HOW SWEET IT TASTES
The real tea on being an artist is that every day you are your own boss and every day you feel like you might get fired. That is to say: nothing is given and nothing is taken for granted.
There's a Buddhist story (a Zen koan, if you will) as recounted here (https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/the-tiger-and-the-strawberry-b73de1dccf19):
"Once upon a time, as a man was walking through a forest, he saw a tiger peering out at him from the underbrush. As the man turned to run, he heard the tiger spring after him to give chase. Barely ahead of the tiger, running for his life, our hero came to the edge of a steep cliff. Clinging onto a strong vine, the man climbed over the cliff edge just as the tiger was about to pounce. Hanging over the side of the cliff, with the hungry tiger pacing above him, the man looked down and was dismayed to see another tiger, stalking the ravine far below. Just then, a tiny mouse darted out from a crack in the cliff face above him and began to gnaw at the vine. At that precise moment, the man noticed a patch of wild strawberries growing from a clump of earth near where he dangled. Reaching out, he plucked one. It was plump, and perfectly ripe; warmed by the sunshine. He popped the strawberry into his mouth. It was perfectly delicious." This story comes to mind often, as I squirm in some uncomfortable situation or another. The current strawberry of my life is the studio. It is perfect: near to but removed from home, unnecessarily spacious, and private private private. I've not had something feel this My Own in New York possibly ever. I treasure it. I worship it. And every single day, I think about letting it go. Part of this has to do with the real fact that my lease is initially only for six months. In May, the already-significant rent will jump, making it nearly as expensive as my apartment rent, and I will decide if and how to keep it in my life. The rub is, I can almost afford it. I can almost justify paying double rent because this is my work and my workspace and a gift to the dream. But my frugal roots rail against the numbers, pointing to the fact that for four years I painted in the living room with no more overhead than my art supplies, and that's what bootstrapping is all about. But bootstrapping is meant to prepare you for a leap. And I made that leap, I said yes to the studio. The thing I didn't see coming was a second leap. The second leap of every day that I plot and plan on how to hang on.