Sunday, November 09, 2003

Day of the Dogs

Second day of a two day "arts and craps" show. Low Points -- few sales, too hot on Saturday and too grey and windy on Sunday (windy as in having our Easy-up tent picked up and moved every few minutes), feeling in general too negative about it all. High points -- met another wire-worker/artist who was fun, and got to pet some very nice dogs. Made a contact for potential contract jewelry work. We didn't make even our booth fee and left early. We sit and puzzle over what we need to do to improve, to sell.

I don't know if we can keep up the attitude needed to do outdoor art shows. There's no particular reason we can decern for why sometimes we sell really well, and other times we do diddly. I've looked at other wire artists at the same shows -- my work is often quite different, but usually equal (and sometimes better) in execution and quality. My pricing is on par and a little on the low side. Yet I still go through crushing doubt about my ability to do this.

I suppose I should add that I go through periods of crushing doubt about every creative endeavor I attempt. Sometimes I feel confident. More often I feel modest but not defeated. Then there are the times when I wonder why I have all this desire to make ...whatever...and no talent. That feeling -- like a sack of thick, smothering black cloth dropped over my head -- fills me with a bitter anger and I hate everything. I hate every thing I've done. Nothing looks good. I see only the flaws, only the imperfection or lack. I throw whatever gets into my hands. It often descends when setting up for a show and it's only my husband's voice and some underlying self control that keeps me from destroying everything I've made and going home to die.

Within an hour or so, sometimes two or three, the blackness lifts and it's just grey. I just don't know.

It's the same way with everything I do. Where is value measured? I find happiness in what I do. I want to do it a large part of my time, but that excludes doing other things that I might not enjoy so much, but that provide me with the means to do what I want as well as to live. If I can turn what I love to do into a means to provide for my life, I'd be happy, right? Then what I do has to have value. If I can sell what I do, then it's valuable, right? Someone buys my jewelry, or pays for my story, or tosses coins into a basket while I sing and purchases a CD or tape. But if no one wants to exchange money for what I do or what I make, then it's worthless. If I am what I do or what I make, if I put myself into it, and no one wants it, then I'm worthless. And if I try to bend what I do or what I make to fit someone else's idea of value, it has nothing to do with me and I don't find any good in it.

The funny part, the part that makes me laugh at myself, is that even when I do well, I don't really feel all that much better. There's never quite enough, and that's such a paradox, because the doubt is always so much greater than any amount of affirmation can be. That makes me laugh, and that makes me realize the trap I lay for myself. That knowlege, I think, is the "thing" underneath the black sack, the place where the control lies. I know that the mood, the demon, the doubt, will pass.

And after all that, I'll do something stupid like try to move a road barrier away so we can load the van, only to have the wooden pieces come apart and the heavy crossbeam land neatly on the end of my big toe, creating a wave of intense pain -- the kind of pain that only comes from sudden but minor injury. It still hurts, in the minor injury way -- only when I forget about it because it's not hurting that bad, so I do something I'd normally do and touch that toe on something and *WHAM*.

Another week of my life, over.

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