Terrie Leigh Relf: What are your daily writing and/or artistic rituals? How do you prepare your space for these activities?
Marcia Borell: I wish I could say I have a ritual. The only thing I can say is that my life is art. Whether it is using the written word or a variety of art mediums, it is the same as breathing. Breathing in the world around me and making my vision of it visible to others. Art — not done — remains unknown. The movement of a pencil on paper makes the thoughts in the brain visible.
TLR: With what media – or genres – do you work?
MB: I work with anything. There is art in a falling leaf, a scrap of fabric or paper; there are endless possibilities in everything you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.
My favorite genres are fantasy, sci-fi, and very light horror. I am a huge fan of the happy ending.
TLR: Do you have a “day job” in addition to being a writer/artist, or is that your day job, too? If you have an unrelated day job, how do you balance your creative and work time?
MB: I used to have a “day job” and used the nighttime and weekends to do my creative work. I retired from that and started working with students with disabilities on various art projects. I have cut back, due to family issues, to working on my own art so that I am available at all times.
The advantage to creative work is that for the most part it is mobile and very doable with internet access.
TLR: What tips do you have for other writers/artists? This could be anything from a time-management strategy to an inspirational quote or exercise.
MB: Make mistakes. Go out there and hang by your toes or fingernails. Do not crumple up those papers and start over. Keep it with you. Haul it out. Think outside the box. Push your brain. This is the moment when you become truly creative, when you begin to expand your thinking and doing. There is no, “I can’t do this!” What you are really thinking and telling yourself is that, “I do not want to do this!” Figure out the whys instead of the not-wanting-to-do-its. Does the subject matter offend you? Do you feel you do not have the skill to complete it? Does it bore you? Once you have explored the whys, you will be able to make better choices. Then you dig in or turn it down if it was an assignment.
TLR: What would you like people to know about the creative process in general and your creative process in particular?
MB: There are unlimited possibilities. Ideas are in everything that comes in contact with your senses. For art, there are many places that have an abundance of materials that can be repurposed. I love thrift stores for clothing and unique odds and ends, ReStore for building/sculpture supplies, dollar stores for tools, art supplies, and other unique finds. For writing, go and sit in well-travelled areas; watch the people. How do they move? What are they wearing? What is their story? Would they be a hero or villain in a story? Pick one word and make it the first word in your story. Think of those key words in a news story and use them. Who, what, where, when, why – and also how – are great words to pull in when you get stuck. Even in an illustration, you need to decide: Who do you want to focus on in this illustration? What did or will they do in the story? Where does this scene take place? When did it happen – in an alien future or a past elven kingdom? Why is this particular scene important? How do you create this illustration so that it enhances the story, influences someone to read it, BUT does not give away the ending?
TLR: What interview question would you most like to be asked? Least?
MB: I think I would like to be asked, “Who would you like to watch, spend time with, or talk to that is living or dead?” which would be easy; I have a great love for Kermit the Frog. Jim Henson stands out for me in creative thought and bringing bits of cloth alive and memorable.
There is no least question for me. All questions lead to creative thought.
TLR: What about upcoming publications? Gallery shows? Other accolades?
MB: I have many works in progress. I love the chance to open new doors. My latest art will be remaking a chair into something extraordinary to raise money for the Habitat ReStore.
The biggest, and I do mean the biggest, art project I have ever undertaken was to be the artist/manager of a 40-ton asphalt hauler and its smaller pup. This project allowed a lot of children and adults with disabilities to add their handprint and art to vehicles. I will never be able to do anything that will make me feel the way I did and still do when I see these vehicles on the road or working. I made the following quote in an article about the project:
“This is a huge chance to put art in the hands of some very special kids and adults – not just for a moment – but for several years to come,” said Borell of the extreme project. “It is just as important to the parents who will see this truck on the roadways knowing their children made this happen.”
The most important thing about this is that we never do anything alone. There are always others involved. Sometimes, we see others we will never know or recognize except in the abstract. We will not know those that read or look at our work. We will not know how we might change even one life. Will we make them smile, cry, or look more deeply within their heart and spirit?
We create our own universes that others may visit. We reveal our hearts, minds, values with every stroke of the pen. In fact or fiction, we need to be true to ourselves. If we do not feel joy in what we do, it is very doubtful that anyone else will.
So after many more words than you probably wanted to read. . .give yourself a big hug and pick up that pen and write or draw and smile, smile, smile. Remember that we do this for the most part for the love of it, and some like me do it because we need it to survive.
TLR: Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience, Marcia. Please visit her website!