I turned my back on making for a few reasons. At the time these reasons seemed pretty logical, reasonable and even a tiny bit positive. Now I am realising I am TOTALLY lost without my next-level-doodles and ‘abstract paintings’, and I miss my hands being covered in an unusual mix of acrylic, glue and inkjet; my eyes aching from film-editing on the world’s brightest screen.
The main reason that spurred all other reasoning was this: I thought I had to choose.
I experienced a whirlwind of events, emotions and self discoveries after leaving Uni. I got a job, loved my job, hated my job, left my job, became unemployed, became self employed, became employed part time, figured out what I didn’t want to do, figured out what I wanted to do, figured out I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, figured out how to do what I wanted to do, ended up here.
In amongst all that uncertainty was the strange idea that there was always going to be a sacrifice. I decided with illogical certainty that in order to do something well, it must be the only thing that I do, EVER. I wanted to be an artist and I wanted to be a writer. Fearful of doing half a job and fearing I’d never have enough energy to pursue both desires to a successful end, I made my choice.
WRITING. WRITING IS THE WAY FOR ME.
Don’t get me wrong, if I had to make that choice again I would still pick writing. It helps me in lots of ways and I’d be more lost without it than I am lost without making. But the point is that no choice is actually necessary. After all, I’m making a living from two different jobs, I enjoy more than one hobby, I have more than one favourite colour and I can play more than one song on piano, right? Liking Blue and Purple doesn’t make me like either colour any less.
I think the decision lay in the fact that it all came down to money. By ‘successful end’ I meant which is likely to get me the most income. And in that, I have come so close to killing what I love it’s pretty shameful.
I recently decided to take money totally out of the equation. If it comes along it’s a bonus, but the fact that I am able to support myself whilst pursuing what I love is enough for me for now. In that realisation I have discovered more – that without practicing as an artist, making paintings or exploring languages and emotions that mean nothing to any one other than me (and that’s why I chose writing), my writing is totally uninspired and boring. Writing is an effort and a burden in a way that it never has been before, and what’s ridiculous is that I already knew this would happen. I wrote in a post months ago that, for me, as an artist (be it writer or maker) my writing informs my making and my making feeds my writing – why did I give it up?
Without exercising my practical, creative desire, it is so much harder to engage my writing.
The reality is probably laziness, mixed with a little bit of fear. Chucking everything at something for it to probably not work out takes mammoth effort – emotionally, mentally and physically… but it’s not enough of a reason to not try any more. The unknown, though I may fear it, has got me this far, and the half job/no time compromise is ridiculous. If you want something deeply and truly enough, there will always be a way to make it happen. In this case, there will always be time.
I can’t wait for my working days to involve rolled up sleeves, dirty hands and the baffling reality of finding paint everywhere.