be less reliant, I figured out why I’ve been reliant. Not saying I will stop but it is borrowed. Ultimately, it is insufficient to get me where I’m going. I need more, of course.
     Hang with me because I have a point to which you might relate. I need to tell you something else first. I have another little trick. It’s helpful but only applies in the realm of imagery. I cast actors in the roles of my characters. Charlton Heston, Linda Harrison, Viggo Mortensen, Jack Black, Angelina Jolie. I cast landscapes and buildings, too. I see these actors and settings playing roles in my story. Like pink flamingos and lion statues. Again, borrowed.
Here’s the problem. I’ve been doing another kind of borrowing. It was doing a lot of work for me, very crucial work. But I should not, and really cannot, borrow in this area. This area is mine. I can’t compose music or make movies, but this story is mine. I did not realize the impact of this until a few days ago.
     For a story to really hum, it needs all the core elements fully realized: character, theme, structure, and concept.
Let me give you a quick example of concept and theme using the movie Gladiator. Concept: What if a roman general became a slave? And what if that slave became a gladiator? And, what if that slave challenged an emperor? Theme (could be more than one): Don’t mess with a dude’s family. Love and family reach beyond death.
     The crime against my creativity that I’ve committed is, I’ve been compensating for my half-imagined high concept (a what if?) and theme (what is this story saying?). I had a strong but indistinct concept in mind in the beginning. I believed it is worthy of fueling three books. I’m very close to having it crystallize in my mind. Writing seemed like the biggest mountain to climb when I started, just do it. So, I climbed Everest with my fingers. Now, I realize that I have projected what I’ve been lacking in concept and theme into my story by counterfeiting feelings borrowed from the emotional reservoir of power in my soul created and stored by me from the inspirational concepts of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or Gladiator and others. With some self-trickery, I used the feeling from those concepts—not the actual concepts—mixed it with my fuzzy theme and concept. I was pretending to be afraid of a lion statue. I transported those forces of poignancy into my mind to fuel my writing because I thought in the beginning that a concept and a theme was something I could get to…eventually. I’ve felt like I had the concept and theme in the bag, ready to pull out at a moment’s notice when it came time, just tweak it, retrofit it for the story. Therefore, rather than doing the hard work to fully conjure and finishing designing my concept and theme…I borrowed. It’s phony, like a fake deer in the yard.
     Subconsciously I was trying to refine my concept and theme by forging ahead. I’ve been on an exploratory exercise in search of the rest of the story (apologies to Paul Harvey) for the missing pieces. I would have found it, perhaps 5 years from now! That’s really all you’re doing if you don’t have a concept and theme defined when you start writing.
It has haunted me but I didn’t realize the lack of my full attention to this foundational element was going to be a brick wall, nor did I realize or understand the cost of what turned out to be an exploratory exercise. Again, not all bad, just insufficient for my goal. There is loads of meaning in what I’ve written but I was sailing further and further from my original and authentic, yet underdeveloped, concept and theme. It’s all good, but I’m not shooting for good, I’m shooting for great. My concept and my theme are the real deal, the real lion. It’s past time for me to do the work.

So it’s reality vs. relic. Which would you rather have?

Resting on top of the Mountain

January 7, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s not very far from the Pharaoh to the Promise Land, but the children of Israel wondered in the desert for forty years before they got there. After all I’ve been through it feels like I’m halfway there but I’m on a mountain top looking further up the trail. The ‘mountain’ is a completed first rough draft of my book, which I finished on my holiday break. Three years ago I finally got out of Egypt, sat down and started writing this book, seriously, and then I allowed an interruption for a year to take a professional position again, I went back into ‘bondage’-it sucked up my intelli-juice for writing. But I got back on track due to some wild wonderful circumstances, some might say the hand of Providence. Friends have asked me repeatedly, when will you be done? If getting to the land of milk and honey was just a walk through the desert I’d have been there years ago. If writing a book was only typing, I’d have been done in a couple of months. I’m still not done-done, of course, but the target is in the cross hairs as never before.

In “the story of the story” of writing the book, I’ve come to Act III so to speak. The final battle and the view from the Mountain I’ve wanted for so long. I’m sitting on a a spiral bound stack of the whole thing with edits and revsions in red/blue/black and highlighted ink. I drained a red ink pen doing edits and scribbling revisions in the margins. Now all that work needs to be blended into the book. It’s a lot. And, stuff needs to be removed.

I tried to dive right into it but the weight of what I’m about to do overwhelms and intimidates me. It’s going to take much more heavy mental lifting to finally get there. I wondered if I have what it takes to do it. I’m going to need to be better than I’ve ever been. I have to bring my very best game to this. I stared at the blank page for an hour and had to admit to myself that I need a break.

I kept thinking of all the revisions and thematic emphasis, they are huge and must be handled subtly and with nuance….and something else: arrangement. I think I need to arrange events a little differently to increase the emotional impact of the big moments. Also, I’ve adapted my styling toward the end. Having been impressed with George R. R. Martin’s work, I wanted to write in third person limited, each chapter restricted to one character’s point of view. However, as I got deeper into story I started feeling/seeing peripheral characters’ points of view more clearly, so I started writing those in as well. When I edit and revise I’ll include more POVs per chapter. I also developed a better background mythology.

I’ve been off the internet a lot working. Thus my writer’s platform (presence on the web) has suffered, as it will from time to time.. Writing is a writer’s number one priority, not his platform. There is a time for everything I need to do under the sun but now is the time to write!

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