Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Unexpected, and Where it Leads You

When I got back from Philadelphia two weeks ago, two unexpected things happened.

The first is that an enterprising local poet/graffiti artist had carved the mysterious phrase "8XThief" into the beautiful natural wood of my front door. The second is that, as I was finishing up rescheduling all of the appointments I had missed because my return flight was delayed, I got the news that the Small Business Development Center where I work was asking me to delay those appointments by another five weeks. I, and all of the other business advisors, were being asked to take an unexpected vacation from June 15th through July 20th because the Center's funding had been cut and they simply didn't have the money to pay us.

In both cases, after a moment's exasperation, I went into glass half-full problem-solving mode.

For the door, I tried sanding the phrase out, with the idea that I could simply re-stain the wood. But the gouges proved too deep, so I tried to fill them in with wood putty. Unfortunately, this has only had the effect of making the phrase stand out in stark relief, an effect that will only be exaggerated if I re-stain the door. Ugh. I'm going to have to paint it, and cover up the wood.

Then, I start laughing. When I first bought the house, I wanted a red door. But it seemed sad to cover the pretty natural wood of the door. Now, I could paint the door red! I'll have to sand and tape and prime and paint - it'll be a heck of a lot of work, but I'll get my red door.

Now, for that other surprise. I re-scheduled my appointments and made sure that the clients who would need help while I was out were taken care of. I only work part time at the Small Business Development Center, advising other creative entrepreneurs, so it wasn't a huge financial blow. But I do spend a lot of time at it, answering e-mails, scheduling, researching for clients, meeting with clients, and doing data entry. It takes a lot of time and energy, and frankly, my own business has been suffering. I had mixed feelings - happy because I'd get to work on my own business and sad because, well, sad because the external motivation is gone. No clients clamoring for my help or thanking me.

But the last week and a half, I've had lots of time in the studio. I've gotten back in the rhythm of artmaking almost every day, back into working on my book . . . heck, I'm even working on some new tutorials for the blog. And I'm loving it.

And I almost have to laugh out loud. I'm getting to paint, to make art all day, to think about what it means to be creative, to come up with new class ideas. I'm getting to do what I've always wanted to do - I'm getting to be a full time artist. It's a lot of work, it's a huge risk, and it's totally terrifying. When the chance for the job came along, I took it because it looked interesting, challenging, a good learning experience, and yes, it was a safety net of sorts.

Just like the front door.

And now I'm wondering if I want to go back.


SisterDG said...

First, ACK.

And then, this post is hugely inspiring. Seems like nearly everyone I know is dealing with roiling changes right now. I love your perspective here.

And I hope those damn kids stay off your lawn in future... :-)

gl. said...

i can't believe they did that to your door. even if you make it turn out well, it's still horrifying. :( i'm pleased you are handling the sba setback with aplomb, though. make the most of it!

Alea Bone said...

You sound so pumped up and positive! Your perspective is helping me to see the brighter side to my situation as well. Why waste time complaining when we have so much to be thankful for, so much to gain! Every day, every thing is an opportunity. . .seize it!

Molly said...

Love the door story! Way to turn lemons into lemonade!


Jaime Lyerly said...

This is very inspirational. I love the fact that you call living your (and my own) dream of being a full time artist as "...a lot of work, it's a huge risk, and it's totally terrifying."

Thank you,