When Work is Art is Work is Art

My day jobs are as follows: 

  • I work in a music store, where I play ukulele and guitar and help people fall in love with music. 
  • I assist in a performing arts department.
  • I teach an after school drama class. 

On the side, I write music, poetry, fiction, blogs, plays, the occasional musical number, and I get paid to write often enough that I can count on it. I sometimes get to stage manage or assistant-direct shows. As far as employment situations go, I have it made. I'm aware that most people my age or with my education/experience ratio don't get to enjoy this kind of work life. 

There are still many, many days that I don't want to get up and go to work. Today, I didn't really want to write a new blog. It's Friday, and there's no guest writer. So here I am, writing my blog post. 

My point isn't that I'm ungrateful for these opportunities or that I want them to go away. I think instead that I am learning the lesson that every young artist has to learn: art takes work and work is not always fun. Some of the most rewarding projects I've done were fun (of course) but some o the pieces I've worked on that I am ridiculously proud of were hair-tearingly frustrating about 90% of the time (this is especially true of some stories). Getting into a creative flow sometimes has all the magic of surfing, and other times, it has all the chaos of body-surfing, being tumbled and sandblasted beneath the waves and trying not to hit your head, shutting your eyes and trusting your sense of rightness to find the ground/sky ratio. 

I think that's a good thing. In the long run, I know I'm doing what I love even if some days it doesn't sound appealing. Most days, I enjoy it even if I didn't want to start working on it (like this very blog post you are reading). Other days, even if I'm not "having fun," I get to feel the rich peace that comes with knowing I'm where I'm supposed to be and doing my best while I'm there. It's a good life, despite the chaos of the world at large, and I think a good life is sometimes like a balanced diet: the enjoyment comes later, in the feeling of health and wellness. That's something I can celebrate, even on the days when art feels like work. It's all a matter of finding the sky. 


Photo by Aleksander Naug on Unsplash.