One step forward, two steps back

Maybe that’s not precisely what has happened to me lately, but I sure felt like it yesterday. I’d had a bit of a rough week in the editing department, and that combined with my naturally serotonin-sucking brain meant that I was on a downswing for a few days. Then, just when I felt I was coming back up, I got notification from the Ontario Arts Council that my grant entry hadn’t been funded.

I try not to count on getting a grant, but it’s human nature to hope. I felt I had a good shot at it, as I’m sure every other entrant felt, too. I’m not angry, nor can I say that the jury didn’t know what they were doing – I’m sure they did. I’m certain that the manuscripts which were funded richly deserved to win, and I’m also sure that there were more deserving manuscripts than money to fund them. But it is human to be disappointed when hope fails us. On the upside, I had a lovely personal note from the literature officer appended to the official letter, encouraging me to try again. I certainly will.

I take comfort in remembering that, not so many years ago, life was much harder financially. At least I’m not going to have trouble paying bills or putting dinner on the table without the grant. Even if I don’t love my job, I’ll admit that it supports my habit of sleeping indoors and eating regularly. I’m learning to slow down, not focus so much on production, and get more pleasure out of my art. I loved earning my living by art, but it’s more fun to play with something without that worry about having to sell it at a show.

What I’d hoped to do with the grant money was take an extra day each week to write, move from a five-day to a four-day work week for a year. There’s always going to be more art to do than time to do it, though, even if I had every day at home. That is the way of art.

I’ve decided to quit editing for pay, or at least to quit looking for editing work. I’ve had a few bad experiences, and, frankly, I need the time more than I need the money. I’m really, really enjoying what I’m doing with my Patreon page. I’m using some of my engravings from my days as a printmaker as inspiration for writing, making videos and doing new paintings and drawings. It’s totally delightful, an incredible amount of fun and very absorbing. I have a few pieces up that the public can see, if you want to drop in.

Now that the shoe has dropped, and I know I’m not getting the money, I can stop thinking, “If I get the grant, I’ll…” and just get on wi’ t’ job at hand, which is writing, drawing, painting and all that other delicious art stuff there for me to do.

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