04 September 2008

Health, Wealth & Wisdom


I hab a cohd. Id iz doh fun.

I've been doing pretty well this year past in terms of general health, especially as compared to the year before. I regard my health as a pretty good gauge of my happiness. They aren't necessarily entirely correlated -- I mean, sometimes you just get sick, and others, you're simply pissy toward everyone -- but by-and-large I've found them to be pretty good indications of one another. Whether it's cause or effect in a given scenario, my physical well-being is often my first clue as to the state of my psyche. This is most likely because I am a control-freak at heart, and cling with futile, desperate hope to the idea that I can and will feel the way I want to feel, when I want to feel it. So, occasionally, my heart has to bludgeon my mind with my body, saying in a perfectly calm voice during the repeated concussions, "Why are you hitting yourself? Huh? Why do you keep hitting yourself?" My heart can be a malicious S.O.B., but I have only myself to blame.

This used to manifest itself with some regularity, right around the week I had a show opening. Shortly after I left college, shows became less regular and adult life stresses started playing through, and I got so confused I actually stayed healthy for a long while. My struggles from a little over a year ago I attribute to an over-all sort of confusion about life, the universe, everything. So, is this bout the result of some stress? And if so, is the stress creative, lifestyle or other? Am I running myself down, or stressed about not having enough to do (yes; this is possible; shut up)?

You will notice (after I point it out to you) that a new 'blog has been added to the role on this here 'blog: Loki's Apiary. I don't know why it never occurred to me before. I have been trying to think for some time of an easily editable online schedule for my various appearances -- performing and teaching and what you will -- that I could update myself and what could be connected to the Aviary and send updates to my homepage. It took subscribing to one Mz. Eliza Skinner's 'blog (thanks, Cracked.com) to make me realize the solution was very simple indeed, and directly in front of me. ("Oh. Hi. Didn't see you there." "We've been here literally the entire time you have." "I'm a little embarrassed.") This is the intention of Loki's Apiary, to log and make accessible the practical details of every little quasi-public appearance I make as an artist and/or teacher. In the interests of full disclosure, I should confess that I'm back-logging appearances in the present tense, so it appears a more wealthy (and well-thought-out) history. Also for disclosure: Loki has nothing to do with bees. (There is a woman from Norse mythology, Beyla, who might.) But Loki's cool, and reasonably well-known, and bees are associated with a multitude of busy activities. PLUS: APIARY. "I'm rhyming. It's not easy."

One of the great stresses of adult life for artist and lay-person alike is the need for fiscal clout. There's no escaping it: In this day and age, the kind of life I'd like to lead requires a certain amount of financial solvency. There is no having my cake and eating it too if I can't afford a "Rainbow" Cookie (we all know they're M&M[TM] cookies, Starbucks{c}; you're fooling only yourself) with my coffee. Nothing to date has brought this into more prominent view for me than the necessities of planning The Big Show. It's expensive just to plan a wedding, much less actually purchase anything related to it, and I've got about as much support in this as a fella' could hope for. Still and all, it forces me to recognize that really going for the future I want for myself and my family requires that I have the resources to handle any contingency, including monetary ones. That, probably as much as anything else, has held me back from marriage in the past. That sounds bit petty to me, but it's not as simple as the sentence suggests. A person rates their worth in a variety of ways, and money can be a terribly tangible, day-to-day representation of that.

I made choices in crafting the Apiary, both personal and professional. The name may work against me (it started out as "Now Showing"), but I wanted that kind of conceptual link between it and the Aviary. Plus, Loki is a hell of a clown figure, in the sense that a clown is a character of continual making and un-making of plans and schemes, and he inspires less contemplation than Odin and more daring. I wanted it to have a distinctive and dramatic look, but also to be highly readable and uncluttered, hence the black background, colorful text and simple layout (in the reverse positioning to this 'blog). Finally, I wanted it to help make me money. There are a number of ways that announcing my activities in this format may stand to accomplish that goal, all of which are pretty straight-forward. One little additional way is through hosting other advertisements, which, if you scroll all the way down in the Apiary, you'll see I've elected to do.

I suppose it's more symbolic than anything. It is all the way at the bottom (yet above my footer graphic!) and yesterday it had two ads enticing one to make big money quick (today one is for the Fringe Festival, so way-to-go AdSense!) and anyway, I'm sure I get paid a fraction of a cent per click. All the same, I avoided doing that with the Aviary, and chose to with the Apiary, specifically because I want to embrace the possibility of earning power in everything I spend my time doing. Love it or hate it, whatever I'm doing well I ought to be compensated for, which includes even activities for which I've never quite pursued that, like writing or organization. There's also something about making it about money that makes an effort more real, more consequential. You're not just giving it a shot; you're putting money on the table and getting comfortable for a play of more than a few rounds.

And who knows? Maybe I'll make more money in the process. Maybe I'll even be able to afford my own health insurance!

3 comments:

dave said...

Well, I can hardly wait to see what's in store at Thor's Menagerie, Freya's Owlery, or at Njörðr's Aquarium!

Patrick said...

Very cool idea, the Apiary; I recently decided that I just wanted to make things, get out and do stuff, experiment with ideas, just to see what comes of them too. It would be wonderful if some of them turned into money makers as well, but I'm really hoping that they're fun to do in the process. Somehow I fell out of touch with that impulse, having fun. Sounds silly, doesn't it. But I did.

The pagan/animist in me can't quite get away from the worry that invoking the name of a trickster on something you hope helps grow your career is risky... but maybe he will help expand your options, in startling, unpredictable ways.

Or you can decide that is all bullshit. Either way, I think it's cool.

Jeff Wills said...

Dave: All Odin's chillun's gots aminals. Well played, good sir.

Patrick: Doesn't sound silly; sounds familiar. Get out there. Also: You raise a good point! But my die is cast on that score. We'll see how rough the old gods play with me.