Loneliness, Love and Discipline

16 Jan

I know what I'm doing

I was thinking a lot about this blog in the last month, especially the question: Why does anyone read it??? And yesterday, while chatting with friends, they both – simultaneously and spontaneously – thanked me for my blog.

Independent of one another, they suddenly answered my unspoken question.

Friend 1 said:

Reading your blog sometimes makes me really melancholic and I wish to drink some vinho tinto (red wine) with you. I miss crazy lovely people like you….it is difficult to find some of those in this hardcore scientist community.

Friend 2 said:

you know, with my studies being very scientific and chemistry and machines and all that, reading your blog gives me the creative and literary input that is missing in my studies. although i really like what i do, it is always so refreshing to read your blog and something that gives me a lot is that you let us be a part of your creative process.

Scientists! So that’s what’s going on.

If you read my because you want to know what it’s like to make a living as an artist, because you want to see a life different from yours, or because you like the creative input and challenges –  well, I can provide all that, but in doing so, I vow to be honest. All the dirty, sad, hungry, exotic, tender truth.

a vow

I was recently at a dinner party, and there was some confusion as to what it is I actually do. I don’t have a routine: I give aerial silks training once a week, occasionally I give a circus or film workshop somewhere, and every now and then I have an aerial performance or give a reading. Other than that, I’m free to wander about or stare at my socks.

“I imagine that the most difficult thing is having the discipline to sit down, every day, and write,” someone said.

My answer surprised even me: “Actually, the most difficult thing is not getting a job. When you’re hungry, and worried about how to pay the rent, the most normal reaction would be to GET A JOB. But if you’re an artist, a film maker, or a writer, then that’s a wrong move. What you need to do is make money with your art. If you’re hungry and worried about the rent – what better motivation than to start publishing, start painting, start making films.

One week later, I have to say I was wrong. I’m looking for a part-time job at the moment, just to have the security of next month’s rent, and to get out of the house. I’m too good at isolating myself. My loneliness is my own fault.

Also: a part-time job is a good distraction from your art. It can give you surprisingly good input, and might just reinforce your artist career choice: “Thank god this is temporary, I could not do this the rest of my life…” You might just go home and write a little harder.

Amanda Palmer made a good point about being productive members of society, and how artists work in today’s society. I’m mostly just including this because I liked it a lot.

I spent the pre-Christmas days thinking a lot about discipline. I was supposed to be editing a film, and I just couldn’t get my shit together to do it. I had bad Christmas blues and my socialising was only happening online.

… And suddenly, SWR televison called. (This might seem a bit random so for a quick recap: I worked for SWR for 4 years and am still friendly with everyone at the radio & tv studio. I have given a few interviews on my work for both SWR radio and TV in the past. They call every now and then when they need an actress to do something strange or funny. The first time they called, they needed a Neanderthal. I have that video somewhere.)

usually, I did this

usually, I did this

I rarely got to do this, but when I did, I made sure I documented it with many pictures!

sometimes I got to do this

Back to pre-Christmas 2012! Journalist Bernd Schlecker wanted to do a piece about motivation and overcoming your “inner hound” (that’s a bit lost in translation – German: “innerer Schweinehund”). He wanted me to act and give a short interview on what it’s like being an artist who has to constantly overcome the inner fiend.

Just when I was thinking about that topic… television calls. How often in life can you say that?!?!

We filmed in my new apartment. We even filmed my bookshelf. Pictures by Mr Benjamin Paul.

IMG_6075

IMG_6076 smaller

IMG_6084

They came over bearing gifts: ice-cream, chocolates, and even more chocolates. The deal was that I eat everything for the film. I did my best.

shovelling ice-cream with cookies

the shovelling-ice-cream scene

the relaxing-on-bed scene

the relaxing-on-bed scene

On the 2nd January 2013, the piece aired on SWR. I was still on the road back from Hamburg, so I missed it (and missed telling you), but that’s okay, because you can watch it on the SWR Website:

http://www.swr.de/landesschau-bw/zoom/-/id=7263158/did=10798798/pv=video/nid=7263158/2q2qcg/index.html

Or here:

So… With all this going on… Why does my life still sometimes feel so empty? Am I ungrateful if I say that I sometimes feel like I’m missing my purpose?

For me, I think it all comes back to what I said in the beginning: when you’re an artist / writer, you can structure your life yourself … and mostly, you end up not structuring it at all. I said to a friend today: “Perhaps I should be living up the artist side of it more: I should get drunk, do drugs, go to sleazy bars…” Honestly? I don’t want to. So I mostly educate myself by reading, edit films, and write emails to convince people to hire my workshops.

Being a writer is such an abstract thing. I don’t have a painting or film I can point at. I have a book, but it’s not loud and it doesn’t come with colourful pictures. Complaining to Ben today, he agreed: “As a writer, you don’t really get feedback until your work is over.

And I realised: “Yes… BUT I HAVE MY BLOG.”

And with the blog, sometimes, just sometimes, things like this happen:

fromhannah

I celebrate every word of feedback, every email, and every card. This card was waiting for me in the mail. Among many beautiful lines, here is one I read over and over again:

I am excited about your novels, after the short extract I really can not wait for the whole book.

When I talk about LONELINESS, I mean my self-doubt and my isolation.

When I talk about LOVE, I mean your feedback. My work has been getting a lot of love. Thank you.

When I talk about DISCIPLINE, I mean my inspiration fuelled by you the audience – somehow interested, somehow touched.

You may think that I don’t know what I’m doing. Just because I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a plan. But I know what I’m doing, I do. I’m struggling to be a writer who needs to find out how to structure a writer’s life.

To Qayqa: It’s been a long Christmas break. Mark and I are meeting again this week to continue work on the illustrations.

To Munay: This is the book my notes are in. photoTranscribe notes into computer. Finish Munay. This is my year to focus on being a writer 100%. START. WRITING.

To all you artists / writers / film makers / dreamers out there: I’m scared too. I think too much. I stare at my socks (what SWR filmed is true). I don’t hide in sleazy bars, but I know plenty of artists who do.

But everyone I admire was scared, lonely and depressed. Everyone I admire thought they couldn’t do it.

I don’t know why we hide from what we love. I’m glad I have my blog to remind me that People Are Interested. Right now, I’m putting my words out into the wide internet, and I’m feeling understood. Tomorrow: Discipline.

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One Response to “Loneliness, Love and Discipline”

  1. friedrich glorian January 16, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    dear ritti, thanks for sharing all your thoughts, inspirations, motivation, worries of an artist, “all the dirty, sad, hungry, exotic, tender truth”. in fact, i am too busy to sit down and write my own story, but yours gets pretty close to what i would have to say. keep on going strong! love and light!

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