Through my exploration of the creative medium: ‘pictures and words,’ I recently discovered Danny Gregory.  He wrote a book called Art Before Breakfast that I devoured in a day.

Inspired, I painted my breakfast this morning. The food was cold by the time painting became eating and drinking, but somehow more satisfying than usual.

Last month I finished the first draft of a novel and asked two of my siblings to read it for me. Not only did they read it, they both took extensive notes and then sat with me for an hour to share their overall impressions. I can’t tell you how generous this was of both of them (One, a mother of two with a full time job and the other, an engineer running his own company.)

Their reviews were honest, and a tiny bit painful.

The thing is, I get bored with my own writing, and in the long form, it shows. There are places scattered throughout the manuscript where I just didn’t care, but I needed to write something to get onto the next bit that I did care about.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I always wake up hungry, and I find the foods we typically eat for breakfast to be delicious.

Breakfast is always a small meal, short and to the point.

Breakfast is fast. It requires very little planning or prep: cereal in a bowl, two eggs in a frying pan, toast in the toaster. A slice of ham. A piece of fruit. It nourishes and doesn’t stick around too long.

I’m not sure what to do with my manuscript. As my siblings (and Will, my partner, who never finished it due to utter frustration) have said repeatedly, “There’s a really good story in there.”

But where? Is it only in the bits I enjoyed writing? Perhaps it’s not one long story but several short ones. Fast and easy to prepare and digest.

I’m in love with the idea of combining pictures and words to tell a story. I do not, however, enjoy the idea of creating a graphic novel, a book long comic book. I don’t really like comic books that much. They hurt my eyes. There’s too much stuff happening on a page. They’re confusing.

The illustrated journal seems to be the happy medium, though most, I find, do not use the pictures to tell the story, the way the pictures in comic books do. The pictures in an illustrated journal are there to add something, flavor, texture, but aren’t necessary to the story.

The quick watercolor of my breakfast tells a story all by itself – it tells you, the viewer, even without the words, that it was a meal, prepared and eaten, probably by the artist.  The words written near by add to the story told by the picture, but aren’t necessary. In fact – now I regret writing “coffee and toast” on the drawing. I didn’t need them there. Only the date and the word breakfast were necessary to complete the story.

Less is more.

Pictures and words should complement, not replicate.

There’s a good story in that stack of pages, I just need to draw it out.