Confessions of a part-timer, Chapter III, Sunday 9 September 2018
‘Don’t be a mard arse.’
It’s what my Mum and Dad and Aunty used to say to me when I was whining about being left behind on Holme Avenue by my cousins, during a game of man hunt, because I couldn’t run fast enough from Old Man Tanner (real name withheld even though he can’t get me in Australia). Or whinging because of the perceived slight served by Ben who’d cheated at kerby (or won fair and square), and/or crying because of the femur-length friction burn resultant of Michael driving me down the stairs on his toy quad bike to get me to stop with the incessant bossiness.
I was reading a post from a very talented artist last night who talked about the overwhelming social pressure to find your passion and that finding purpose is messing people’s heads up. Don’t get me wrong, I like the sentiment – the intent is kind and reassuring. I hearted the post, even. But on the other hand, I now question whether I liked it because I feel pressured to dedicate significant amounts of my time to the thing I’ve publicly declared my passion, and I sometimes resent that pressure because it’d just be easier to do nothing at the weekend.
Months ago now, I got really angry when Chris told me how it was. I was being a mard arse. Actually, I was being lazy and then whining about the creative struggle and how hard it is to split my time up between making money and my art and blah, blah, blah. Like I said already, I got proper angry. Because lazy is something I dislike in people because I dislike it (and ignore it) in myself. And then I got upset because I couldn’t ignore it and I needed to get back up off my arse and back to it.
We can be too soft with one another sometimes. We’re basically giving the people we care about most – all with their own things they love to do – an excuse to do something easier instead. Making them feel like there’s no expectation, when there is.
Setting a standard to push towards isn’t a bad thing, is it? It seems to me that the creative process only comes alive for me when there’s some form of accountability. So, are social pressure and accountability the same thing? Without that creative tension, maybe the words I come out with would be liked stewed sprouts (no butter, no salt, no bacon). Maybe they’re still sprouts but more on the al dente side.
Social pressure is where my creativity lives, I think. Maybe. Where the ideas come from. Social pressure gets me to think more, ask questions. Dig a bit, think a bit, ruminate.
I liked the post. I thought ‘hear, hear!’ Then it got me thinking about what was wrong with it. When I write, I think about opposites, arguments, the parts in characters that are completely contradictory. And I might not get there if I didn’t have something to reel against.
But it can be toxic – no doubt about it. And that’s what the artist was really talking about, I reckon. Pressure in a social context – the non-toxic kind, though, might be central to the artistic endeavour. Without doubt, I’ve taken the post literally. And it serves my purpose, of course. But I’m saying that pressure itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s a catalyst or something, I don’t know…
As my husband, I want Chris to want me to do the best I can. When I’m going through actual turmoil, he’ll just listen. But also, he’ll call me out on being a mard arse when I’m whining because the thing I love to do is hard.
Don’t be a mard arse, Aimee Coleman.
Confessions of a part-timer, Wednesday 22 August 2018
Confessions of a part-timer, Wednesday 15 August 2018
‘Aren’t you a writer now?’ She asks brightly.
‘Yes, yes I am,’ I say, and at the same time, I clip myself around my own ear-hole for not being folded over my phone on my commute to the esplanade. It was the sun you see, it was just watching as the clouds fled like a pack of colourful runners bunched up at the front and thinning out towards the end where the pace peeled off. They distracted me, and she seized.
‘Changed your mind, did you then?’ The way she says ‘then’ makes me drag a breath from my feet. She’s rolled a little curiosity grenade at me and it’s metamorphosed; it sits licking my boot like a teeny tiny kitten at a military themed fancy dress party. This kitty’s come as a little hand grenade purse and I can just make out a slogan beneath the serial number: curiosity killed me.
‘No, I just—' I’m confused because I think I know what she’s getting at, but I need her to clarify before I line out my defence. She’s done this dance before; she sees it: my enquiry.
‘’Cause I thought you said you were going to do it full-time and then Sam said she saw you at her meeting the other day.’
‘Yeah, Sam, that’s right, I did, yeah. That was really weird. She’s my friend’s direct report, bizarrely.’ I think I’m effervescent now.
‘Your post on Insta was great by the way, really inspiring! Thought about doing something else myself. But…’ There is a head tilt. It’s not my imagination. Or neuroses.
‘Yeah… It’s just… errr… well it’s my long-term plan. I’ll get there.’ I’m not sure what I’m trying to achieve here but I’m definitely looking up at the cracking sound – the man flicking out his towel on the balcony up there.
‘Ha! Yeah, it’s difficult making money from your hobby, isn’t it?’
Hobby. I fucking hate that word. When she says it, the other version of me in the infinity continuum (with all the Shakespeare monkeys and infinite iterations of plant-based curry) – catches the fallen towel with my ham-fist as it glides from its rail and now I’m chewing on the chalky corner of it. I probably look like I’m disguising a yawn.
‘I mean it’s not just—’ Why does my voice sound so mousy?
‘Mmmm. Good luck anyways, we should catch up for coffee soon. I’d love to hear all about it.’ Her eyes steer the rest of her body away from me.
‘Oh fuck off.’
Confessions of a part-timer, Wednesday 15 August 2018.
You know I’m a nutter, right? You know I make all this shit up in my head, don’t you? This dialogue didn’t really happen. Well it did. But just in my head. I made it. I’m dead creative, me.
This is the next chapter of my blog. It’s the confessions of a part-timer. It’s just about me part-timing. Doing a bit of work. Doing a bit of writing.
If you saw my Adventures of a part-timer Instagram post, you’ll already know that in my family, part-timing is synonymous with being a workshy little bleeder. Like I said, nasty business: the part-timer part-timing. It’s time to confess.