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The Starving Artist and the Unemployment Line

It’s official. I’ll enter the unemployment ranks by week’s end, and, quite honestly, I’m elated. For months, I’ve slogged through the daily motions, burned out and bored to tears, admittedly unable to capture the needed courage to up and say, “Screw it. I’m out”. This past week has been one of planning, mulling over a laundry list of possible goals, both personal and professional: Learn Dreamweaver, make another record, improve screenplay, and so on. Now comes the hard part of narrowing that list down to just a few, maybe just one.
My eventual “down time” will be anything but. “Work” will continue to be just that, except I’ll be punching in on my own clock, and that spells trouble. Apathy, complacency and some frustration will lurk with each task, whether it’s reading a manual, writing songs, improving my resume or writing cover letters. My success ultimately rests with my ability to stay disciplined. Sleeping in ’til 10 is out of the question. No “Movie Day” either. Whatever is fruitless and contributes little to the end product is gone. It’s not the impending financial strain that worries me most but staying on task, remaining singularly focused. Hell, while writing this, my nearby Stratocaster and its sensual curves are begging for my attention. Pray for me.
I was never defined by that job, and that’s why leaving is simple. That’s why getting the call was more exciting than it was devastating. New opportunities are ahead. First up: “Zeus”, a screenplay I cowrote, is set to film in late April back home in Western New York. It’s been a huge undertaking, from writing a coherent story, to getting locations, to coordinating schedules. Thankfully, my sole focus has been on the writing end and not on all the other stuff. I can thank Jeremy Hurlburt for that.
Thinking back over the years, it’s been the sudden, unexpected changes that brought about tremendous, positive change. Bad break-ups, failed friendships, a career choice that fell through completely, whatever, they all sanded down the rough edges and led to something better. I’m confident these next few obscure months will be similar. That, or I’ll be on your doorstep in the coming months, begging for table scraps and a couch to crash on for a few days, months. Like I said, pray for me.


Credit anthonylicari for finding this video, which I posted on Facebook a while back. “Starving for your art” isn’t exactly sexy. Bukowski says it best.