Rough Canvas by Joey W. Hill

Rough Canvas by Joey Hill
I’m a rereader. Did you know that? I like to revisit books that haunt me, touch me in some amazing way. And I reread “Rough Canvas” by Joey W. Hill more than a lot of other books I own.
This time, as I was delving into the story again, I tried to figure out why this book speaks to me.
On the surface, the story of Marcus and Thomas seems to be about two men who struggle to love each other in the face of familial disapproval and dark secrets from the past. Deeper down, I think the story is about trust and faith in one’s self as well as the person you love.
But that isn’t why I reread it.
For me, I fall in love with Marcus Stanton over and over for one reason. He loves Thomas and he fight for Thomas’s dream, his soul. It’s that absolute commitment that Marcus has to Thomas’s gift as an artist that stabs me in the heart. Everyone needs a Marcus, that person who protects and defend the dream of the person they love. As an author, this has special meaning to me. I want that belief, that support that will hold me up when I don’t have faith in my own talent. Marcus is willing to allow his own heart to be broken into a million brittle pieces as long Thomas paints. He sees Thomas’s soul in the art that he paints. Marcus is, and always will be, the protector of Thomas’s soul even when Thomas himself doesn’t protect it.
It’s that overwhelming insistence that Marcus has that Thomas paint, that he honor the gift he was given that drives me back to this story and these characters. To be believed in, to be loved that much, it’s what I want and hope for.
Maybe it means more to me because recently, I became discouraged enough to say aloud something that had been in my brain for two years.
“Maybe I should just quit writing.”
And I said them to the one person who I thought would agree with me. After all, my husband bears the burden of a writer’s quirks and frustrations, the business confusion and the constant distraction. But he, in true Marcus form, frowned at me and told me that I should never let money and life get in the way of writing. I’ve often despaired that my husband doesn’t support my writing. And sure, there’s tons of times he looks at me like I’m an alien with tentacles, but he recognizes the same thing that Marcus saw in Thomas.
I have to write.
The thing I love about “Rough Canvas” is that there’s an element of spiritual connection-family, sex, dreams-all these factors of the characters Thomas and Marcus that combine to create a canvas of its own.
I could read the epilogue again and again. To discover love, to hold another’s soul and cherish it, to forgive and face the future together, that’s what having a relationship is all about.
And yeah, it’s hard to hang onto in the face of mortgages, health issues, teenagers and taxes, but that’s why books like this one exist in my opinion. They serve as markers, reminders of the true connection that can exist between two human beings.
The connection is everything.



Filed under Great Books, Reviews, Writing

9 responses to “Rough Canvas by Joey W. Hill

  1. How wonderful….I love this write up.

  2. Wow…I’m not even sure what to say to that, Jennifer. You made me tear up, not just because you were saying wonderful things about Rough Canvas, but because you said SO well what many of us who write experience. Actually, probably anyone who pursues a dream that may or may not ever be capable of supporting us financially, but which nourishes something inside of us that can’t seem to be satisfied any other way.

    My husband doesn’t read my books and I’ve had moments like those, misinterpreting his inability to understand what I write with a lack of support for it. A few years back, I had that same critical moment, where I thought “I need to stop writing,” and just saying it aloud nearly tore something out of my heart. I realized I genuinely couldn’t, that if I stopped, something vital would just die inside me. Maybe one day I’ll have written the last word I need to write, but that wasn’t that moment. I clearly remember that day, because he held me and made it clear that he understood that my need to write wasn’t in any way a choice of writing over him – it’s simply part of who I am, what I need to do, to be the person I’m meant to be.

    Anyhow, this is a bit more personal than I usually put out there, but you certainly gave us a beautiful part of yourself above, and I just have to say how humbled I am to be part of what inspired this post. And more importantly, I’m deeply flattered that I’ve contributed in some small way to your continued story gifts to your readers. Thank you!!

    • Jen

      I adore you and this is just another reason why. My husband doesn’t read my books either and I, too, misinterpret it as lack of support. To have ;him flat out tell me I needed to keep at it was… amazing. I had no idea that you dealt with too.
      I’m glad I did your work justice.

      • Jen, we write books about relationships and the communication issues that can cause heartache and emotional turmoil, so it’s telling that we both have a personal story that shows firsthand knowledge of the challenges of spouses loving and understanding one another throughout a lifetime. We use what we know ourselves to get deeper into the lives of our characters (smile). Thank you again. I’ve put this post in my forever keeper file!

  3. Laura K

    What a powerful post, Jennifer. So glad to know you didn’t give up writing because you would have deprived me of a great talent.

  4. Pingback: Thirteen Good Things That Have Happened This Week | Redneck Romance Writer

  5. What an incredible story, hon. Please don’t stop writing! ❤ I love reading your books.

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