Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Quiet Revolution

There comes a time when you realize that life, as you know it, can’t go on as it is. What does that mean exactly? It means that something has to change — either the situation that you find yourself facing or your attitude towards the situation. It’s time to act, to revolt.

So this is the beginning of my quiet revolution …

I need to start by writing down my goals. As an artist working in multiple disciplines, I have many goals. Publish a novel. Publish a collection of short stories. Mount a solo exposition of my artwork. Participate in a group exposition. Write and record an album. When these goals stay locked inside my head there tends to be more confusion. A letter from an editor announcing my short story has been accepted for publication (a letter I received last week) anchors me, in the short-term, more to my writing. My painting and music projects quickly fall to the wayside, and I lose track of where I’d like to go with those endeavours. I need the discipline to write down my goals so I can break them down into their component parts, set small doable tasks to advance each of them, step by step.

At thirty-seven, I had hoped to be further along in my creative career. There have been detours, moments when I lacked self-confidence, doubted my talent, feared the possibility of success. It’s easy to compare yourself to others — see how successful they are — and then wade in self-pity. I may not have a Giller or Man Booker Prize, or a Sobey Art Award, but I have been successful, earning more than a dozen publication credits, selling my paintings, and participating in group and solo exhibitions. I’m moving, at my own pace, on my own time, slowly but confidently in the direction of my dreams.

Writing down my goals is where I need to start. But I must do more. I’m also limiting my time spent online. While I see the usefulness of such social media tools as Facebook and Twitter, they have the power to dominate; and when I’m already struggling to find time to create outside of my day job, can I really afford to voluntarily give myself over to the Internet? No, I cannot. I’m also going to give myself time to rest. In the past I have gone full tilt, working on my art all the time when I wasn’t at my day job. Is it any wonder why, for the last few months, I’ve been in creative limbo and unable to traverse this creative weather? Not at all. So I’m taking more time for me, too, and for my friends and the people I love. I’m also returning to another love of mine: cooking. I’m making a commitment to, at least once a week, prepare a succulent gourmet meal.

Anything that I want to do, for me to “become what I might be again” is all up to me. So here I take a stand in defense of my dreams, in defense of who I am and where I’m hoping to go. I remind myself that the art of living must be our ability — yours and mine — to make all things impossible possible.

Today I will keep on keeping on.

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