Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 104. Listening to Epictetus

I have my regular job, and then I have jobs on the side.  The jobs on the side rotate between translating, teaching and tutoring foreign language, and making art.  Sometimes they even include baking turtle cheesecakes, but that's another story.

For a long time, foreign language was my main side job, but it has flipped to art.  If I could do anything, it would be to only make art.  Sometimes, though--and all the dreamy, inspirational books don't always tell you this--you need a little something called money.  Amazing, huh?  Sometimes you need money to make art, to buy supplies, to have enough to pay for art entries or booth fees.

Now, I wouldn't have a side job that I hated.  I have loved languages all my life, and I like kids.  One time a student of mine, Kenneth, said to me, "Do you want to see me be a breadstick?" Well, of course I did.  "Yes," I replied wondering how he would pull off this yeasty trick.  He in turned, stood up, perfectly still and stiff with his little hands at his sides and looked straight ahead, until he exploded in a heap of giggles.

I must say, he did look like a breadstick! (-;  Ha!

So, I find myself in need of extra income.  For a long time, I felt the pull of money ("l'argent" in French;       "el dinero" in Spanish), was like arms holding me down and pulling me away from art.  Recently I've been thinking, maybe they could be hands helping and pushing me up towards art.  I just have to find a gentle balance, and it's a delicate thing to find.

I'm thinking of actors waiting tables and singers being bike messengers.  I have a jewelry-making friend who got her CNA for steady income in the winter when there aren't that many shows.  I know someone who is a painter who is going back to school to be an EMT. there some medical connection here?  As a person who gets sweaty palms as I drive past a hospital, that path is never going to work for me.  The point is, if you're going after a dream, sometimes you'll find yourself on a path that doesn't look conducive to your goal.  Maybe it is, though.  Maybe as long as it's running parallel rather than perpendicular, you'll be o.k.  Just as long as you always remember to stay on the right path.

Here is one of my favorite quote from the Greek philosopher, Epictetus:

"First say to yourself what you would be; 
then do what you have to do."

I shall try.

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