I just started reading Living the Creative Life: Ideas and Inspiration from Working Artists by Rice Freeman-Zachery. Based on the reviews, I thought this would be a great place to start in my quest to become a successful artist. I'm only through the first 30 pages or so, but I have identified with everything I've read so far. I've always known that I am an artist at heart, but pressures from society, among other things, have lead me down the career path I have taken instead. I always said I am not a business woman, although that is what I do for a living. Yes, I can do it, and even be good at it most of the time. But I have no passion for it. I have never woken up in the morning excited to go to the office to see how much I can sell or how much money I can make for the company. I just get through the day waiting for quitting time to roll around so I can head off to ceramics class or home to make a scrapbook page. Never does a day go by without my thinking about how I wish I could be creative for a living. I truly believe that would be the key to my happiness and fulfillment.
So...back to the book. One of the artists interviewed said something like this: "Even if I could make a lot of money doing something else, I wouldn't. That would be like marrying someone you didn't love because he had a lot of money. Not only would that be unethical, it would be cheating your soul". (I can't remember it word for word, and the book is not near me right now so I can't tell you exactly who said it. Let me know if you want details and I'll be happy to get them to you). When I read this, it took my breath away. It made me look back at my whole professional life and think about how and why I got to the place I am today. I really do feel like I have been cheating my soul. It also made me think about a conversation I had with my Dad in his backyard about 15 years ago, after I had just broken up with a guy who was supposed to be the love of my life. He said the most important thing to consider when it comes to choosing a husband is whether he can provide security for me, not whether I love him or not. I guess he was trying to make me feel better, but I remember thinking that I would rather die than spend my life with someone I didn't love just so he could support me. But that's another story.
So now as I am faced with losing my comfortable job at the end of August due to a restructure, my mind has been racing nonstop trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up (which will be in about 2 1/2 months). My mind keeps going back to art, and I know if I don't at least try to make it happen I will regret it for the rest of my life. I believe that being laid off is a sign that I need to move on to something more purposeful; something that will make me truly happy. But how to go about that and not end up living in a cardboard box on the curb is something I have yet to figure out. I will guarantee one thing though...I will be trying my hardest to find an answer. I guess I could always try to find that guy with lots of money and have a loveless marriage just so he can support me...