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.