If you’ve known me more than a minute, you know I’ve experienced day jobs a very specific way. I thought it was simpler than it was: I thought no matter the job I would deep-down hate it because it wasn’t singing or acting or writing. I basically feel (still present-tense) no job could fully replace my wish to be an artist. I don’t even care if I’m a no-name in the biz; I just want to feel, when it comes right down to it, Emma Stone is my sister.
The established truth has been that I create mostly in a desperate attempt to work myself out of the day job. It’s the worst possible motivation for making things. It doesn’t work, and it makes me miserable.
As I wrote last fall, I have a new job now. And the dynamics I was used to are totally upside down.
I am happy at work.
I am stuck at art.
I’m not lost at art or broken or giving up. I’m just stuck. I can no longer see the rosy tunnel to an actual creative career. I’ve read Real Artists Don’t Starve and I subscribe to email lists about how to be more productive, market better, make stuff that succeeds; but I find I don’t know what to do with any of it. I’m writing a novel I’m totally unsure about—Erin Morgenstern (author of The Night Circus) would say it’s not even “book-shaped” yet. And I have other not-yet book-shaped ideas, but I don’t see yet how or if any of it will come together.
This is all I know and what I hope: I hope being happy in the job helps me return to the truth of creative work, the Big Magic stuff, the part where you do it from the sheer, uplifting joy of it.
My Being Mama years are swiftly flying. My cancer updates are downright boring lately, though the book I wrote about it is still true. I live within six miles of where I was born and feel okay about that most of the time as long as I can go places occasionally and live in a house I love. My life so far is so much life and I’m grateful every day. Next, I hope and pray, is more art.
My word for 2018 is Anne. It’s a strange word to guide a year, but it’s my particular lighthouse right now because Anne of Green Gables (and the series of books that followed) are the “books I read as a child” that most make me want to write today. Both the series and their author are the inspiration for the novel I’m trying to make book-shaped. And my favorite book in the series is the reason I’m taking on a secret, no-agenda, creative exercise I call my one big wish. Anne is my muse, my happiness, my reminder to tell stories because I love them and for no other reason.
This is my life so far. I’ve chronicled most of it, and I’m sure I’ll share the rest because me. Watch for it here, I guess. I can’t promise anything.