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This Is Who I Am...

My name is Darylynn Starr Rank. (Father wanted to call me Starr. Mother didn’t. And so the compromise… sort of. Depends on your particular definition of compromise…)

This is who I am...

I’m a writer, a therapist, a creativity consultant.

And now some basics about my life.  

I was born in New York, then grew up in New York and Miami Beach, literally half and half.  Nine years in New York, nine years on the Beach (though not sequential), until I went away to school at eighteen.  

I was born, I learned to talk and, finally, I learned to write.  

From that moment on it was pretty much decided what I wanted to do with my life.  

I wanted to write.  

Which I did.

For a very long time.

I wrote poetry, and stories, little plays that I put on with my friends.  I lived in my diary.  And I read a lot.  When I wasn’t writing.  Creative pursuits were the be-all and end-all of my existence.  

I wrote

Then, when it came time to choose a university, it seemed perfectly clear. I was going to become a journalist, either a foreign correspondent or a critic (wasn’t positive which would be more fun and more creative), and write novels on the side.

I applied to a school in Washington, DC. It seemed obvious to me that if you were going to become a reporter, DC was the place to start. Duh.

And off I went

Darylynn Starr Rank talking to one of her clients

It was still all about creativity. And the joy of the artistic pursuit.

It was still all about the writing. 

Which I continued to do, for the college paper. Writing papers for class was my joy. Still kept writing poetry (especially when I felt the torment part of life). And of course I continued writing in my journal.

Then suddenly, abruptly, at the ripe old age of nineteen, I stood up and announced to the world – my three dormitory roommates – that I wasn’t going to write anymore.  

That I needed to do something… useful.

Dont ask me

Or, actually, you can ask me now.  I get it now.  But certainly not then.  I just knew I needed to do something ‘useful’.  Writing was not useful.

Please, every writer who has ever lived, accept my apology.  Please.

Also, every person who has ever read, anything at all, really.  Please.

And of course, every creative, artistic human being in the entire world of creativity, and every human being who has ever enjoyed even one moment of that creative world.  Please, accept my apology.

I was nineteen, and, as it turns out, completely, I mean, completely, screwed up.

Revealingly (at least all these years later.  Not then!), I went into psychology.  

Well, life kept happening.

I took a leave from school, lived in Brazil, traveled to Europe, met a guy from Vancouver traveling in a van, ended up in Vancouver married to him (still with him…).

The Art of Becoming an Artist
Darylynn selling her book

 I went back to school to get my degree.  In psychology.  Then grad school.  Became a therapist.  Then got a job at a street-kid, drug treatment program (mostly heroin).

And I truly had stopped writing.  From the very first instant of my “usefulness” decision.

I mean I’d stopped  writing.  No poetry, or stories, no plays.  No creativity at all. No articles.  Not even a journal entry.  Or especially not even a journal entry. 

I'd Stopped

I stopped writing when and wherever I could.  And hated it when I did have to write.  Didn’t matter what.  Creative work, or record keeping.  I hated it all.

In hindsight that was shocking.  Bizarre even.  

But there was something I find even more shocking.  To this day actually.

I never even noticed it.

Not a thing.  

It never occurred to me that I wasn’t writing.  Never occurred to me that I hated it.  I did not notice that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the one thing I’d loved most in my life (at least until I met husband, Dennis…).  

Darylynn Starr Rank talking to customer

I was completely oblivious to the fact that I never wrote a thing.  Completely oblivious to the fact that the thought of having to write filled me with horror.

I, Darylynn Starr Rank, simply never noticed.

The story of how and when I noticed, is what led me into my specialty of working with artists, of being a creativity consultant, of becoming an author of the artist’s book, The Art of Becoming An Artist; of helping us all figure out the brilliant, complex, fascinating process of getting to our creativity.  Of understanding why we do creative acts less than we want to, or hardly ever, or not at all.  Of understanding why or when we do do anything that is creative.  Why or when artistic endeavors makes us gloriously happy.  Or when our creativity, or lack of artists’ pursuits, our creative blocks, make us profoundly, deeply miserable.

Of understanding what is going on inside us.  And understanding how that is running our creative process.

The bottom line in my universe about doing my art?

If you ain’t driving it, it’s driving you….

Opus Art Supplies Workshop, North Vancouver

This Is What Some People Think Of It All…

NOTE FROM DARI: Many of these quotes are comments made by students on anonymous course evaluations.

The Art of Becoming an Artist book cover

Being an artist can be the most enchanting life imaginable – and the most tormenting. Finding your way to your own creative universe is an extraordinary and infinitely surprising journey. Still, every artist falters at some point. Call it what you will: blocks, obstacles, hitting the wall, tossing your painting into the ocean, or shredding your manuscript – we have all stumbled, we have all shut down.

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A book about...

The extraordinary journey of getting to your creativity.

“The Art of Becoming An Artist”  is a non-fiction book about the extraordinary, surprising, and joyful journey of finding your way to your own creative universe.

Every artist I have ever known or heard about, has faltered at some point in pursuit of their art. Call it what you will. Blocks, obstacles, hitting the wall, tossing your painting in the ocean, shredding your manuscript; we have all stumbled at some point. We have all shut down. Failed to produce. Failed to create.