The Great Divide

Two opposing laws seem to be in contest.  Which law will prevail, only God knows.  But of this we may be sure—that science will obey the law of humanity, and will always labour to enlarge the frontiers of life.
Louis Pasteur                          

pexels-photo-131743

Among the principals to building a creative life, this one stands alone.  For all the others, whether you apply them or not really is a question of direction and character and your own personal strengths.  This lone concept is what I would urge you to do, regardless of how it might seem at first.  Try this.  See if it works for you as it has for me.

All creative professions reach a point where the divide must be crossed.  You leave behind the creative act, and you enter the commercial realm.  What is absolutely vital is to recognize this, and define it, and do your utmost to keep the two separate.

The creative arts are driven by one set of principals.  The commercial world is bound by a totally different set of laws.

They feed upon one another.  They require each other.  The existence of both are intertwined.

But maintaining a clear mental and emotional separation between them is vital to heightening your creative drive. Read more

Rising Up

“When the moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss.”
Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago

woman-happiness-sunrise-silhouette-40192

There are moments in every artist’s life when cause and effect simply do not apply.  Life ceases its disorderly flow, and the creative process becomes an open door to a higher level of existence.  Part of what draws us to the creative realm are these moments when we become free in a sense that only the artist can experience.

The question is, how to make room for more such events.

There are three stages to this process.  First comes acceptance.  Doubt and struggle and the wracking discomfort of enforced change are all vital elements.  They must be acknowledged, worked through, and then set aside.  Time and space must be made for these exertions.  For myself, this requirement is met in my sketchpads.  I face my own weaknesses, I confront all I do not know, I recognize my many imperfections.  All this is done on the hand-written page.  What I discover, day after day after day, is that when I return to the work and reform it into the manuscript of my story, the struggle is gone.  I have found not just a solution, but an opportunity to expand into the creative realm. Read more

Build Your Creative Space

All serious daring starts from within.
Eudora Welty                         

Life is ten percent what you make it, and ninety percent how you take it.
Irving Berlin                                   

 

pexels-photo-89860

The creative mind is an amazing instrument.

Tuned incorrectly, it can spring from its box like an angry clown, dark and formidable.

But given the proper training, the subconscious becomes one of the most powerful arrows in an artist’s quiver.

Let us begin.

The external space:  My office contains two desks.  One is a gift from my wife, a hand-carved thing of beauty, with inlaid ebony and legs like Grecian vases.  It faces east, into the sunrise, overlooking a public garden.

My other desk comes from The Bombay Company, a defunct group that used to import cheap furniture from India.  It faces a blank wall.  Filing cabinets squat to either side.

Guess which desk I write at.

I also have two computers.  Two different sets of pens.  Two completely different looking writing pads.  And so forth.

My writing computer is never hooked onto the internet.

If I must take a phone call during my writing hours, I leave the room.  And so forth.  By now I hope you get the picture.

When I travel, and I travel a lot, this construct remains in place.  I can’t have a different computer, desk, chair, etc.  But I can set up a specific position.  I only sit at this desk, in this place, when I write. Read more

Framing Time

The word ‘now’ is like a bomb thrown through the window.
And it ticks.
Arthur Miller

pexels-photo-296885

Nowhere does the impossibility of the creative life show itself more clearly than in regret over how today was not spent well.

We will study this issue three times more – doubt, fear, and that most dread of words, discipline.  But today, let us simply deal with today.

Like most of life’s hard issues, what we see is a Gordian knot, so tightly bound together that no amount of effort and no human hand can ever unravel.

Our job today is to identify that one loose thread and give it a gentle tug.  We are not after miracles.  Well, we are.  But most miracles take time.  All we’re after today is that first tiny loose strand, dangling there, just waiting for you to take hold and pull. Read more

Taking Aim

Taking Aim

Make a drawing.  Begin it again.
Trace the character. Begin it again.
Reject facility.  Shrink from any shortcut.
Retrace. 
Paint.                                                         
Edgar Degas

pexels-photo-226568

There are certain fundamental errors that every teacher of art sees over and over.  Some of these form a rite of passage.  To succeed in the commercial world, there are certain portals that must be identified and passed through.  Establishing a clear sense of where you want to go is one such challenge.

The error goes something like this:  Wherever students gather, some of them will claim they don’t know what they want, or even if they are really all that interested in becoming an artist.  They just want to give this a try, see how it fits, check it out, whatever.

Sadly, that student has already failed.

There are a huge number of hurdles that must be overcome in order to achieve a position within your chosen art world.  Establishing a clear mental goal is one of them.

Now let’s be clear.  If your aim is simply to dabble, that is fine.  But you should not arrive at the first presentation of your work to the professional world, then be hurt or confused or angry when the response is an unqualified and resounding ‘no’. Read more

Q&A With Davis Bunn: Why I Chose Charlotte, NC as the Setting for ‘The Domino Effect’

Charlotte

Q: Why did you set a story about the banking industry in Charlotte instead of New York City?

Davis Bunn: I was born and raised in North Carolina, and have watched Charlotte rise from a rather small provincial town into a major financial powerhouse.

Today, Charlotte is the largest financial center on the east coast US, after New York. It now dwarfs both Miami and Atlanta in terms of employment and assets under management.

There was another reason. Charlotte is relatively unknown as a focal point for a story. This holds a very special opportunity, both to the author and the reader. Read more

Q&A With Davis Bunn: Website as a Plot Device in ‘The Domino Effect’

Book_Of_Esther_Website (1)

Q: In The Domino Effect, Esther Larsen, the protagonist, builds a website named BookOfEsther.info. Why did you use this website as a plot device?

Davis Bunn: When I started work on the story, it seemed absolutely necessary to include the domain name as a component.

Esther needed to be deeply involved in her culture at that specific point in time, while also being a definite loner. The website concept seemed an ideal way to show this.

Aren’t there people you can point to in your life who mirror this type of personality—connected to others mostly through the safe distance of the internet? Read more

Where Does Fiction End and Reality Begin?

Domino_Effect_5_Barnes

In my new financial thriller, The Domino Effect, the lines between fiction and reality are blurred.

For instance, this January, the Chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland (one of the largest European banks) sent a circular letter to all its major clients, urging them to get out of every stock and bond market. You can read the report here.

The important thing to gain from this report is that there is an elevated level of financial risk. This means that the steps outlined in The Domino Effect to protect your own and your family’s economic safety are very important. Read more

How I Created the Character of Esther in ‘The Domino Effect’

Domino_Talmadge_to_Esther

In my new financial thriller, The Domino Effect, Esther Larsen vacillates between paralyzing fear and decisive action. This conflict within Esther formed one of the most natural character structures I have ever drawn. It actually felt as though I knew her before she appeared on the page. This occasionally happens, rarely with such intensity, and never when I expect it.

But with Esther I sat down at my desk and “drew” her as she appeared in my heart and mind. She has lived and breathed for me since that first moment of launching into this story. I feel Esther is one of the strongest characters I have ever written.

Esther is like a lot of us. She yearns to be more than she is. She wants to grow. She has a thousand reasons for becoming more, giving more, doing better. And yet she is also held back by so many elements that shaped her past.   Read more

Taking Aim

There are certain fundamental errors that every teacher of art sees over and over.  Some of these form a rite of passage.  To succeed in the commercial world, there are certain portals that must be identified and passed through.  Establishing a clear sense of where you want to go is one such challenge.

Come back 1/2017 to read the full entry to this thought provoking post by Davis Bunn