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Writing Excerpt

Here's a writing excerpt from a pile of writings I am working on to make into something readable and self-publishable. Words are my jam.


Imposter Syndrome is a real malady for creatives. There is no certification to endorse yourself as an artist. There is no committee to present your work to and ask if you are truly an artist or not.

What the fuck is an artist anyway and who decides?

As a new emerging fulltime artist I had no idea that I was thrashing away at an interior path through a dark forest of thick undergrowth. I had no hint that to choose the creative life was to choose a path fraught with challenges to the mind, heart, body, relationships and bank account.

Everything in my inner and outer world was in some degree of turbulence as I was leaving behind my secure factory life to make for myself a life centered on creativity.

Who did I think I was to forge such a path? What audacity was this to abandon a well paying job for a path unproven?

On some days the sense of calling was so strong that I felt deep and abiding peace to throw all caution to the gusty winds of sensibility. There was a kind of grit that I had found hiding in the corner of my chaotic psyche.

There is a book called Grit, by a psychologist named Angela Duckworth. She studied all kinds of people to determine why some people have staying power and others do not. Why does one ambitious cadet survive Hell Week at West Point, but another does not. What is the difference?

Grit, she surmised, is the blend of passion and perseverance.

Grit also possesses the characteristic of No Exit Plan.

The West Point cadets who survived Hell Week all had one thing in

common : they could not imagine doing anything else with their lives except graduating from West Point to launch their careers. They had no backup plan.

I did not know it at the time but despite how tortured I could be at times with the doubts and insecurities of setting myself up to be an artist, I possessed buckets and buckets of grit. I had no exit plan, no safety net, no if-this-doesn't-work-out-backup-plan.

I had to make it as an artist. I HAD TO.

This obsessive drive was fueled by grit and an unstoppable vision to be a fulltime creative. It was also fueled by good old-fashioned egotism.

My ego played a large role in helping me stay the course of becoming a fulltime artist. I had announced to the entire world that I left my well-paying union factory job to pursue this art thing.

Choosing the art life is to choose one of the most poorly performing career paths there is. It is estimated that only ten percent of art school graduates actually forge an art career. There is good reason that less than two percent of the entire population of the USA are professional artists. It is hard to support yourself. IT IS HARD. It is not impossible, but it is hard and it requires a kind of grit that most career paths do not. I never had to reach for grit when I was a house cleaner or hospital food server or factory worker.

My ego was an important source of tenacity for it made me determined to not fail. When I decided that I would be quitting the factory to be an artist, I had decided to be open about it rather than hush-hush. I knew that being open would invite workplace commentary about my decision as well as outright challenge. The retention rate was in the ninety percentile, despite the long hours and demanding schedule. We were all high school graduates with no formidable credentials, yet we out earned nurses.

I knew that if I was open about my decision to leave the factory that I would be talked about, that my coworkers would find me guilty of being foolish and reckless with my financial security as well as my future. A big factor of what motivated people to stay on the job, besides the obvious weekly paychecks, was also the lure of laying track into the future for the union pension.

We had all watched longtime employees retire after thirty years and draw a nice monthly pension that helped augment their social security. It is a real consideration of how will one take care of themselves when the body can no longer perform.

I could not concern myself with any of this. Any of it. I could not allow myself to ignore the pulsing inside my heart and soul to be shut down by something like workplace peer pressure or future pension security. I decided that instead of resigning in secrecy that I would be transparent and wide open. My inner vixen was getting all kinds of activated as the vision of a creative life lit me up.

This was my life and I was choosing what felt right to me. I could not be concerned if anyone thought I was being a privileged fool. It was my life to live as I determined. I could stay safe and ignore the obsessive pull toward a fulltime creative life, or I could make the leap of faith and see if I could pull it off or not.

There was only one way to find out.


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