Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Day I Became An Artist

Yesterday, I posted an excerpt from my book.  It was a silly story about me getting blown by, what I suspect, was a transvestite when I was in Amsterdam several years ago.  At the time I posted the excerpt, I had just completed several hours of work and had an engaging conversation with an old friend.  I was intellectually exhausted, and I didn't think much of the post other than that it was a funny story of a wild night I had in my early twenties.

But this morning I woke up feeling different and spent the first part of the morning wondering why.  The answers came to me during my morning run through Balboa Park, like they often do.  I realized that today was my first day as an artist.  It was the first time I clearly understood what I wanted to be and why.

The aforementioned passage from my book was taken from a time when I had just quit law and managed score my gig at California Tap Room in North Park.  In the passage, I talk about how I'm living my dream and how happy I am that I can now tell my most ridiculous stories without getting fired from my job. 

The reason I couldn't get fired from my job is because my job was writer and my boss was me.  My job was artist.  My job was to express myself as authentically as possible, and no one could ever take that job away from me.  It's the only job I have ever had.  It's the only job I ever wanted.  It's the reason I had to leave the 9 to 5 world and it's the reason I won't be going back.

Corporate society imposes a set of rules on you.  There are certain things you can't talk about at work - race, religion, politics, sex.  All of the most interesting stuff.  How the fuck am I supposed to talk to people, and establish REAL connections with people, when I have to where a muzzle all the time?  It couldn't happen.  I couldn't be myself and be a corporate guy at the same time.  It was a matter of survival.  For my freedom of expression to survive, I had to become an artist.  There was no other choice.

I understood those things generally before, but today they really crystallized for me.  I decided to become an artist, and I'm not going back.  So here I am.  No one is paying me to do it, but it's my highest duty and I'm going to do it to the best of my ability.  I am no longer subject to the tyranny of the workplace.  I am my own man, and I vow to stay that way.  No one will ever fire me from being an artist, because no one can.  People can fire me from other things, but they'll never fire me from my real job.  I'll keep speaking my truth as long as I'm here.  It's the only thing for me to do.

*Note: I use the words "writer" and "artist" interchangeably to describe myself because I don't ever want to be pigeonholed into just being a "writer" or any other kind of artist.  It's all art to me.  Life is art.  The very act of going about your daily activities is art, when done properly.  How could I ever just call myself a writer when I do so much more than write?  Of course I read and write.  I also meditate, train, play guitar, cook, and do business.  Those are arts too.  And I will add even more to my repertoire before I am done.