I love Bob Ross. Maybe you do, too. I love the fact that his entire TV show is available on Youtube:
Love him for his talent, love him for his afro, or love him for his voice … I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t love Bob Ross. It’s always a surprise to people when they learn that this gentle man was also a Master Sergeant in the Air Force. Bob Ross inspires me because he didn’t find success until the second or third act of his career, but once he did he seemed happy and content for the rest of his life.
We should all be so lucky.
Even though Ross’ painting was not without its own controversy, he remained a tranquil space for viewers. I think about this when I think about the kind of writer I want to be, and the kind of choices I want to make as a creator.
With Ross, the tension and the action are in the work, not in the man. We’re free to let our minds go, experiment, and try new things. He seems to navigate the line between art and commerce without compromising either. He found his niche, occupied it comfortably, and we still enjoy his legacy today.
I see this as a learning lesson for me. Maybe you’re also trying to figure out how to write, how to make, how to do without sacrificing your values. In a perfect world, I could crank out stories night and day, with no thought to rent, bills or adulting. I haven’t found the secret sauce, yet.
However, I remain confident that if I keep looking, that I’ll find a way. Bob Ross found a way to make it work. Maybe we can, too.