Tag: writer

feeling like an artist again

This weekend we had an event at the studio.  My business sign went back up and we compensated for the fact that the studio is still in the chaos of change by putting up a tent and selling our wares from the front yard.  This involved both my art, and the art of my roommates – check out their work at Neko-Jin Designs and The Common Shaman.   (Their work is on the right and I can attest to the quality.  The jewelry is powerfully lovely and those pillows are freaking huggable.)

The experience has left me exhausted and in a lot of pain, but for the first time in ages I feel anchored in what I do – I am a maker to my core.  During the first day, Friday, I was able to make 60 wee watercolors and pen and inks. Although, insomnia did help with that glut of drawings.  Yesterday, I made about five slightly larger pen and inks.  Today, I was a poet.

Sitting in the sun with nothing to do other than create and sell art was a joy.

A lot of locals came by, pleased that I am not either dead or moved out of the area.  It let me know how far I have hunkered down during this past two years.  Oh, but the change in my circumstances brings up such optimism.  Life has gotten better.

This time in 2015, I could not move my left arm much at all, I could not throw, I lost nearly all my income for the full year. Surgery on the shoulder in October 2015, then a hysterectomy in February 2016.  But by June of that year, things began to change.

Even now, I am still struggling – my hips need to be replaced, I am in a cauldron of pain – and yet, I am still making art.  Somehow, I have survived all of the crap that came my way.  Even heartbroken, I made art.  Even when I can barely walk,  I am making and selling art.  I am working as hard as I can to keep my house and have been grounding myself in faith that I can do it.  There have been days that I had to dig deeper within for strength than I thought I went, but it worked!

I continue forward with both my regular job and the art that is my vocation.   The first has not dented my passion for the second.

I am so grateful for the friends who saw me through this weekend.  Perhaps I have been whining too much in these blogs, because what I should be shouting from the rooftops is how wonderful life can be when you have friends that have your back.  To be able to rely on people and know that they will be there for me, that is a priceless, beautiful thing.  They set up the tent, set up the products and then tore them down in the evening, three days in a row, all with out a stitch of help from me because I could not move any of those things. What a blessing it is to have people who do not just share your dreams but are willing to put their shoulders into fulfilling them.  This is a case of actions speaking so loudly, all words were drowned out.  Without their kindness, none of this could have been done.

Basically, this is a blog of thanks.  I am grounded in what I do again, which will help all things – the physical struggle, this financial difficulty, my regular job, my art.  If you were here, you would be able to see my smile, hear my loud, outrageous laugh and listen to me sing to my cats about the glories of life.

I have “all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well” tattooed on my arm. Too often, I need the reminder. But, today, I did not read it.  Indeed, I did not even glance at it.  The next few months are going to be very hard, financially and physically, but good friends are teaching me that I can trust in the universe enough to reach out.  I am asking for help and receiving kindness.

This is the miracle of my life.

Because, I am talking about asking for help, I am compelled to say: you can make me $3 closer to being able to sustain myself while I am recuperating from surgery. My end of that deal will be to keep making art, even when I am flat on my ass in bed.

But for now, let not think of what could go wrong.  Instead, let’s sing songs of joy and thanksgiving!

procrastinating from studying…

i am going to be completely honest. i am writing this blog to avoid studying about Profit Planning for a few more minutes. So far, i have used writing three poems and an essay, updating my website, sprucing up some products on my online store, and posting a few things onto social media as distractions. Every animal in the house has been cuddled to the point of annoyance. i even contemplated doing the dishes, before i decided to procrastinate from that by studying.  i sat down with the book.  Within five minutes, i moved into blogging.

As overwhelming as this subject is for me, these pages about pricing and profits have reminded me of a few things: how badly i have been struggling this past year financially (like nearly every other Maine artist i know,) that maybe there is hope – the book itself mentions that often times people run into issues, it takes a long time for new businesses to show a profit, etc., etc..  What is becoming plain is that a lot of my troubles actually have stemmed from pricing.  So far, I have pegged four major sources for my issues with pricing: dyslexia that has caused a vague hostility toward numbers, a general lack of business savvy, the impulse to reward someone who likes my art or wants to take classes with me by cutting deal, and my own case of imposter syndrome (as described by Neil Gaiman.)

A quick aside: Listening to that commencement speech by Mr. Gaiman for the 600th time reminds me of another reason why this chapter and the small business thought process are all so painful to me.  i am an artist.  By that i mean, i am at my best when i am making art and without the ability to make art, i am really not any good to anyone.  Art saves my sanity, soothes my soul and is as necessary to me as air.  There is even a hierarchy to this.  i could live without pottery.  If i had to, i could never sculpt again.  Take away painting and drawing, and my heart will destabilize pretty quickly.  However, if you prohibit me from writing prose and especially poetry, i will maybe manage to maintain my sanity for two weeks.  Maybe. If i’m lucky. Still, art by its very nature cannot be planned like the production of widgets or thingamabobs. Sometimes art tackles you and tears up your schedule, shakes you by the shoulders and demands to be made.  Also, from the perspective of the person buying it: art is a luxury.  It is something that people buy after they have paid for the essentials of food, shelter and clothes.  To many it is as essential to their spiritual health as any meal, but it is good to know that those buying my work are doing more than just a financial transaction, they spend their money on my work because it has meant something to them.

To this point, making art has been the engine driving my life.  Traditional business plans hang over the body of my art like an ill-fitting suit, and yet, as Mr. Gaiman points out, we are in a time of transition in all the arts.  The modes of dissemination are changing.  The methods of payment have altered, as has the meaning of success. Working up some kind of plan to make money at this art i have to make – even if it has to be wildly flexible and inventive –  falling copyis one way i can see myself surviving.

My old business plan sits like a monolith in the chair across the room, holding in its belly all the work i did on this a couple of years ago. All those wonderful projections that worked so well until May of last year. But then, life happened, catastrophes laid me low and changed the rules.

When i think about how hard things are right now, about the bills that are coming due, about the decisions i want to make and all that that i know will stay consistent no matter what choices come, i start to get wildly stressed out and have nightmares.  How will i manifest the changes that i decide are necessary?  If i have made foolish decisions before, that got compounded by forces i could not control or predict, how will i manage to keep from doing the same again?  ANGST.

And, the only real way to deal with such feelings for me is to make art.  So, perhaps, those last ten pages of reading will wait a little bit longer.  i want to soothe my soul with some ink soaring across the page.

 

These words save me

These words save me
over and over,
every moment of every day,
they grab me by my shirt
and pull me up.

When i am not writing,
the act remains a salvation
for i can come back to it
like a lover whose passion
never exhausts itself.

My sanity resides
in the madness of creation,
my purpose dances somewhere
inside the magic
of letters moving together
to make words.

i am so lucky.

i am so grateful –
and as always,
i take these emotions
in my hand
and i pour them out
with ink
like blood
onto the page.

 

From “a seed of wild kindness” – a poetry collection of mine available on amazon.com