Susan Mackay – New Zealand Creative.

Its funny how much can change in such a short while. We no longer live in Wellington, but instead have moved to Whanganui. This is a place we’ve wanted to move to since Andrew and I first got together. Finally we are here. We’ve actually been here about a year now, and we’re loving it.

I’ve also switched jobs as has my husband. We both love what we do, and we love being up here, but boy have we been met with some serious bad luck lately. I guess that’s just how life is sometimes. Your worst times are the times of self discovery and growth. But boy are they hard to get through.

I’ve also been re-evaluating my choices with regard to my degree, and now I’ve chosen to focus my studying on expressive arts, namely writing. My minor being public relations to teach me more about the media, and speaking. Something I have re-discovered about myself is how much of a story teller I am. Not a liar or anything like that. But how much I love to make up stories. I’ve done a few papers now centred around writing for my communications degree, and I’ve found that when I am doing these papers I get really animated. I’m going to be honest with you for a bit, if thats alright.

When I was 6 years old, in my second year of school I wrote a conservation based essay and sent it with the others in my class to KCC (Kiwi Conservation Club). Shortly after writing this essay, I promptly forgot about it. But several weeks later I found out that I was one (of many) who won the top prize (a special morris the more pork helmet and subscription to the KCC). Like most other kids I adored to play, but I found I was always more than happy to play by myself. I would take my barbies and my horses and I would set up a game of some sort or another and tell little stories, acting them out with the dolls. I always thought this meant I was going to want to be an actress, and this was the line I pursued my entire life. But when I got to be an adult choosing whether to study design, or acting at Toi Whakaari my instincts went towards the design, which I later dropped out of. All through my childhood I was writing. Just for fun. In fact I’ve found tons of my journals where I was writing wee stories. None that made particular sense, and none that were finished. But I was always writing. As a teenager I was writing, and if I wasn’t writing I would be drawing, and cross stitching, and while I was doing these things I was making up stories in my head ready to be written down. Then I found the world of role play chat rooms, and I went on there and would write stories to other people. Okay that last one sounds really dodgy, but the chat rooms I was going into were like fantasy ones where it literally was writing stories to one another, and wasn’t at all sexual. Just to clarify that.

Anyway, In relation to my art. Well I didn’t come across drawing, and painting until I was a teenager. It wasn’t until I saw my dad drawing and actually took some interest that I asked him if I could have a try, and he agreed to let me. I took the pencil and paper that he gave me and went away and had a go. A day or so later when i came back I had a drawing that was so realistic that my Dad could hardly believe that it was my first try. Since then I have been encouraged to doing art. Like that is my gift, and I need to be pursuing that. Over the years I’ve realised that there are loads of people out there who have this same natural talent for drawing something realistic, and emotional, and moving, and I’ve realised that to be one of the few artists out there who really do great things you need something more. I’ve been searching for what that is, and I think that now I know. That one thing you need is fired up passion. You have to have this compulsion to keep producing work. Day in and Day out. When you stop and are doing nothing you have to be the person who thinks, “well I’m bored, what should I do now?” and have creating art be the first thing you think of doing. There has to be something in you that you can’t hold in, that you have to get out. It has to be almost a craziness. I don’t have that for art. I enjoy art. I like to sit down with a brush, or a pencil at times and do some work. But for me it’s not a desperate need to do it. I’ve tried too. There have been times when I’ve tried to commit myself to producing stuff every day. But I find that I’m the person who is going to get up and produce something, and then nothing. I sit down and I’m like I really don’t want to. It’s not that I don’t have the idea in my head, its just, it doesn’t feel important to get out of me.

Writing on the other hand. Particularly now that I am getting back into it. I wake up and I am happy to do that. I’ve always loved books. Everything about them. I actually collect them. If you could see my house I have books in every room. I love to look at them. I love to touch them, to look through the pages, to smell them, to imagine the adventure and intrigue in them. I can’t wait to get through each of them. When I commit to writing I sit down and I write. It isn’t hard for me, its not something I avoid. Its something I take pleasure in, and when I start I often just don’t want to stop, (which is why you get the long winded blog posts from me.) Story telling is something I do find I have inside me that I need to get out. The stories I think up churn inside me until it almost makes me weep. It is something I feel strongly about. But then I have a problem with writing. I need to get it out, but I can never finish them. I never get to that illusive stage of editing. Thats where the degree comes in. Thats where you and this beautiful website comes in. My degree will force me to write. It is going to teach me how to construct sentences well. How to construct stories well. It is going to teach me how to finish. And I am going to practise.

I actually started writing a novel shortly after my daughter was born. I got quite far through it, but then realised actually this isn’t working in the setting I started writing it in. So I stopped while I pieced together a new setting, and new time frame, and I’ve started again. There’s another anonymous blog that I started writing several years ago out there that talks more about my life, about the hardships I’ve faced and the lessons I’ve learnt from that. I haven’t written on that in years though. I sort of lost faith in my ability. But I’ve realised that, actually, this is where I should be heading. All my experiences in life are potential stories. I have ideas for writing both fiction and non-fiction, and have particular things I want to be writing about under both of these categories. I want to keep learning about this area.

So, while I will still be creating art, and I will still share things I make and draw with you. This will no longer be my main direction. I am going to utilise this blog for writing about all sorts of things, as well as my art. I am going to head in the direction of just being creative old me. Making what I want to, focussing on my writing. I want to be that person who wakes up each day, makes cup of steaming hot chai, and sits at the computer typing away all day. I want to be that person who goes out for walks, and takes notes about my surroundings so I can craft them into something beautiful and poetic when I get home. I want to be the person that reads to learn about the craft of writing, and story telling. That reads so that she might know who her contemporaries are (I don’t go to art galleries very often, again, that’s not something I feel particularly driven to do. I feel like a fraud really). I want to be the person who goes to museums, and libraries, and scours through historic records to find the truth, and the humanising factors in a story. I want to be the person who talks to people about things, and tells them “I am writing a story” and feels like she is doing something important for the community. Who feels like she is fulfilling the wishes of the community. I want to write. I want to accept that this is what I do. I want to do it unashamedly. I will still have to work a full time job until something gets big for me. But I want to follow this path until this can be my life. Other people do it. Why can’t I?

About Me

I adore and practise Art and Embroidery. I blog about Art, trying to encourage open communication through the creation of Art and discussion about Art.

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