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Let Me Tell You a Story

This is a personal story, but it could also be a story about you. This is also a thank you letter. Wonder what this project is all about? Then, please, listen carefully…

This is the truth about me. It is not pretty.

My name is José Angel Solo.

I am an artist.

And saying that is still strange. Because it sounds presumptuous, right? Inaccessible. Even a little funny. No one I know defines himself, first, as an artist. Before that, you are an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, an aquatic cave explorer or whatever.

But not an artist. At least not here in México. Shame on us.

The only people here, I think, who define themselves that way are the famous actors and singers. Or even the incomprehensible personalities who participate in reality shows.

Are you one of them? No? Then you’re not an artist. Period!

And it’s very scary. To know, within yourself, that you are one of them. That you are driven, from your childhood, to create something. To draw something, sing, dance, act or compose something. To write something.

Let me tell you a story. It will be a short one, I promise.

The child who wanted to be an artist

Once upon a time, there was a child who liked to read. He loved it. In fact, he remembers perfectly, don’t ask me how, that he learnt how to read before talking.

And after reading, he discovered that he loved to write.

Other children played outside. They fought, laughed, ran and did what every child should do. But he was strange. He surrounded himself with books, a notebook with a Batman sticker and a pencil. And he wrote for hours about fabulous places and creatures, fascinating and old mysteries (Invented that very same day) and characters full of dreams that were not afraid to go chasing treasures and dragons.

That was his life. Until his father told him something that he could never forget. Until now, more than thirty years later.

“Being an artist is very difficult. You better focus on something you can actually do”.

So, he did that. The child stopped writing almost completely. He grew up and studied. He traveled and found a job. And he fell in love with a wonderful person and formed a wonderful family.

And so, the notebook with the Batman sticker and the pencil were left behind.

Although, I confess to you, not completely.

The man who wanted to be an artist

As he grew, our friend used to come back from time to time. To write stories, I mean. It was like a little escape between the reality of delivering that urgent report and signing that check. Like a candy that you eat secretly when you are on a diet. Something simple that gives you a simple satisfaction, but you cannot abandon for some reason.

His wife loved every writing he made, and kept them all. He was never that careful. He would have lost his gallant, manly and beautiful nose if he hadn’t had it stuck to his genetically underdesigned face.

And then, one day, he discovered Twitter. With that terrifying limit of characters that takes away from you the basic human right of talking about football and politics without any ethical limits.

And he wrote a short story there. A little mischief. Just to see if he could do it. A few minutes, which wouldn’t be needed later anyway, he would spend doing that.

And then someone read it and liked it.

Uh? That was interesting.

And he wrote another one. And then, another one. And the list of people who seemed to read them with pleasure grew larger. Thousands over thousands of them in a matter of a year. Nothing he had done before caused such attention. Even though he makes some spectacular urgent reports. With cool graphics and everything.

It’s just that… Darn it! He seemed to be good at this. At least good enough to take it seriously.

And our friend, again, in more time than he remembered, dared to ask himself a simple question.

He wondered who he was.

For real, without any taboos. No fears or shame or any of those ridiculous burdens. He asked just what he really wanted to do with himself, and how he could do it.

And he wanted to write. He happened to be an artist. And he discovered he wanted to try to actually make a living out of it.

And he found the courage, thanks to them. Also, to his wife who kept those pieces of himself that he left on his way, and that group of people online who gave him something very valuable, even without knowing him:

Their time.

And he designed a strategy. And he sacrificed nights and weekends in preparing himself to carry it out.

Because he owed them. To all. He owed them the attempt. The effort. To believe that he could do this, I mean, really engage in this.

Because he is an artist. I’m sorry, but it’s not like a flu. This thing will not pass away with a couple of days lying down watching TV and drinking chicken soup. You can deny it all your life, and even then it will not pass away. You cannot deny who you are.

A jump into the void

The story still continues, by the way. Now a new chapter begins.

Do you identify with this story? I want to think that you may. At least a little bit. Maybe it’s something presumptuous, but I do think so. I do not believe that I am so special that no one else has ever felt something similar. To feel in your very bones that you are something, and deny it because someone else told you that it was not something worth being.

You know what? It does not have to be this way. I refuse to think that one should resign oneself. Not anymore. I’ve lost too much time already.

This is the first step in my plan. Accepting me. It’s damn hard, because you feel ridiculous. And terrified. But in some way it is liberating.

The second step is something I DO know how to do. Because that’s how I earn my life now. I plan, design strategies, organize and evaluate. And I make some precious cool reports.

I’m not a madman who risks everything for this dream. Maybe I could have done it twenty years ago. With the certainty of not having anyone to depend on me, a jump into the void was not all that important. If it failed, well, at least it would surely make an interesting story for someone’s after-dinner.

But now I can’t. Not anymore.

So, what I want to do is this:

I want to live my life as an artist, without dying of hunger in the attempt. I want to provide for my loved ones doing what I do best: Telling stories and planning. I want to jump into the void with a parachute.

And I’d be honored if you’d see me doing that. So, that you learn from the mistakes that I will surely make.

I am going to share my strategies with you. What I have done and what I am going to do to accomplish my goal of living by telling stories. Every single detail, without hiding anything. Every mistake I make and what I will do to correct it. Steemit is the perfect platform for it, and is a very important piece of my strategy. I want to learn it. To dominate it. To invest time and energy and words on it. To find the very best route for a fiction writer. For an artist.

And let you know it along the way.

My intention is to create a record to share with you. Give you a possible route and alternatives to follow. To experiment. To learn about making money with my art, where many times this is considered absolute madness, if not a blasphemy.

I have been many things in my life. I do not think it would hurt so much to be blasphemous too. I have been called worse things.

You see this site? This is my first step. My attempt to bring my little stories to the mass public. I gather a team of incredibly talented illustrators and we create amazing products based on this stories. This is unique home decour. Everything tells a story.

But the main purpose, what really moves me, is something very simple:

It’s you.

Do you know why I created this? Because I want to convince you to jump too, if what I do resounds with you. If you have that imperious necessity of creating something, that you have not pursued for any reason. I wish to convince you that it’s possible, and that this experience may help you in your own adventure, even if only a little bit.

It’s my way to say thank you.

Thank you for being there. For reading me. For honoring me with your time and your attention. Thank you for taking five minutes of your day to make mine special. Thank you for making me believe this jump is possible. Thank you for helping me to find myself again. For giving me the courage to try this madness.

Thank you for following me, if you have decided to do it. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I wouldn’t have done this without you. Without knowing that I do it for you.

No excuses. Not anymore.

Will you come with me?

I

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