Over the years, I’ve tried numerous ways and means to support myself and to create the time and space to pursue my artistic endeavors.
It never works. The balance is never achieved. Work-life takes too much time and energy and by the time I’ve caught up on bills or credit cards, fixed the car a bit, eaten proper food for a while, I can’t stand whatever job it is I’ve put up with for two or three months, sometimes for even a year or two. Imagine.
I have no problem with work ethic, nor sweating profusely and working hard at a job, as labor work will tend to be… laborious. I’ve also put on neckties and worn golf shirts for some jobs too.
I’ve chopped branches off trees in the forest with a pole saw, crawled around in rat-piss-stained cellars, lugged garbage bags around music festival grounds, painted bedrooms and houses, installed windows and sliding doors, built and stained decks, organized fundraising concerts, built and painted sets for theater and the opera, refereed soccer matches, opened and subsequently lost a shit-ton of money on a failed coffee shop (but we had some cool musical acts come through), taken deposits at a credit union, counted and bagged millions of dollars at a grocery chain, helped to produce and film a TV show, edited films and videos, built parts of a spaceship for a sci-fi movie, played a mentally unstable assassin in another, was an extra on numerous sets, set up tents and swept up the mess on others, recorded hundreds of songs, voiced some audiobooks, taken nearly a hundred thousand photos, designed dozens of websites, posters, business cards… And a bunch of other things I can’t remember.
Yay, me! And this month, I wonder how I might pay the rent for the next. But there are always interesting developments afoot.
Up and down, round and round — it’s nothing if not creative! Artistic? Perhaps. I guess the point is that it all counts. But to truly fulfil my deepest creative goals, requires a push from the sacred place behind all the day-to-day activities. It’s easy to bounce around jobs and basic utility, or to get involved in the lives of others I care about, but delving into the passion work is a daunting challenge unto itself. And yet it’s an absolute must.
The more I’ve pretended to put it off or think there will be time once a few bucks are in the bank, the worse my attitude, anxiety, irritation, spending habits, and escapism become. You can’t find any adequate method of coping with that kind of self-imposed suffering. And the idea of “having a base” is not mine, anyway. But the seed was planted, and it grew a big damn weed.
Make the time. Life will cruise by, and excuses are ultimately moot and, well, cowardly. Do it because you have kids, because you have a unique perspective, because it’s hard, because you are terrified of the nakedness and unpredictability of putting it out there…
Everything else is filler. You owe it to yourself, and to the mentor-seeking, inspiration-desperate, motivation-starved searchers and aspirants in your friends, family and strangers… to tap that potential and become another beacon of love and light that this world is screaming for.
(Quotes in the image are from Jacob Nordby’s fantastic book Blessed Are the Weird)