Wednesday, January 28, 2009

identify yourself!

it's so easy. once you DO your calling, it's so easy to just say, "i am a truckdriver." "i am a mechanic." "i am a teacher." "i am an artist."

i know truckdrivers. they drive trucks and get a paycheck every week or two. mechanics too. i know some. they turn their wrenches, they get a paycheck. teachers are the same. they pass on knowledge and understanding, do what they do, get some meager compensation for it. they do it because they have the call. because they need to. and they get paid to.

so many people identify themselves by what they do with the majority of their time, or by what they do to earn money. "i'm a barista." "i'm a cashier." people who dig in the earth looking for old stuff call themselves archeologists. folks who look after other folks and recommend medications and treat maladies and sign their name illegibly call themselves doctors. by this identification process, i am not an artist. i am an apparel buyer or a keeper of records. i am not an artist.

there, i said it. i am not an artist. i make art, but i am not an artist. or maybe, we need to rethink our position on this whole identity thing. maybe people who drives trucks across this great wide country, delivering milk and fruit and potatoes and oreos to grocery stores, and spend their off hours sitting at old wooden benches under bright lights, moving tiny gears and springs inside the body of an old clock should call themselves horologists. maybe people who fix cars and trucks during the day and also play in bands in small, smoky, dark bars at night should call themselves musicians. maybe people who make coffee for other people on one of those kooky retail schedules and still manage to ride their bikes 300 miles a week, gutting out grueling climbs, rising at 5AM to simply get a ride in, should call themselves cyclists.

maybe people who devolop planograms for apparel sections in retail stores, and track warranty claims, and make spread sheets to keep track of department budgets, and who also make pictures with things like paper and canvas and pencil and ink and paint and pain and tears and laughter, should call themselves artists.

maybe we should identify ourselves with our callings rather than our occupations. someday, we could be lucky enough to identify ourselves with our occupation and our calling because they will be the same. live the dream, or die trying.

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