"I can't keep up! If I get artist's block tomorrow, I'll have enough drafts to last me until I'm 80!", he said jokingly.
But even artists have to eat, so I enquired as to what he might be able to do in Sanctuary terms to bring about a change in his circumstances.
After some reflection, it occurred to him that he was living in a house with some significant others, which was a very long way away from any kind of civilisation.
"Perhaps," he mused, "the time has come for me to move somewhere else. It's very nice but it's very lonely here. Apart from astral visitors, no-one ever comes by."
From his house he could see an ocean, and a small town far across the bay. He had mentioned before that he often sat on the beach at dusk and looked at the coloured lights reflecting off the water.
Apparently, this was an artist's colony he had known was there for a long time and often considered visiting, but had never really gotten around to going there in the end.
We went there together, and it was a really nice place, relaxed, beautifully set into the small cove, charming and as picturesque as you can imagine. All the people were very laid back and waved at him, some came and talked to him and invited him to various beach parties, poetry recitals and exhibitions.
There seemed to be a general air of disrepair about the place which Derek noticed pretty soon.
"Well," said a young woman in a paint-splattered, faded T-Shirt, "The trouble is, none of us have much money and we all buy each other's stuff, or trade, more like. Hardly any outsiders ever come here."
Another artist joined the conversation. "That's a good thing too. I would hate for this town to be spoiled by drunken tourists and all sorts of riff raff. Best to keep this place a secret, really."
Derek said, "I really appreciate their dilemma. I wouldn't want tourists there either, I'm just thinking about moving there and it is certainly a great place to live and work. Tourists would really ruin it."
But how were the artists to find the money if they didn't have anyone to sell their creations to?
Derek thought about this for a long time, and finally he had an idea. "What if, ..." he said, "what if we organised a festival, perhaps two, per year? That would bring visitors to the town, and it could be good fun, too. And for the rest of the year, we'd be able to get on with our stuff in peace."
I suggested he put this to the other artists in the colony. The argued for a while, but everyone came round to the idea, many of them actually becoming very excited about the possibility of finally sharing their work with a greater audience. Others liked the aspect of partying involved in a big festival, and yet others thought it was a great incentive to finish works in progress and get the town cleaned up and repaired.
The festivals in that beachfront town are scheduled to take part around the summer and winter solstice. If you have nothing else to do those days, why don't you drop by and find out what they've come up with?
Bring your friends and children, too!
You can come by sea or air, and Derek's just organised a crew to build a coastal access road to the town.
One can only wonder what will come of this ....
This is an example of a Project Sanctuary "story" - evolving or unfolding a habitat.