MANW Week 15: Art is My Inch

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I wasn’t sure I was going to do today’s check-in, because yesterday’s announcement and the fall out from that has been overwhelming. I feel everything, ranging from anger to utter shock to guilt, and in the midst of all that I still have to get work down. Unfortunately, that’s been slow at best.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Make Art Not War 2017 is a challenge I cooked up to kick off the new year. It was a way to help both me (and, hopefully you) retain a focus on art despite everything else that’s going on. That, unfortunately, has turned out to be harder than I thought when I have to perform emotional labor. There are days, like today, where I feel I can’t express all of my conflicting emotions. Part of that, is because as a professional I do perform emotional labor. The other bit, though, is that I don’t know how to describe it. I knew yesterday was bad, when I was at sushi therapy (my words for delicious sushi) and an elderly gentlemen walked toward me with his face lit up to tell me how beautiful I was. I didn’t feel beautiful. I just felt very small.

But then, as I was wandering off to a Pokestop, I remembered something. It was a powerful scene from the movie V for Vendetta based on Alan Moore’s work. I remember Valerie writing about the inch no one else can take, her story filled with hope, love, despair, and gut-wrenching tragedy. She says: “An inch… it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.”

I realized what Valerie’s inch is for me. That inch is the art I make for you and for myself, because no one can take that away. No one. All the worries about dying in obscurity or a lack of discovery pale in comparison to the horror, the terror that comes from not making art. I don’t know if I’ll be wildly successful, and I can’t plan for that. I can only plan for a possible future, and then adjust based on what actually happens. The way to get there, though, is to take an inch. Every, damn day. Every chance I get. One, beautiful inch at a time.

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

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