how not to make a living of any sort
I am so pleased to say that I’ve found it: the thing that gives me such great joy!
And its name is Art.
It’s the pleasure in painting, photography, sketching, image making, the imagining of futures and so much that I am yet to discover that I can do.
And all it took to find it, was a few recent chance encounters with artistic types, as well as some plentiful soul searching, meditation, and a whole lot of do nothing.
And try not to listen to any of the usual noise about accomplishment on planet earth, what mother wants you to do, what the well-to-do neighbor is doing but you are not, plus a laundry list of media microaggressions cloaked as perfect suggestions on how to live well in 5 ways, how to deliver wonderful stuff in 10 days, how to be the best whomever in consistent measure, and most importantly how to absolutely know that you haven’t measured up (as yet) to all those who are doing so very well for themselves. Or so it seems.
It’s a racket out there, a veritable one. And if you do not find a moment or two to be still—just wait and see, while you delve into your own messed-up glory, you will for sure become a pale imitation of somebody else.
This is even if you do become a whole lot richer than you are right now. Because, for sure, you would be much poorer in spirit and the assurance that making your own way, means exactly that.
Making your own way, is about this: not knowing what you are doing half the time; wondering how you got yourself into a muddle that no one else seems to have gleefully gotten themselves into; struggling to wake up (each day) with a bounce; and yet still, finding yourself feeling somewhat grateful to be alive so you can turn this day into the one that is different from all the rest—into the day that is better than all those in the past, because it is truer to who is the you that you still haven’t uncovered as yet.
In my case, I’ve spent over thirty years living someone else’s (good) life, which I unwittingly created by and for myself.
But now, after three years of stop, and do nothing of real consequence—while fretting endlessly about the unproductive obscurity that I was fast falling into, I’ve simply tumbled into a glorious Art Speak wonderland, found at the very bottom of a deep-and-dark descent through a rabid hold onto the very little sanity that I have left.
And here, I am learning many new things about my (painterly) self in this grand design that’s now seated at the right hand of a global pandemic.
Of course, I am still very uncertain that I will explode into ‘well-deserved’ success, after the prescribed 10,000 hours of art-practice meets some unimagined opportunity, and all that equals “good luck” jazz.
And that’s okay, since I cherish every moment of this unknown and vastly unexpected trajectory.
It gives me such immense joy, so much so that I now often have to remind myself that poverty is still trying to get into my non-productive door, plus what would the world and its dog think of me, in such a state of material dishevel—one in which I am recklessly dancing in the reign of no-decent-job in sight and certainly not producing anything of material use to anyone.
But then again, what use are flowers? Do you know?
And why in the artistic hell might I care, as I paint another stroke of this beautiful life now lived in pure incantation of my own sheer song.