At 3 A.M. this morning, I wasn’t asleep ‘cause why would that be the case, my new desk up and decided to shatter. With a cacophonous tearing roar, the poor thing ripped itself in half, lengthwise. It was very much as I would imagine sea floor spreading at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean occurs. In that respect, it was kind of cool. In every other aspect, it just pissed me off. So, if I’m less than chirper today, let’s keep in mind my now useless piece of furniture and the function it normally plays in my daily life.
If there is a silver lining to such an odd event, it has to be that I spent the last week thinking I was drawing too much and writing too little. Nothing like a bedroom studio in utter disarray and broken stuff to slow down my drawing production… But seriously, I did put a lot of thought into the amount of time I spend drawing verses writing and the rewards I receive, mostly of the creative and moral kind rather than financial, for doing both. Then, because I’m a type A person with a thing for detail and precision, I collected data about how much time I spent drawing and writing along with a running tally of what I produced via writing and drawing. Then I made pie charts and bar graphs if only to have stark, visual aids to clearly present all the accumulated data to my ever skeptical brain.
All in all, it was pretty brutal stuff. I’m pretty sure if every artist did this, the world would quickly find itself devoid of anyone stupid enough to call them self an artist. When you suck the fun out of it and just look at things in terms of numbers, making art is always an ugly affair.
What I came away with was confirmation of my growing disenchantment with putting the bulk of my time and energy into the visual arts. The last decade was all about about sitting and drawing. I got some very lovely books out of that time, but I think I pushed it as far as I could. In the balance of time spent working versus time spent doing whatever, I did everything possible to make drawing the primary function of my conscious life. I have no regrets but I think on some level, I just got bored. I’m sure had I been showered with truckloads of money, I would have found a way to keep going and not been bored, perhaps by installing a fountain next to my desk that spewed ambrosia all day long and was maintained by a team of albino monkeys in tiny, bib overalls and little white caps…
This decade is about something new. And the biggest newness is a major shifting of the balance from drawing to everything else in life. Of course, since that is the biggest and therefore the most important change to be made, it turns out to be hard as hell. Honestly, it’s not going well. Hence me collecting data, tabulating numbers and making charts.
It turns out I still spend 75% of my creative time messing around with the visual arts. I think you can do can do the math to figure out how much time I devote to writing. Now, that would be fine if I was landing contracts with the novels or watching things like Hop Hazard Love fly off the online shelves; but as we know, for underground authors like myself, everything moves slow. If I want to be a kickass writer, I need to flip those numbers. At this point in time, given what I know about making books, my future has more words in it than pictures. The trick, it seems, is to align my working brain with that notion. ‘Cause here’s the kicker, that 75% of time spent mucking about with paint or drawing this or that usually leads to a lovely new piece of paper ready for the recycling bin or a wondrous piece of art that has no where to go but into a box and stuck on a shelf because I learned a long time ago that I’m not a huckster, gallery artist shelling meaningless drivel into a world already full of shallow, empty crap.
So… the self destroyed desk, a sign? Am I reading too much into this or has the Universe sent me the clearest message possible? And on the very day I stumbled upon this quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald:
I hope you live a life you are proud of. If you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
The sun is about to rise around here… Jersey City is so much prettier at night, or only pretty at night… I’m exhausted and miserable. If ever there was a day to start this mess over, this might be it. Fingers crossed, everybody.