Tag Archives: starving artist

Over-Extended and Under-Funded: an Exercise in Remembering to BREATHE

Breathing… Breathing…

I have to remember to breathe.

I’m producing a Young Playwrights Festival, and although I’ve headed up smaller such things before, all the people (and kiddo) wrangling has got me feeling a tad overwhelmed.  I mean, this is quite a bit different than wrangling characters and inventing location… this is tangible, frustratingly human, manuevering…

And it’s got me cringing at all the variables.

Which is why I need to remember to breathe… that it’s all going to be just fine…  That ultimately, all the worrying and fretting don’t actually do anything except make you miserable.

But I am sitting here, wondering how in the world I got myself so mightily committed overall – I mean, I’m earning a 19-hour a week paycheck at my “job” and probably logging an additional 25 a week for non-paying endeavors:  There’s the Festival (Gah!) and rehearsals for the show I’m directing, and the countless emails from the other directors and committee members and… woof!  Then there are my blogs – I have a personal space that allows me to pontificate periodically on anything from cat-hairs in my breakfast to the agony and love-lust of art – plus I edit a larger scale Los Angeles-centric blog-collective with a bunch of other writers (Ahem, and might I say, we’re always looking for more people to blog for us, my fellow scribes!)  And then I have my playwriting log – which consists of an ever increasing list of characters and plot-lines banging down my mental door, demanding to be paid attention to…

No wonder I’m tired!

So I’m sitting here, in the midst of things, wondering just when the heck I’m going to be able to pay Visa back (and Mastercard, and Discover…) from all my below-the-poverty line living, and actually manage to eek out some sort of existence that doesn’t land me gasping for air and sanity every Friday night as I clutch my empty wallet in shame over my under-funded dinner…

Woe. Is. The. Playwright.

And yet…

I can’t fathom having a laundry list of over-compensated-for tasks that looks like an accountant’s sheet… I can’t imagine finding happiness in a full-time paycheck if it was sans-flexibility for these things that alternately drive me crazy and flood me with joy… I NEED to be able to flit from project to project; writing, directing, producing, editing… I NEED THE UNCERTAINTY!   I just want to get paid better for it 😉

So… as I sit down at my desk and hammer out a few fumbling sentences here, I’d just like to tell the universe that I’m not complaining – not really.   I am so thankful for my life – I’d just like my life to start paying for itself so that I can afford the massages I need to soothe the worries my over-committments manifest and to move out of my parents house and into some big-girl living once again.

But until that happens, I guess I just have to continue to remind myself to B-R-E-A-T-H-E.

Equality Now and the Monday Artist Blues

I was more than happy to be a fill-in blogger this week, my imagination already percolating with a crock-pot of thought… Then I went and started a new job… the capitalist inside of me (and lets face it, the survivalist as well) is veeeeery happy to be (finally!  Hallelujah) earning a paycheck at last.  The artist inside is a bit nervous about the next two weeks of “project necessary full-time-ness.”

Even though I know it’s only two weeks of this 40-hour business, my little muse is shaking in her boots at all the writing she may not get done… and it’s not necessarily that she was projecting a wordsmithing windfall, it’s just that now, if she does want to bury herself in verbage, she’s going to have to do so late into the night…


And so it goes… the starving artist taking what she can, cobbling together a patchwork type of life made of imagination, tender typing, and hard-earned bread.

In any case, I’m going to amuse you today with this little gem a dear friend forwarded to me (see below for link) – it’s an acceptance speech by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, Firefly) as he receives an award from Equality Now, an organization his mother founded to support women.  He is being honored for creating so many strong women characters, and I think the things he says about his choice in creating these wonderful roles are very moving and inspiring!  Just the type of fodder for a good Monday start.


Joss Whedon’s Equality Now speech