Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Reality & dreams

It was only after I fully woke up that I could begin to classify it as a nightmare. During the dream and for several hours afterward, it seemed logical, normal and inevitable that I should have been sentenced to death for an obscure misdemeanor, execution to be carried out next week, with no possibility of appeal. I had one more trip planned, and my aunt volunteered to take me to the airport. Only she was driving from the back seat; I urged her to get into the front, because 'there are no brake pedals back there,' then made a lunge for the driver's seat myself. Unfortunately my aunt was too quick for me, and steered the car directly into a pile of upside-down bicycles in the middle of the street. I yelled, "what are you THINKING?", my aunt burst into hysterical tears, and I hijacked one of the bicycles and headed off for the airport. Soon, however, I realized that among other problems, my watch had stopped, and it was already too late to make the flight. I considered the possibility of getting onto another flight, then thought, 'wait, I only have one day to live. Maybe I should spend it with my family.' My family were looking for me, but none of them seemed too distressed about my impending execution, and nobody had thought of a lawyer.

This is pretty directly connected to my current financial situation. Upon waking consideration I realized that 'impending execution' is EXACTLY how it feels. I'm almost out of money and I have not found a stable source of income in the three years I've been here. Jobs from hell are impossible to come by, and it makes me physically sick to think of doing one. Not enough art is selling and not enough clients are calling. I am at my fucking wit's end, and deep in the back of my mind, for the last year and half or so, I have been considering suicide as a more or less practical option.

If anybody tells me I am lazy I will pound them into the asphalt. I've written the cover letters and revised the résumés, I've put my heart and soul and most of my capital into starting my own business, which was slowly sabotaged, undercut and finally shattered by a scumball of a poorly-chosen boyfriend. I have bravely coped with both the subsequent depression and the psychological re-structuring necessary to ensure that I don't make such an idiotic mistake again. Simultaneously I have run and marketed a healing practice, hampered by the fact that I have to do it illegally, written another business plan and worked diligently to get it sufficiently financed; simultaneously I have run an art career, including applying for grants, residencies, exhibitions and fellowships, maintaining a website, publicizing hard-won exhibitions entirely by myself and, oh, I forgot, PRODUCING THE GODDAMN ART. That's THREE fucking full-time jobs. Three. And I am still spending roughly two thousand dollars a month more than I am earning.

I am angry and frustrated and miserable and I need some help. My aunt, as evidenced by her salient presence in my dream, is doing her best to help; in her ongoing, never-say-die quest for a rich husband, she has been corresponding with a 72-year-old Harvard lawyer in Long Island, whose son-in-law runs the type of art gallery that actually sells art for the kinds of prices you need to survive in New York City. Only her friend cannot manage to type in the URL to my website so that it actually appears on the screen. It's an easy URL and the last twenty-five times I checked it, it was working fine. But Oh Well. My aunt's heart is in the right place, and her common sense in these matters far outstrips my dad's, who last month was telling me I should check out Taos, New Mexico; evidently, they have galleries in Taos. Imagine that. I told him, okay, do you have a friend who buys expensive art, and who will recommend me to a dealer who sells expensive art, and is willing to pay to ship my art to Taos and promote it to a list of promising collectors? Because if not, I'm not interested. This Is Not A Game.

I hate to harp on the subject, but nobody is asking my brother-in-law the architect, who is currently working 80+ hours a week on a startup real estate development project and not drawing a paycheck, to get a temp job to pay the bills. Nobody is asking my brother the mechanical engineer, who also works 80+ hours at a startup which is not turning a profit after five (?) years in business, to work evenings as a bartender until someone buys a truckload of nano-silver. No, people are actually INVESTING in my brother and brother-in-law, and if I had any capital left, I would too. Only since I'm the only one who believes in me, I am my only venture capitalist. I wish I could sue myself.

I wasn't intending to make this post into a bitch session. I was hoping to qualify my last post, also a bitch session, by pointing out that it is actually a blessing that my former acquaintances are rude sons of bitches and not worth the effort. It makes it clear that I need a new set of friends; interesting friends, intelligent friends, stable and spiritual and loving and supportive. Grown-up friends. I have a few of those and I value them highly. Maybe I'm meeting more; I've recently joined an "Arts Circle" as a core and founding member, and the energy seems promising. All the members are grown-ups, with actual careers in the arts. They all have money issues too, but at least they take me, as well as themselves, seriously.

And I am practicing gratitude, and last week I did one of those housecleanings that involves delving in corners with funky vacuum cleaner attachments. I eradicated several black holes full of un-filed documents, gardening supplies and untidy stacks; I organized my bookshelves by subject AND color. I increased my usage of lavender oil and hacked at ancient repositories of cat pee. I pared down and harmonized the artwork. My home is a calmer, more nurturing place. I wish I didn't keep having visions of having to sell all my books, plants, cats, art and furniture in a sidewalk sale and move into my brother-in-law's parents' spare closet in Maine. They're nice people but even they would get sick of me after a month or two.

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