Some of the artwork I have been working on and experimenting with.
December’s edition of Chasing Rainbow’s column
Published in the James Bay Beacon Community Newspaper
The coffee in my cup is running low, a Grande Starbucks and a rare $2 treat for me now. I sip the last of it as I sit over my laptop, where I have sat for two hours now. I have sent emails for jobs, query letters to magazines and papers throughout Canada. Although I still try to follow this crazy art dream, I am faced with the reality that rent needs to be paid and food bought. I am now in the position of looking for work.
I lean back and look out the window at a clear view down to Douglas Street below. Cars and buses pass by in a steady stream. I find comfort seeing humanity going about their regular daily business. The problem with being an artist is that you’re not truly connected with normal humanity anymore. Instead, you’re walking a path off of the mainstream of society. Still, as I sit, watching humanity, I am reluctant to return to the fray. I have worked so many jobs in my life; dog daycare, sales rep, heavy cleaner, specialist cleaner, contributing writer, office assistant, and none of them fit except for the role of artist. At my last job I become so bored I started to fix the filing mistakes that the main office manager had made. No, I think, I do not want to go back. So even now, in need of work, I try to make my life off of the mainstream, choosing to send resumes for writing jobs instead of the office work I am trained in.
I look back at my computer screen, then decide to call it and day and flip the power switch. I glance out at the weather. It is gray, cold, but I still have the desire to go hiking, to enjoy the outdoors before the west coast rain season hits. And that is the perk of life off of the mainstream I think as I pack up for the day. The perk for low pay and never knowing when the next pay cheque is coming; complete freedom of time. If I choose, I can sit for three hours in Starbucks, or I can go hiking in the middle of an afternoon.
I swallow the last of my coffee, and as I do, I wonder what is better, to be a bird flying North, battling against the wind but always knowing you are free; or to be a bird flying south with the others to warm waters, but all the while knowing you are prisoner. I sling my backpack over my shoulders and leave the coffee shop; just a bird flying North. Free.
Never sit next to any men I remind myself for future reference as I flee Chapters after having had enough of listening to crazy physics theories from a very brilliant but also very manic young man. If I sit next to a guy, they *will* talk to me, even if I *do* have my notebook and pen, with the obvious intention of *writing*, not talking.
The crazy brilliant physicist leaves me alone finally but I have lost my focus and feel agitated and overwhelmed. Frustration wells up because a starbucks coffee is a rare treat now, just to be ruined by a manic physics genius who reminds me very much of the Sarnia Best Friend.
Why can’t men just leave me alone? I wonder plaintively. Or if not, then just hit on me in a normal way like, “Hi, can I have your number?” So I can just say “No,” and the conversation ends.
Feeling discombobulated, I flee down the cold Victoria Streets to the Government Starbucks on the corner of Yates. I grab an empty chair but cannot settle, the relaxed feeling of earlier now long since gone. All I feel now is double caffeine mixing with frustration at being verbally drowned in brilliant, yet exhausting, physics.
I try to relax but the Starbucks is cold, the music annoying, the voices surrounding me loud and echoing. I am tired from the mornings job search – the unglamorous part of the artists career, the search for a steady income while still trying to concentrate on the actual creation of art.
As I try to settle and relax, I feel exhausted, manic, and confuzzled. Never again, I say to myself with all sterness, never again will I sit next to any of the male gender. I briefly flash back to the all the conversations I have been pulled into. I have talked to and Iranian Philosopher who was trying to learn written English grammar so he could write a book, a young double university major graduate who was just getting back from work overseas, a middle aged business man with friendly curiosity in what I was working on, a possibly homeless man interested in my art, a disabled man just wanting someone to chat to, a young Japanese teenager who would keep asking me the bizarrest questions just to keep the conversation going every time I tried to look back at my book, and now a brilliant young physicist who has the knowledge of how to make the world go Kaboom and is trying to figure out how to *not* do that. As I remember these many weird conversations I find myself beginning to laugh. Hey, I think, at least I’ve met some really interesting people. I take a sip of my coffee, and as I do I am now smirking and not frowning. Here’s to humanity, I think, in all its beauty, color, and chaos.