Art for Art's Sake

Tuesday, I sat at my local Starbucks with my oldest son, who heads back to LA on Monday to film his first feature length film. It's extremely indie -- his pay will be his flight out there and back and food/housing while filming (the latter is likely to be someone's sofa), but he's excited enough over the opportunity that you'd think they were providing a bungalow at Chateau Marmont and a stipend to match. He's standing at the precipice of a career he's dreamed of for years.

Zach tagged along for my meeting with a photographer who'll be doing the cover for my third book. As much as I love the first two covers, they weren't custom made, and I don't own any rights to them. So I'm hiring Brandon Lyon to do a cover photo for book three that will be all mine. Brandon attended HS with Zach, and I've been watching him get better and better as a photographer for the last year or two, doing headshots and moving into fashion photography. I'm really freaking excited to have him do this.

We're three different types of artists, but we realized as we talked how alike we felt about some things, given how diverse our lives and aspirations are. We discussed how important it is to keep working towards your goals, how imperative it is to never give up. Your dream may need to be reshaped, and it may take unanticipated turns, and that's okay. It's great, in fact. We don't always know what we're capable of, after all, until we get out there and try. But if you give up, you lose the chance to do something you love and get paid to do it.

And speaking of pay, no, I'm not making a fortune on Between the Lines. I can't yet quit my job (which makes keeping up with my writing schedule really challenging at times!). I'm driving a very, very paid off car, and a high electric bill can still throw my budget off kilter (oh hi, August bill that bitchslapped me right into next month). I'm choosing to reinvest what I'm making on book one to make future books better. Hence, Brandon and the professional book cover. My dream deserves my support, after all.

Someday, I'll be a full-time writer. Brandon and I will hire professional models and stylists for the covers. Zach will call to make sure I got the tickets to his awards show. And maybe we'll all get coffee again one day, and talk about how cute and poor and full of dreams we were way back when. I'm good with that. I'm so good with that.

Now, I must disassemble my living room, then texturize and paint the wallboard* that Zach and my daughter's boyfriend picked up at Home Depot earlier this week. Brandon will be using it as the backdrop to the photos he's taking. This may be the closest I come to doing art for art's sake! Luckily, the wallboard is supposed to be a wall. So there's only so much "art" involved.

* Wallboard (aka sheet rock) is incredibly heavy, btw. When they carried it in, bitching about how much it weighed, I made the mistake of sounding less than sympathetic. I mean come on, guys - look at the muscles on you two! Then Zach said, "It's called sheet rock, not sheet air."

Tammara Webber

New York Times and international bestselling author of contemporary romantic fiction