Amanda Palmer and I are around the same age, okay so I’m a FEW years older than she is… Not my point. She wrote this blog post about what she thought success was when she was 11. Like so many things that she has written over the years it made me think about what I thought success was when I was 11.
Art wasn’t even on my radar.
I was a geeky kid, my nose stuck in books, a pen in hand and did well in school. I’ll be honest with you, I thought I’d be a scientist working in some lab doing research of some important nature. This idea made my parents very happy. My only goal was to not live in DownEast Maine. In my 11 year old head scientists lived in Boston or New York, or some big distant city. Also, in my head I never worried about money, somehow I thought scientists made lots of money.
I remember in high school my friend asked me, “What do you want to do when you get old, you know study in college, and do for the rest of your life?” I remember that the phrase “the rest of your life” struck fear in my mind and I drew a blank. I realized that though I loved science, I really didn’t want to do it for the REST OF MY LIFE.* I blurted out “art” because it was truly the only thing that through the course of my life I’d been good at and enjoyed. I could see myself doing art everyday and not getting bored. After hastily blurting out art, I added “or write, I like writing.” Even then my only goal was really to go away to college and get out of DownEast Maine.
At that point in my life that’s all I wanted and felt I needed to be successful.
So I went away to college got my degree and… Returned to teach.
When I look back that was probably the most unsuccessful I’ve ever felt in my life. I returned to the place I’d worked so hard to leave, for a job. After that I told myself I’d never go someplace I hated for a job. So over the years I’ve worked a variety of jobs that have little to do with what I deem I need to do to be successful in what I ultimately really want to do with my life- art. I’ve pursued them for health insurance, rent, and an assortment of other things. In some cases I’ve taken jobs to make ends meet and cover expenses that art just doesn’t, yet.
So I’ve set myself a new goal, to not have a DayJob after the next year passes. I want to make ends meet through art. I know it will be hard but I think that if I “put my weight into it” I can make it happen.
*Being a comic book geek the McFarlane Venom series of Spiderman comics comes to mind, there is a series of drawings in which the sound of the church bells signify spiderman’s decent into madness with the venom parasite. There are entire panels and pages of doom doom written over and over. That’s what went through my head. doom doom doom dooooooom dooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmm