I found this article on creativity in Sunday’s Washington Post:
“The arts call them, which doesn’t always mean it pays them, merely that it takes them to another world. Or grants them communion in this one. ¶ “We can either be artists with a capital A, or we can make art with our lives,” says Patti Digh, author of the book “Creative Is a Verb.” “It’s so beautiful when you’re in the presence of someone who is letting go of outcome and making a strong offer to the world.” ¶ Some would-be artists had inner critics, or third-grade teachers, or father figures who told them to settle down, so they put their creativity away. ¶ The irrepressible ones, who make art like they breathe, never really can.”
I recognize the situation, for this describes me to a T. There have been several times in my life I tried to give up the foolish art and live a normal life. I could dispense with mess, clutter, expenses, disappointment, and wasted time. After my divorce I moved to another state, and let go of all the trappings of artist’s life. I got an ordinary office job, and was determined to move ahead with a new life. Before long I met Myrna, who appointed herself my Jewish mother (“Because everybody needs one, honey!”) Myrna had a yard sale, and I went looking for a few things for my new apartment. I went home with a carload of supplies and furniture from her son’s former art studio. In a few weeks I was working on graphics for a friend, then working for a printer in pre-press.
Art came back to me. It was not going to be left behind! It’s like a positive version of “No matter where you go, there you are.” I’ve had other tests of this theory. I worked long and hard on exhibiting in galleries and markets in the late 90s./early aughts, and quit after not seeing enough income for all that effort.
You know, it doesn’t matter. One of the most freeing things I’ve ever learned is that I can let my work be mediocre. That way I can tolerate its existence long enough for it to grow into something I didn’t forsee. Something amazing. (or not!)
Follow your muse!