Friday, December 11, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal

For almost twenty years, I've held a picture of the life I most desire as an artist and writer, living close to nature's rhythms, the rhythms of daily household life. I imagine a life in which I can devote several hours each day to domestic chores and outdoor reverie, as many hours to setting my inspirations into words and image, with time and energy yet to embrace the considerable challenge of sharing my work with the world.

Here I am, living on a dead end road in a town that is 40% land preserve, with a garden and a dog and a supportive spouse, and just enough financial stability to say that, while certainly risky, nothing stands in my way but fears and insecurities. Part of my hesitation is about money, part of it is about turning away potential clients (why is it scary to say no?), part of it is that internal ego-crushing critic, chanting who do you think you are? in the unfriendliest tone

But I am soon to turn 40, and I can't let these fears and insecurities call the shots any longer.

When designer Stefan Sagmeister decided to close his studio to give himself a year off for creative explorations, his first bold move was to tell everyone. That way, he reports in his October, 2009 TED talk, The Power of Time Off, he wouldn't be able to chicken out.

This morning at the gym, a friend told me about her beloved assistant of twenty years, who died suddenly this week, just a month shy of retirement.

There are no guarantees.

Yesterday my neighbor and I walked our dogs together, and saw this pond along the way. I believe these patterns exist always in this pond, formed as underground springs push up toward the surface. Thanks to just the right combination of cold and snow, the invisible is revealed.

I was so inspired, I couldn't wait to get home so I could return immediately with my camera.

While shooting, I decided it was time to admit it: I am plotting a special year, beginning with my birthday in early March. I have already begun turning down work. I have my own underground springs, a million and one half-dreamed and partially completed projects that I will no longer push aside. Life is now!