mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF art & artsy-fartsy


I'm sick of August whining so I've declared it post-Labor Day September. Time for another look at the Grand Plan.

Resource: "Creating the Work You Love" by Rick Jarow. He's a PhD in the History of Religion but uses the "wisdom of the ages" to help people organize their thinking around careers. I originally listened to his tapes ("The Ultimate Anti-Career Guide"), when I was leaving the Institution and found him both inspirational and practical.

Resource: "Mad In Pursuit." Yes, my journal has some purpose beyond boring my readers. It's my trail of breadcrumbs. It answers the question "What the hell have you been doing with yourself?"

The question: Do work-for-hire? Be an artist? Dabble and just have fun doing what I want to do?

The answer: I'm too young to be a dabbler — still need to make a contribution to the world. But the longer I'm on my own, the more lukewarm I am about doing other people's work. While I love creating new logos and Brand Me web pages, my self-promotion has been half-hearted. So that leaves artist. My work with Joanne P over the last few weeks has felt like a collaboration, not like work-for-hire. That was good.

What does it mean to be an artist?

My writing isn't literary. My drawing and design skills are inconsistent — mostly utilitarian, with occasional flashes of art school proficiency and occasional plummets into terrible.

Technical proficiency is important, but I believe that being an artist requires finding the truth beneath the superficial, developing a strong point of view, risking disapproval, challenging what's expected, and using your emotions as well as your hands. Rip the scabs off, but still produce. Style plus courage.

Search for passion. Jarow asks you to review the past year. Ask yourself: "Who are the gods who have been calling me this year? What are the energies that have been calling me?"

Obsessively I reviewed and analyzed my 2006 journal entries. I made a 52-week timeline and charted my passions. Ugh. The results were depressing. Thin, very thin. Lots of home improvement energy — artsy, important, but not really Art. Lots of skill-building in graphics software — but unless I push myself, I run the risk of dabblerhood, doing tutorials like other people do crossword puzzles. Radio/sound work was my most sustained passion.



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