Friday, February 12, 2010
Ambition, " Some times I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits." Satchel Paige US baseball player .
The time clock keeps ticking. I am getting older. Ambition is different in my late 50's compared to being 25 years old.
Ambition can be a painful and or scary word as you get older.
I still have a lot to do and now I have less time to do it in. I do not regret my accomplishments but I could have done more. If I could have been more selfish, I could have soared, I think.
How hard to work? Do you want to be a workaholic? How important is the time you spend with your family?
I have always had the attitude, "I can have whatever I want if I try hard enough". Isn't that an all American way of thinking? I look at big fancy houses and think. I could have had that if I really wanted it. Maybe. Friends have said, "Yes it is true Linda but you were not willing to compromise your life or your art to get it."
My shop has been very cold this winter in this extraordinary cold winter of 2010. Finally a couple days ago it warmed up and I felt very privileged and "special" to have my own studio, always.Mostly, I just find myself working between two heaters in my shop, trying to finish special orders that I am grateful to have, waiting for spring. Funny how a little warmer environment improves productivity and attitude.
Sometimes I forget how lucky I am. And then there is the maybe it is not luck thing. I do sacrifice a lot to have what I have. It is a trade off. The trade off is having a regular income and someone else paying you on a regular basis not to mention retirement.
I doubted my ambition the other day when my son went to another successful potter and asked for advice on how to be successful. I do believe in sharing info and having mentors and a lot of sources It just made me doubt my own drive for ambition. Have I tried hard enough? Oh the art ego. All the sensitivity that gives us an awareness of our environment and the ability to reinterpret it can sometimes backfire.
But now, I look at the youthful ones, dealing with the same issues, full of hope and desire, aspiring to go to the top and be successful artistically and financially. It wears me out just to think about it. I feel a little envy of their energy level and a little relieved not to have to prove anything anymore. And I feel very confused often about how ambitious to be.
Friends try and "fix" me all the time. Oh yes, we will get you a big studio with heat and air and we will form a new arts group or studio or school or .....I hesitate for some basic reason that I don't understand. I just want to work and keep trying to balance my life. A little work and a little play and time to think.
Truthfully do I just want it all? I want to be artistically respected and successful, rich, thin, intelligent, alternative and have a ton of free time. I would like to have a few more one person shows in museums ( a fact hardly anyone in Tulsa knows I have had because I don't want to toot my own horn) and and I would like a lovely studio and not have to worry about my children. I would like to have dinner parties with arts folks like we did in the state of Virginia.
I cannot stand the words by laws, mission statements, or artist statement. Yet, I love to write. It just feels like if you don't know what you are doing why are you doing it? I don't want to write it down. I may change my mind about the artist statement and write one. Remaining a little flexible is a good idea. But, I cannot stand to see people write down their mission statement, declare it and think that is it. You have it. Finished. It is in print so it is official. I don't believe it.
It has always blown my mind how I can be working on a project and folks will come in and say "Oh yes." Yawn yawn. And then, it gets in the paper and people think it is a big deal. Not until it is in print does it matter.
And then there is the family thing. How do you do it all? The Women's Liberation movement kind of bit a lot of us in the butt. Yes, I believe in equality and I don't regret supporting the movement. But boy did we increase the work load. My husband helps me more than I ever expected. I loved raising my children. I enjoyed sharing our creativity and helping them grow into their artistic wings. I did not enjoy sitting on the elementary school gym floor and playing bingo. Motherhood had its own ambitions, most of which have been met. Hugging my children has always felt good.
Ambition. I find it painful to think about wondering if I am ambitious enough. Could I have done better? Or do I just need to take a chill pill and let it be.
Writing helps, working helps, just putting on my shoes and going out the front door helps. This chapter will need a lot of editing and more thought, soon to come.