At the rate I'm going, I should be done with this canvas sometime by the time Anevay goes off to college. And to think, I want a total of 20 embroidered canvases! (with this one included, I'll have six)
The last couple of days I've been wondering why I've chosen embroidery as my most recent medium (for both clothing and canvases). It's incredibly time-consuming, is giving me wicked callouses on the ends of my fingers, and is not the most efficient way to make money (the long hours I put into making my things barely make my small handful of sales worth it).
I do know that I find the work calming, and that the last few years I had to spend working for rich assholes were hurried, making it difficult to sit and take time to do anything for myself.
I won't pretend that embroidering is meditative (um, although sometimes it really is), but it does put me into a different state of mind than my usual multi-layered, shaded sketches and little paintings. Needing to concentrate on just a few lines is not something I'm accustomed to doing, nor is it easy for me. In the past, I rarely had the time.
My unemployment checks run through the summer, and will stop in early autumn. I'm still looking for work (obviously), and am trying to keep up my optimism, but the last couple of days I am feeling quite down, and as a result, am questioning all of the many projects I'm working on. In fact, this morning I couldn't write a single word in my novel. It wasn't writer's block as much as writer's disgust.
In a few weeks I turn 33. There's nothing to make me feel my mortality like being dirt-poor. In reflection, I never thought this is where I'd be at this age. I realize that many of my own decisions have brought me to this point (um, I have the mentality of an artist, rather than a banker, and have therefore made decisions based not on making as much money as possible, but trying to follow my art... ironic, as I worked in finance for three horrible years just to pay the bills), but I still can't help but wonder when (if?) some of my projects will pan out.
I think that feeling a little doubt is healthy- it will kick me into overdrive, and will make me produce more than if all my ducks were in a row. I have more to prove, after all. (although really, I feel a need to only prove myself to Anevay, my parents, and myself) I do not have a partner to help with Anevay, nor am I independently wealthy. (And yet, go figure, most of the advice I'm given comes from either parents in partnerships or from people who come from money.)
The thing that I'm worried about the most is that when I do find work again, I'll have to take a position in which I'll be just as miserable as I was at the last one. I have no aversion to hard work, but man, I'll tell you, I'm just not sure I have it in me to have the rest of my soul sucked out of my body.
Oh, man. I just read the paragraphs above and realized how lame I sound. Nothing better to kick myself out of a funk than realizing how pathetic it is to be in that funk! I'm usually a little less self-depricating... And a hell of a lot more joyful.
I'm going to try to walk around this weekend as though a lightbulb has been turned on above my head. That way, even if I don't yet understand my path- and even if I can't yet see all of the ideas that will make me walk it- at least I can feel bathed in its light.
Jeez. Now I sound like a totally insane nutcase who spends all my time reading self-help books (which I really, really don't, in fact, quite the opposite... the idea of self-help books gives me hives, unless I someday write one that makes me millions).
OK. Skip the lightbulb...
Instead, I'm going to hop on a train with Anevay and go to Coney Island and the aquarium. Maybe today I should skip work of any kind, and just enjoy the last day (besides the weekend) of my kid's vacation.
Although you know what? I'm getting the giggles after writing all the crap I just wrote above. Joy is once again taking hold... In fact, I'm feeling motivated... An idea just popped into my head for the next canvas. (I think I'll be bringing along my sketchbook to the aquarium today, as I'm envisioning sea creatures in suits sitting around a conference table)
Maybe I can figure out a way to make embroidery lucrative... Anyone out there want his or her portrait done in embroidery thread?
I am Melissa Banigan. I've been many things under the sun, but am currently a single mom raising an amazing kid in Brooklyn, writing novels and short stories, and working on some art (canvases and paper). I also, under the moniker melifera, produce off-the-cusp embroidered clothing and bags.