You’ve lost your hope but you’ve not been idle

“You’ve lost your hope 

but you’ve not been idle.”

I wrote this on a piece of paper from my journal recently. It summed up my experience after graduation (and even before it). It comforted me to express the truth to myself so clearly. But also because I worked something out recently which has given me some hope.

“How did I not think of this before?” It’s simple but often overlooked. To find out what we enjoy and are good at, we have to try many things. This is what we all did in High School and College. My efforts these last months have often lead to dead ends and blocks I forgot to challenge. Through lack of confidence and general bitterness at what it means to be an artist in this society, I forgot to do. That is, I forgot the most essential action in all this, to keep trying occupations and roles. Getting a lot of knock backs and not getting anywhere with my efforts and applications was part of forgetting this. It’s a simple idea, that’s not easy but effective. To re-discover this feels like hope.

Though I have learnt an enormous amount about myself, the industry surrounding artists (writers) and the type of life we face, I’ve been limited in gathering some types of information. I’ve had little exposure to the publishing industry, gallery environments and other areas of the arts sectors. To get a feel for curatorship and the details of publishing a book would give me the real life knowledge that research can not provide. This is the very active doing aspect that had been lacking thus far. I need to throw myself back into pursuing these opportunities. Someone will say yes eventually and I’ll have more than a good idea if I am moving in the right direction.

I have a few directions in mind, which makes picking rather desperately confusing. They all seem correct in that they seem to fit my needs, talents and interests. The first is Editing and Publishing, the others being Interior Decoration, Curatorship or an occupation with feminist (aid/crisis) organisations.

The first is the easiest to consider as I have a preexisting fire to argue about the content of stories and how I see their meanings. I have obviously done a degree which gives me a lot of information about story and the conventions of writing. Editing and Publishing would be building on that knowledge. And, it would be sublime if my Creative Writing degree could be a foundation for specialising in Fiction editing.

I was set on continuing my education at University and found a great Editing program at Melbourne Uni. It has been my dream for numerous years to move there. But if I was to decide to move I wouldn’t be able to do so for at least a year. So I was stuck again. I also foolishly listened to the advice of people who know nothing of the arts industry and turned their noses up at the suggestion that I might get non-award training (not a nationally recognise diploma or program).  It was the awe of discovering that I have to do, not just ponder, that made me reassess my previous judgments. Which has lead to finding great, affordable distance ed programs which will no doubt inform me as to my aptitude and passion for the editing and publishing fields. I actually feel hopeful! Instead of thinking I had to wait for a year and a big move to study this topic, I can study it here and possibly find out now if this field suits me. I can set up a payment program and do it!

What is also exciting is that my partner has recently made the big, inspiring choice to go into Game Design. It’s taken several years, but he’s reaching the point of solidly knowing where his interests and (immense creative) talents intersect. He was previously doing a medical science degree as sussing out a possible career and avenues of retraining. He’s found by doing this where his bigger passions lie. Not only am I happy for him, but this has been an incredible example of exactly what I have been circling around.

I also have a great girl pal who has followed a similar pattern of trying out training and a number of occupations so as to know herself better. She started a teaching career, considered training in being able to take blood and administer injections and is now doing Interior Design at CIT. I’m impressed by her fortitude and that she isn’t deterred by negative attitudes which surround those changing jobs and degrees often.

It sounds so simple but realizing what I have about action, has had a big impact on me. I’ve got some direction back.

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The fall out of “Hard for Money”

I’ve been pretty down after I read an article on paying writers: hard for money, in the winter 2014 edition of Overland (here are two other articles on the topic as well). It was upsetting because I have lived a lot of the reality being written about and I have found it depressing to my core to have little to no money given in exchange for the hours, time, craft and skill I put into each article I write. But this was also the exact, hard hitting, TRUTHFUL information I have been looking for, for well over 6 months. So I’ve been in a slump, realising how fucked I am, (having felt that to be true and now having it confirmed). But this just means I have to get another job (in a creative area I enjoy) to be able to live. Which was what I was working towards anyway. Yet I deeply mourn writers lack of rights and proper payment for work.

A few nice things have occurred that have helped me feel less chronic despair though. My memoir piece, which is literally a ripped out, still bloody, piece of my past and soul, is being published on the Feminartsy website this Wednesday. My interview through The Writers Bloc is being finalised and I should be going on air soon. I also got up the courage to ask about internship opportunities at Editia publishing and I’ve got back some very promising correspondence.

The reality of ‘the writing life’ doesn’t go away because of the good moments that bring me a sense of value, nor does the good outweigh the profoundly difficult, but they do enable me to feel hope.