Only children actually want to be artists — children, rich people, and boring people who are afraid of being exposed as boring people. Most of us grow up, and either learn that we aren’t interested/talented/crazy, and we move on because we are intelligent/responsible/hungry. The rest of us are either rich people/children/boring or reluctant artists. When I was a kid, I didn’t want to be an artist, I wanted to be an astronaut. And I often blame my mom for my not becoming one. She refused to send me away to Space Camp. But really, I was never going to be an astronaut. She knew from the start what I was.
Artist is a nebulous term that I don’t have a definition for exactly, but so far as I understand, here are some of the symptoms:
1 – Interested in everything, generally, and nothing specifically.
2 – Feel like you might die in a 9-5.
3 – homework?
4 – can only commit fully to your own projects.
5 – mostly only interested in your own ideas.
6 – have a burning unyielding desire to make stuff constantly – it doesn’t even matter what.
7 – an inability to find work day tasks important.
8 – A weird mental misfire that prevents the brain from associating survival with a paycheck.
I know some people who self define as “non-creative” – which completely blows my mind, btw – and I find myself wishing I was more like them. These people are doing such awesome things in business and science. They know real things and are doing real stuff. They have RRSP‘s, vacation pay, savings, a car, are getting married, and having really cute squishy babies. I know that many people become artists because they are afraid of these things, but that’s just it, for some people, it’s a choice. When I go to sleep at night I imagine myself as a scientist, a business mogul, or a coffee shop owner. When I wake up in the morning, I’m still an artist.
I’ve been complaining a lot lately about bills and being an artist who has to job hunt. I’ve been ranting about why the hell one would ever require such a thing as a Dental Office Assistant Certificate to answer phones at a dentist’s office. Everyone, it seems, wants impossible combinations and amounts of experience for jobs that I imagine anyone could do at any time, with any amount of preparation. It’s really made me angry and bitter about the whole thing. I feel entitled, for some shiza reason, to get any job I want simply because I need one and I am capable.
This realization has lead me to discover that I feel entitled to a great many things:
1 – sidewalk superiority as I am a fast walker.
2 – gluten-free everything.
3 – people who forget my name after two introductions should be disallowed from going to the same parties as me.
4 – size 10 shoes in vintage stores.
5 – the authority to tell the bus driver that he/she needs to be a more aggressive driver if I am going to get anywhere on time.
6 – a book deal without having finished my book.
7 – understanding and acceptance from everyone, despite my disinterest in explaining myself.
In short, I’ve been transforming into a pile of garbage and, if that isn’t bad enough, I’m in the habit of amusing myself with my witty/angry/smart-ass inner dialogue.
The other day, while out to coffee with my good friends, Marlaina, Chris, and Steve, I found myself scolding my fellow writing friend for his Debbie Downer POV. He claimed — just as I have — that sometimes, things don’t work out. Sometimes, you write a book — as he has — (Who Killed Mom), and everyone loves it — as I did — and still you sing for your supper. He says, that’s reality. He’s angry about it and I suppose he has a right to be. It’s hardly fair. But, I guess one has to expect these things if you were unfortunate enough to be born an artist. He has had the success in life to be a professional writer and radio/tv personality and that is a huge deal. We are all proud of him and I know that isn’t enough, but I really wish it was.
This conversation brought my recently-acquired bad attitude to light. I have been turning my nose up at the world and the way it works as if I’m above it in some way. I mean, get a grip! Some people really want to be dental office receptionists, grocery store clerks and servers. They should get those jobs. I want to write my book and here I am, in school with a thesis to write, on all of the student loans, and unemployed, so I should just write a book. As my dad would say, boo frickin’ hoo. So what if most artists don’t have money and we can rarely hold down a job and our future is a great big question mark? I guess we just have to accept it. You can only be what you are. If you are lucky enough to have figured out that much, you are already very successful.
What’s more, I love writing and dreaming and creating so much I could cry on the spot. So I give up – I’m here to stay – no more complaining. Sorry and thank you all for entertaining my inner Negative Nancy.