Hasn’t proved unlucky for me so far, just somewhat mediocre. I’m going out tonight, though, with Mikey and some folks from work, to my colleague’s ‘pre-wedding’ party, so hopefully it should be a good evening! We’re staying overnight, since the wedding is tomorrow and it’s all taking place about 40 minutes from us, so it’s a chance to let our hair down.
I feel frustrated at the moment because it seems like I’m not good at anything. I want to have some sort of ability people can respect, but it seems I don’t have one at all. In the professional sphere, I get sick of all the vagueness and fakery. Seems like being good at what you do is a case of making things happen in ways no one can define. Having contacts, I guess, and being in a position to tell those contacts what to do, so people perceive you as a mover and shaker.
I do that quite a lot, make people move along in their line of work, but I might as well be a cowherd prodding a line of cattle with a stick. They do the moving and I stand behind and avoid the shit.
I’m not thinking just of my day job, but also of the music industry, with which I have a tenuous connection. There’s no way I could ever do that as my full-time job – people spend years building up a network of contacts and that’s what gets them jobs and enables them to make things happen. And gets them respect. Ok, you have to do more than just know people to get respect, but how many people who are seen as movers and shakers in the music industry actually do everything themselves and how much is it a question of being able to issue some instructions and twist a few arms in the right places? Yeah.
Anyway, I don’t have years to build up a network of contacts, because I’ve already spent years in a completely different field where I’m beginning to see my work paying off. The only music-related thing I’d be even remotely good at is A&R, and A&R isn’t paying any more.
That’s only tangentially related to my feeling that I’m not good at anything. Maybe that’s not entirely true. I used to be good at art – drawing and painting, to be precise – and I still believe that if I focus on it, the ability is still there. My confidence got knocked a couple years ago when I held an exhibition. I thought it would motivate me to produce new work and it did, but not the kind of work I wanted to do. I started to make decorative abstract paintings, the sort of thing I believed people might conceivably hang on their wall. They didn’t mean anything to me. It felt hollow and it wasn’t how I envisaged myself working as an artist.
I don’t know what I want to do any more.
I could work in Mikey’s office in the evenings, where I keep my art stuff, but I can never properly get into the groove because I’m always aware that he’s still sitting there working at the desk he’s been sitting at all day, and it’s basically just an extension of the working day for him and I feel bad because I’m stopping him from going home, or he could go home and spend the evening by himself. Which is fine, but not *every* evening, which is the way I’d want it. I have to shut everyone and everything out when I paint. It’s a very selfish approach and state of being. Some people would call it independence; I’m not so sure that’s what it is. But all truly *great* artists do it, I think. Maybe I just don’t have what it takes for greatness. I guess maybe you have to be a loner, and I’m not. I like being around people, but of course that means making certain sacrifices.
In the last couple years I’ve been getting more into textile-based crafts rather than art, and I’d love to find a way to combine the two, since craft is more sociable for me than pure art. But I still don’t feel like I have a clear direction, a driving idea for a project, something I’m trying to convey.
I used to create musical things, as well, but I don’t any more. Now I just play scales and other people’s pieces on the piano, and not even very well. Not that my pieces of music were good before, but at least they were mine. All mine from scratch and I enjoyed creating them. And they did have driving ideas behind them, even if you wouldn’t guess it from hearing them.
I guess I’m slightly scared that I’m losing some independence of mind. The thing that made me tick and which gave me the very slight power that I had. The voice in my head says, “If you wanted to make artwork enough, you’d do it. You wouldn’t care about Mike’s finer feelings, and in any case he’s told you it’s fine by him, so you’re only using him as an excuse not to embark on a project because you’re afraid of failure. Loser.”
Maybe this has galvanised me into something. I’m annoyed now that I can’t do artwork tonight because we have to go straight out! Hopefully next week will be different. I’ve always been sceptical of new starts and sudden decisions about vaguely life-related topics, and this doesn’t even feel like a decision. Just a ramble. I don’t feel like anything has changed, and yet… something sort of has.
I need to follow my heart. And that’s just an extension of the winding rambling path. There are no new starts here, just progress.