I’m tired tonight. I woke up at 4:30 this morning after dreaming about an owl who wouldn’t let me get close and worried my way into morning because I was afraid I was missing some vital wisdom.
Today, I went through the interior proof and approved it — though I have misgivings. Some days more than others, I wonder if I know what I am doing or have what it takes. Shaping Destiny is only a few short weeks away from being real. On days like this, I wish I had someone to hold my hand, to tell me that its all going to be ok, and ultimately take responsibility for the finished book so that I don’t have to do it.
Ahhh, wishful thinking. And its funny — strange, weird, inevitable, what have you. For me, it seems like when I am really serious about anything, and do the work I need to do, then things line up in order to make that thing happen. And when I don’t do the work (or abdicate my responsibility) then pretty much nothing happens. Still, it would be nice to not wake up in the wee hours worried about what I might have missed or what I could have done better.
This week, I met with a group of women artists. They had asked me to give a talk about who I am and what I do. They are all professional artists, and they all struggle (like I do) with balancing who they are as women and being full time artists. We talked a great deal about the inherent problems: family interruptions (as though the work we do in our studio is somehow less important than the missing shirt or what is for dinner), meeting for a drink after work when you are in your studio clothes and covered with soot or paint, our need to nurture that conflicts with our need to be alone with our work, and all the daily conflicts that make it so hard to be both a mother, lover, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and arts professional.
We talked some about how artists are made to submit and give up their power before they ever get a chance and what we can do about it. We did not talk about the fact that while this is true for all artists, it is especially hard on women who are trained from the earliest ages to do that in all walks of life. We are the care takers, the problem solvers, the ones who acquiese to make life easier on others. Part of this is societal. Part of this is inherent to who we are. Regardless of the origin however, our tendencies as women are often completely at odds with who we are (and need to be) as artists. How does a woman artist justify the ego necessary to turn ourselves inside out and expose our souls to the world? Unlike women in traditional business, women artists are doubly exposed and god help us if we’re trying to do something real, something that touches a universal and reveals a truth.
One of the things that surprised me during this talk was our conversation about women arts organizations. The frustration we shared was astounding and powerful. None of us belong to a women arts organization because we never wanted to be women artists — we just wanted to be artists. And, because alot of what we see women arts organziation doing involves fashion shows and that sort of thing.
I am not undermining excellent craftsmanship and our appreciation for beautiful things, but I question why women arts organizations seem to spend so much energy there.
This is probably not a good subject for an indie author to broach just prior to the publication of her book, but I think it is an important question and I was so gratified and empowered to have this conversation with a group of women arts professionals that I just had to share it. I would love to hear your thoughts.