Tuesday, April 15, 2008
No longer on the 'wish list'
I've mentioned before that I met my future DH in Madagascar but not that neither one of us was supposed to be there that year. Mark was due to go to Australia but had problems getting a visa on time so Madagascar was booked at the last minute, and me, I was supposed to go the year before.
I used to be a battery hen, in an office with grubby windows overlooking a graveyard in the City. I worked with six other battery hens whose behaviour was so bad I've often thought about how many blog posts I could get out of it but it's it would seem so outrageous I doubt anyone would believe me. I had a couple of office jobs previously where the office politics was almost as bad so I stayed in that miserable job for 5 interminable years, wishing to leave but not doing anything about it because I thought all office environments were probably as bad, 'better the devil you know' and all that. But one of those pecking hens, who disliked me intensely for being someone she was not, went too far with her nasty little games and I knew I had to leave to preserve what was left of my sanity. I cancelled my holiday to Madagascar that year (travel was my escape) and left. I found a job in leafy Belgrave Square working on my own that suited me down to the ground and with a lovely bunch of people who restored my faith in humanity and I re-booked the holiday, one year later.
The moral of the story is, of course, that sometimes when things hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up even though it's hard to believe it or see that at the time. As you get older and it happens again and again, you find comfort in the fact that nothing stays the same, everything has to change, good and bad. I'm now very much 'on the up' and I forced myself to look at my art and what I was and wasn't doing with brutal honesty. In the process I ordered a couple of books from Amazon. I need cold hard reality, facts, names, addresses and I needed a plan - not arty quotes, morning pages and the fluffy bunny nonsense that only makes the authors rich! I put a couple of books in the 'basket', had a browse and then I came across this book, the comments looked promising, and threw it in just for the heck of it! Long story short - I know we are all different and we all get inspired by different things but...why on earth doesn't every artist have or at least know of this book?! I had a vague idea of what I needed to do but within a day of getting this book I have a plan. I had been wishing to do a certain thing for years but something held me back, and now I know I had the misgivings for good reason. I had listened to too much advice over the years from the fluffy bunnies. The really strange thing is, I set myself one particular goal and gave myself until September and within a week - a week! - I have been contacted out of the blue by two different people about similar things and I'll realise one goal in a couple of weeks time! I'm focussing short term on getting my work 'out there' but long term I have some more ambitious plans and I rang my brother to tell him and - lo and behold!- he has some contacts and ideas! Fate works in very strange ways sometimes!
Carol Lloyd has a website where you can take a 'sneek peak' at the book here. I thought the many interviews throughout the book with other artists would be a filler but even they are very revealing and thought provoking. There is a chapter on 'Your Artistic Profile' and I'm absolutely amazed to find myself there - not the person I would like to be, not the person I aspire to be, but the person I really am! I wouldn't have believed there was another person on the planet let alone a profile! In fact there are two profiles as I fit another in terms of goals - both I find amusing but at the same time to see it confirmed means you stop worrying, accept it and then get on with more important things. Very few artists can support themselves on sales alone and there is an excellent chapter on 'day jobs' and how they may or may not be beneficial to an artist - my job as a battery hen would come under the heading of 'No Contest', not surprisingly. Throughout the book, you are always thinking for yourself, it's not a book that doles out unrealistic feelgood advice, it's much more about how to use your own head and apply it to your own situation. All I can say is, it's certainly working for me!