When I sit back and think about the thing that I do, the work thing, my reason for waking up early, that thing that gives me a sense of purpose and drive, I feel fortunate that I can live a life that allows me to explore creatively. My CV is chalk full of stints as a waitress, a retail girl, admin lacky and the like. Nothing wrong at all with these rolls, just not the things I use to identify myself. Slinging pizzas or selling designer goods from the Conran Shop, all of these things add to the experience of a life of working hard to achieve goals that are purposely set so high I have to get on my tippy toes and stretch to reach them.
But, at the end of the day, I can tap into that thing that I love to do: create.
I do sometimes get hung up on the fact that I am not further along my career. If I think of my age and what I haven’t accomplished by now, it does make my shoulders sag and I think I should be doing much better than this.
But you know, all of that is rubbish.
Recently, I was given a very useful map created by Jo Roberts. She did not personally lay this thing into my hands; it was a gift from a friend. So hey friend, thanks for the inspiration. The map is from an exhibition Jo had in Leamington Spa, exhibition title “Finding a way through: Jo Roberts personal journey for fellow travellers”. The map is printed on a very tactile, linen finish surface and opens up into a glorious illustration of what I would describe as a geological cross section of rock/mountain/hill. The key shows that each layer is a layer of life, of something that has happened, falts that occurred and caused growth/change/a leap forward. It is interesting to look at the timeline below the cross section and see the key events that happened in this artist’s life. There are set backs, she didn’t travel from A to B to C in any sort of ‘normal’ projection, but took what life gave and rocked on in her own little path.
The thing is, I’ve really been tripping myself up with issues of Best Practice. What to do. How to do it. What is the best way forward? Have I already messed up somehow, not quite starting on the right foot, deviating too much with the left.
I have had the good fortune to befriend some very wonderful and talented artists in Edinburgh. This week I had a chance to sit and chat with a couple of them, discussing their current work, their current plan and rehashing the past a bit. And the thing is this: there is no best way of doing this thing called being a free lance artist. It’s obvious, I know. I think I just suddenly realised I had been wasting far too much brain space on worrying about the best way, the best practice, and worrying that I had somehow missed my chance to do things the right way.
Cassandra. There is no right way.
So. I shall forgive myself this minor infraction. I shall move forward with what I think is a tip top plan. I shall diversify as I had previously thought, talked myself out of, then thought about again.
I best practice on being me, then. It’s the only way forward.