[I've made a couple of minor edits.]
I would be remiss if I did not once again shout out Anthem Salgado for his recent posts over at Art of Hustle, where he’s always posting helpful things and common sense about being working artists, and about living as working artists.
Of course, I remember being a broke young person, aspiring to be a poet. I composed spoken word when I could; I did this in flashes of inspiration. I worked on instinct; I rarely edited or revised, for those things represented the opposite of purity in art. I rejected criticism, for I believed one could not judge true art.
I resented my day job, and I resented that it was becoming obvious that I needed to finish college. I resented my mother for always insisting that I finish school. In my mind, all those things were an impediment against my being an artist, in which artistry was all about flashes of inspiration, being moved by something otherworldly, moved by the universe. I convinced myself that my family would never understand or accept my being an artist.
With my circle of friends, fellow aspiring artists, we talked all kinds of talk; we had dreams. I suppose we all envisioned or hoped to have recognition someday, to be bad asses and divas and rock stars, to be envied. That all seems like such a long time ago. For myself, I didn’t know exactly how I would be getting there, wherever “there” is.
I also didn’t know if I’d ever make the rent. I was not born to wealthy parents, and I did not marry into wealth. I did, at one point, live with a boyfriend on whom I was so financially dependent, that his misogyny, his simultaneous neglect and power turned me into a shell of myself.
I don’t dwell on that, but it’s worth mentioning now, because this post is supposed to be about my work ethic and well being. Perhaps this is where I mention Woolf’s room of her own, and what it means to me — financial and emotional independence, something like a blank slate, fresh sheet of paper, and no kind of fear or barrier to hold you back from doing what you will to it.