September 11, 2013

The Care & Feeding of Artists, Creatives & Other Non-Conventionals.

Photo: State Library and Archives of Florida.

Are you what is known as a ‘creative’?

Are you an artist, a designer, a writer, a blogger, a musician, a chef, an inventor, a pioneer, an explorer or a healer?

Have you been called (cue deep 50s era movie vocals) to use your creativity to support yourself, either full-time or part-time? Does the real-world expression of your right brained-antics pay the rent and put dinner on the table?

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life,” a speaker said once, at an elementary school career fair. He was quoting somebody more famous.

Since you were knee-high to a grasshopper, you have bravely lived your life by that particular dictum.

You let your freak flag fly proudly.

Where everybody else sees a pile of rocks, you conjure a necklace of polished stone. Where everybody else finds a gutted shack, you envision a beautiful home. Where others find a cornfield, you see a triptych of oil paintings with amber waves of grain—and spaceships. Where some see a scene on the street, you see a story, poem or haiku.

Sometimes, when you’re really lucky, you even be compensated for your endeavors with cash money by somebody whose check doesn’t bounce.

You love what you do, but admit it: sometimes, late at night, between the end of The Colbert Report and sunrise, the meanie comments come creeping in.

You’ve cataloged them well in your creative mind-like-a-steel-trap—the bumps and bruises and scars incurred from friends and acquaintances (and, sometimes yourself), some well-meaning and some not so well-meaning.

“When are you going to get a ‘real’ job?
Well, at least you’re not that busy, like me.
When are you going to have ‘normal’ hours like the rest of us?
Why do you think you’ll be able to succeed?
Like the rest of us?”

Like the rest of us. Who is this infernal ‘us,’ you wonder.

Are the members of ‘us’ twisted, bulbous and derelict, like a Hieronymous Bosch painting? Or, are they healthy and happy and industrious, like a Normal Rockwell? Do they resemble the people sitting in the diner in the dark, like Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks? Are they like the Mona Lisa, smiling guilefully—do they know something you do not? Do they look like the guy in Edvard Munch’s The Scream?

Recalling the quote about the guy doing what he loved from the elementary school career fair, you realize, with terror, that he was a certified public accountant. And he was quoting Donald Trump.

You’d be about as useful as a certified public accountant as Godzilla in a hand-blown glass shop.

But you know that—and knowing is half the battle.

But, hey, wouldn’t that make a really fascinating idea for a glass vase? Godzillas, calculators and abacuses?



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Ed: Catherine Monkman

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