Songs for the Struggling Artist

“Do you ever think about doing something else?”
June 16, 2014, 10:06 pm
Filed under: art, Creative Process, dreams | Tags: , , ,

Every so often, when talking with someone about the realities of my life, they will ask me this question: “Do you ever think about doing something else?” (Usually asked with a sense of concern, like, “Have you had that mole looked at?” )
My answer? “Constantly.”

I recognize that how I run my life is not sustainable and every day I’m trying to find a way around it. I think, “What else could I do? Is there a job or vocation that I could pursue that would actually pay me a living wage and give me some job satisfaction?” I think, “What could I have done differently before? What should I have studied instead of theatre? What other job could I have had?”

But, there is never a good answer to any of these questions, particularly the ones about the past as there is now nothing to be done about them. But so, too, are the questions about what else I could do now. In trying to find a way around my current circumstances, I expend valuable attention to circumnavigation, to what ifs, to an alternate reality. Thinking about what other options there could be means I have less attention for making the path I’m actually on a little easier.

I’m trying to train myself not to wonder what else I could do and instead, whenever I think that, do something to make what I actually do more productive. Rather than fantasizing about a life where I didn’t choose to make art, I try and think about how I can make art work better for me.

It is an extremely challenging practice, I will confess. It feels as if the world is always asking, “Do you ever think about doing something else?” and every time it does, I run down the options again and every time the path leads back to where I’m standing right now in this moment.

The practice, it would seem, is not to think about doing something else but to think about the path that is directly before us.



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