Saturday, July 9, 2011

We should be careful...

"...we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind   
While there is still time." 

"I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go."

~Theodore Roethke, from "The Waking"

So many photos from (mainly) one evening about a week ago....In the winter I dream of such evenings and imagine them to be plentiful.  But really, our summer is so short and the weather so unpredictable, and currently, the mosquitos are so ravenous, and the rain and wind so inhospitable, that they really are truly rare.

Yesterday was my last day at my part-time, 2 day a week job.  It was time for a change, re: Rilke's "You must change your life" imperative.  So now I have the summer to focus on my writing, although mid-August I'll likely be going mad looking for something to do in September.  But for now, yes, it's summer, and if it ever warms up out there, I'll be sitting in my backyard with my notebooks and books a fair bit.  To me this is crazy decadent, and even fiscally irresponsible.  But it's also one of the weird perks of the artistic/artist/writer life.  We get to abandon society etc and become hermits from time to time.  I mean most of the time Rob is working from 5:30 or 6:00 every morning until 3:00 in the afternoon.  By my count that's 9 hours. He will often paint for another hour or two after taking a break to walk the dog. In the evenings he spends time sketching and planning his works.  He works mornings on the weekends though usually takes the afternoons off. He's been known to work on holidays and has sometimes even painted for a few hours on Christmas day.  And this schedule is much slacker than it used to be.  Our work is odd though, and most people don't even see it as work.  I, for example, spend a lot of time looking out the window.  Reading books, daydreaming, scribbling in a notebook.  This is part of the work.

I feel like quitting this job was a big, though small move.  An inching forward.  There are no rules in how to live as an artist.  You're constantly making things up.  What is the path?  It's not clearly marked.  Most of my decisions have to do with how to best feed my art, my writing.  And at the same time maintain our family, keep our heads above water.  People who are not artist types try to understand how/why we live like this.  Money isn't everything, they will often say, and I agree.  But it is something, too.  There's the famous line by Oscar Wilde, "When bankers get together they talk about art. When artists get together, they talk about money." 

And that's so true.  While a great deal of my summer will be spent thinking about my novel and other projects, the rest of my brain will be occupied with figuring out how to get my life in balance again.  Trying to figure out how to balance the family needs with my creative needs, with my need to earn some moola.

"Your real duty is to go away from the community to find your bliss."

~Joseph Campbell

"You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path.  Where there is a way or path, it is someone else's path.  You are not on your own path.  If you follow someone else's way, you are not going to realize your potential."

~ Joseph Campbell

From The Drowned Book:

"Sometimes it's right to dig around a tree and transplant it somewhere else.  Sufis advise, Go where people cannot help but fall in love with you."

From Coleman Bark's commentary on the text:

"If life troubles dry you out.....I take this to mean if situations you live through reduce the charge of your current, the juicy verve of responsive awareness, then you should consider those as dangerous to your soul."  

Does any of this make sense?  I suppose I have a deep regard for my writer-soul.  Which I suppose is a kind of ego, a kind of selfishness.  When in the 13th century Bahauddin speaks about "life troubles" I expect he meant something more intense than being worn out by the situation that is a retail job.  Maybe I have read too much Joseph Campbell.

"I find working for money to be the wasteland - doing something that somebody else wants instead of the thing that is my next step.  I have been guided all along by a strong revulsion from any sort of action that does not correspond to the impulse of my own wish."  In the Campbell book I have, this quotation is juxtaposed with one from Joyce, spoken by Stephen Dedalus:  "I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church...And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake, and perhaps as long as eternity too."

But maybe it's only fictional characters who can voice such things, though Joyce must have felt the same.

1 comment:

  1. Goodness, if I had time, I could easily become a very regular visitor and reader here at Calm Things. But now I know I must visit with much more regularity ... for the sheer enjoyment.


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