Lately I’m beginning to wonder if its normal for artists to have to endure the irritating assumption that not being in a full time job is the result of some kind of personal failure rather than intent. Those who operate exclusively within the generally accepted norms of society (attire, sexual preference, religion, employment, diet etc etc) seem to all too frequently experience difficulty accepting those who elect any kind of alternative to the commonly accepted behaviour.

I know I’ve always found it confusing as hell when I’ve met meat-eaters who take the news that I am vegetarian as though I’ve just told them that I ran over their grandmother with a pick-up truck then stopped only to steal her purse before careening away into the night towards the nearest lentil burger. Why my personal life choices, which have no affect on their individual realities whatsoever, should enrage and aggravate them is beyond me. Perhaps something in the vast quantities of flesh they consume causes them to be so pugilistic.

More recently I’m struggling with articulating the fact that I do not have a permanent full time job because I WANT it that way. The primary reason for this is to allow me time to pursue my life ambition of writing and creating art. Working in education, I’ve found it common for many of my colleagues to transmogrify into proud progenitors before the ink on their shiny new hard earned degrees is even dry. This, obviously, is never questioned as a dubious decision. We have a genetic and social imperative that pushes us towards procreation and so giving up employment to raise children is always socially acceptable. Making the same choice in order to create, however, does not seem to elicit the same response.

My book is my baby. My art baby. I am going to deliver it kicking and screaming into a world that will either adore it or deplore it, embrace it or disgrace it and, much like a parent, there is only so much I can do to control any of these outcomes for my freshly spawned offspring.

I have to go now. It’s feeding time.