Friday, April 11, 2008

Fear Factors

 I had two phone interviews this week which seemed to go pretty well, and one has invited me to interview in person next week.  On the downside, this cuts into my cleaning and packing time a bit, so that means I will have to double my efforts this weekend. I have been doing bits and pieces this week, in between moaning over the last season of BallyK (really, WHAT were they thinking?!?!). My knitting has suffered, and I am still trying to finish the socks for my sister.

My knitting time was also cut into last night because I am not yet able to knit and read at the same time (oh, holy grail...). I got to reading a book called "Creativity for Life" by Eric Maisel, which is just FASCINATING. First of all, anyone who is friends with or involved in any way with someone who identifies as "artistic" should read this book. Let's just say it Explains A Lot. Really.

Second, it makes those of us who "dabble" think hard. In some ways, it was a checklist for me, particularly when he described the personalities of artistic people. Not just like but NEED to be alone a lot? Check. Introverted? Check. Introspective? Check. Ridiculously honest? Check. Prone to depressive episodes? Unfortunately, Check. And I could totally identify with losing yourself in something - when I was quilting a lot, I would get so absorbed in the sewing that I would forget to eat. I would start at noon and suddenly it was 9 pm and the room would be spinning.

So I saw a lot of myself here too, and I found it simultaneously comforting and disturbing. Because it sort of explains a lot about me, and has sent me down an entirely different rabbit hole about the values with which I was raised, and what constitutes "work". Work was something that had to be done to pay bills, and therefore the more money you made the better off you were. Work was not something you enjoyed, it was something to be endured. It was a sacrifice you made to support your family.

So - I love to write. I write all the time (well, when I'm not knitting). I write at work, I write in my journal, I write on this blog. For the past 5 years I have taken one writing class or workshop each year. I don't think I've ever had "writers block" - for me writing is like breathing or brushing my teeth, something I do without really thinking about it. I can't write fiction to save my life, but I revel in the mundane stuff that fills up our days. (Although, I'm not so sure I "lose" myself in writing the way I do when quilting. It definitely feels conscious-altering, but I don't lose time the way I do when sewing).

But. There's a difference between writing and writing well. (There's also a difference between writing and publishing.) And I wonder about what happens when something you love becomes something you have to do for a living. When I was in high school, I was strongly encouraged by my flute teacher to study music in college, but it seemed impractical on the one hand and on the other, I loved playing flute. I was afraid if it became "work" that I would hate it and all the joy I derived from it would go away. Plus I wasn't so sure I was really that good, and the idea of auditioning and the possibility of rejection terrified me in ways that I wouldn't let myself even imagine. I also had a really hard time with a music theory class I took (math in hiding as far as I was concerned), and that really wrecked my understanding of what being a musician was all about. It was like, "Oh crap, just playing the notes isn't enough; there's actually all this OTHER STUFF going on that I really need to comprehend. Damn".

But I wonder about that decision now. I just...wonder.

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