I loved my Summer of Writing, and now it’s over, but I’m finding that having a job – I’d say “day job” except that I’m working nights – has its benefits, too.
For one thing, it was touching how many people made a point of saying, “Oh, you’re back! We missed you!”, even coming around to my desk to tell me. One co-worker gave me a big hug – a definite HR issue, no inappropriate touching! – which was lovely. I may not have missed the job, but I missed the people.
I felt a certain relaxing of tension, too, when I knew I was definitely re-hired. That grant was a humongous whack of money, but it sure wasn’t going to last forever, no matter how cannily I managed it. Having a regular paycheque helps. It may dent my self-image as a dedicated artist a bit to have to rely on a workie job to keep the bills paid, but I think I can live with it in order not to be fretting about the hydro and all.
Besides, dedication comes in all sorts of shapes. It’s not necessary for me to cut myself loose from a normal life – or as normal as my life has ever been – in order to be an artist (of whatever stripe) twenty-four hours a day. It takes dedication to go on writing or committing whatever art you commit when the groceries don’t ride on it. It means you are committed to the art for its own sake, and I think that can only be good.
When I think about it, I know that I’m glad I wrote “The Swan Harp”, and “The Last Black Swan”, and that I will go on to write the third book (working title: “Dark Waters, Dark Skies”, thank you, Dai!). I’ll do that and be glad I’ve done it even if they’re never published. Yes, I’d like them to be published, but the important thing is that I wrote them.
I’ve spent the last week adapting to my new schedule. I now get home about 9:00 a.m. and sleep – if I’m lucky – until four in the afternoon. I try to get some writing done before we leave, around playing with the cat and the dog, seeing to the chickens, getting ready for work. I also write in the car on the way in. The plug-in light for my keyboard is great! Just enough light to see the keys by, not enough to dazzle the driver. I’m still writing, just more slowly than I did for the last few months.
So I’m back to my pre-grant schedule, not nearly as productive or gratifying as the summer, but still with time and energy to write, and the reassurance of a regular paycheque, as well. Life is good.