I’m pouting right now. Pouting and listening to Tori Amos on repeat. A literary life is not putting food in my belly or going to keep my lights on. And I’m pulling a first-class fit about doing anything but writing. I put gas in my car with the last bit of writing money I’ve made this month. With no billable hours or stories purchased recently or coming up in the foreseeable future, I’m not sure when the next check will come in. Why gas? So I can play taxi cab driver for my children. Yes, the children. That’s why there’s so much angst over no work. My children didn’t choose this starving-artist existence. Although, my family could have objected to me leaving the proverbial rat race; but, they didn’t. They all said they supported my dreams. Without that support I couldn’t even have come this far. But right now it feels very much like an obscene phone call of a failure. All heavy breathing, no climax.
I’m trying; however, to focus on the positive. For instance, there have been high spots this week, too. A story that came out of no where and is some of the most intense writing I’ve done in a long time poured forth from me this week. I blame the financial suffering and the threat to the muse that a gerbil-wheel cubicle is in my future again very soon. Also, an unnamed benefactor sent me an Amazon Gift Card after I posted on my facebook (you may pause here and go friend me) to purchase David Madden’s “Revising Fiction: A Handbook for Writers.” I used to own the book, lent it out many moons ago to whom I forget, and it was not returned. I ordered it and it arrived uber fast (Thank you Powell’s Books). Other indescribable, yet positive things happened as well, like: I spent a wonderful brisk morning on the banks of the river practicing Yoga with my canine companion, QimYuki, by my side, and reached my toes for the first time in many years (this is a huge accomplishment for someone with degenerative spine disease and two back surgeries already under my vertebrae).
Then someone turned me on to the blog Unicorns for Socialism. Alexandra Franzen’s post “Money Amplifies Your Art,” hit me hard. I so believe in these sentiments. Many will think – including my spouse who is under great pressure right now because the scales of income-producing are tipped unjustly on his shoulders right now – that these sentiments won’t pay the mortgage. The power however is in the faith that these beliefs are true. That pouring tenfold into my art will produce the compensation I need for my family and me to survive.
That unexpected story I wrote yesterday is powerful and moving – so much so I had to step away from it last night for a little while because it was so emotional. I say this not to be cocky and boastful; but, because when you’ve written something you instinctively know is empowering and shakes your being – you just do. Powerful and Moving are two other themes that appeared this week, just when I needed it as well. Also as Mr. Vastano puts it, having a day job is just a trade. It doesn’t have to define or be the only thing I (or you) do. I don’t’ know yet if circumstances will make me have to bar tend, wait tables, or do other myriad of non-artistic endeavors. Regardless, it comes down to balance. Life has moments where there is sheer elation and others where all you can do is pout and mope. The key is to spend as much time in between them so Unicorns, Dead Rock Stars, and reaching the sun in salutation while maintaining your ground at your toes, is all doable.
What message did the universe send you this week?