The great divide…

In The Daily Drool on August 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm

It has struck me particularly hard this visit – the great difference between we aspiring artists and those my friend Charlotte likes to call “Civilians.”

Now, I know there are a great many things that could fall into that category – some good, some bad, some just plain ridiculous – but the thing that has so got my mind racing today, the thing that I want to devote a few paragraphs to, is the way in which artists and civilians portion out time.

It could be suggested that the average person divides their time between work, family/friends, and personal time.   Most activities/pastimes/etc. fall into one of these categories.  Exactly how the divide balances out depends on the individual – what they do for a living, who they care about, what they like to do for themeselves… and most people will probably tell you that they spend too much time at work, not enough with the family, and very rarely do they have any moments left over for themeselves.

Artists on the other hand (at least those not yet at the top of their field) spread themselves over four categories: The work that pays the bills, the work that they hope will begin to pay the bills (soon please), themselves, and family/friends.   Because when we get home from a day of slinging cocktails or answering phones, we click on the computer and begin to write, or we head to the theater for rehearsal, or we bring out the canvas that needs color… we have at least two jobs all the time, and sometimes more if that first gig isn’t paying all that well.

Then there is the trouble of how to divide up what little is left.  I feel like artists are better at distinguishing time for themselves – it’s the only place they can really recharge those overspent batteries – so we tend to put this a smidge above everyone else in our lives (for better or for worse.)  And then we get social.


Now, occasionally the last two are tied – meaning sometimes being around my friends is the thing that refuels me – but there have been many times when I’ve looked around my empty nest and felt, quite literally, starved.  I just don’t get to spend that much time with people.  And I think that’s maybe a little wierd when you consider how important I find the people in my life to be.

I would love to sit on the porch and watch the sunset with loved ones more often… but I don’t have a porch, and I’ve got all of these projects to finish…

And I don’t know what the solution is except to soak up as much simple and family as I can while I’m home and just hope that my projects begin to earn their keep, because I feel an ache in these bones for more than the pursuit of self – perhaps it’s the evolution of one’s years – but I know I don’t want to be scrambling like this in another ten.

I’m ready to get my clock in better order and start enjoying the getting there a little more.

  1. Boy, howdy. I am feeling this same thing. I’m fortunate to NOT live alone, I share an apartment with a some-time collaborator and my little brother. (Really.)

    But after having been married/cohabiting for so long, I am truly lonely in ways that I haven’t been in more than a decade. And I am truly devoted to my craft right now. Every opportunity I get to get closer to a woman, I pull away, because I genuinely believe that the biggest reason that my writing has yet to replace the Hard Rock Cafe is a lack of devotion, particularly in terms of time, to my work.

    I know that your longing was a more general kind of loneliness or sense of separation, but I just wanted to tell you that you really struck a chord with this one…so thank you.

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