Living an Artist’s Life in a Workaday World

(A How-To)

A Distractions & Subtractions post for Dianne Gray

It’s hard to know whether there’s been an era more detrimental to living the life of an artist than the current one.

The temptation is certainly strong to say there hasn’t been – that the Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, the Renaissance (wo)men, the Elizabethans, and the Romantics with their sculpture and architecture, their mosaics and genre scenes, their busts and paintings, their music, literature and frescos, their theatre, and their landscape-focused writing, painting, and composing that seem to burst from the pages of history texts all revered their artists.

Maybe they did.

But perhaps their artists suffered the historical equivalent to what many artists face today – that is to say, a stifling daily grind of the working world with all its attendant hassles that is the sworn enemy of creativity.

There’s the commuting, the budgets, deadlines, overtime, stagnation, trying to do more with less, spending more hours a week at work than not at work, and the constant competition for more, better, and now that exemplifies a consumer-based economy.

All of these practicalities of life leave the modern artistically-inclined especially feeling drained, de-animated, and deprived of the space, reflection, and deliberation required to let loose their imaginations and give their creative musings a tangible form.

Such is no different for national/international award winning Australian author Dianne Gray, whose writing subtraction speaks wholly to this artist/workaday dichotomy many of us struggle to reconcile.

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“Leave Out All the Rest” (or, How Linkin Park reminded me that readers often read different things into writing than writers actually wrote)

So, finally, this week, the long-awaited Linkin Park concert occurred in Vancouver.

I’ll answer two questions right off the bat: 1) Yes, it was awesome, and 2) no, it won’t be the last concert I ever go to.

I was quite surprised, however, by the set list the band selected to play.  Not because they played songs I didn’t know or like (I know and like almost all of Linkin Park’s songs, so that’s never a concern).  Rather, it was because their set all at once caused me to perceive the band in a different way than I’d previously done all the years I’ve been a fan, since 2000.

Which, in turn, recalled me to the fact that what a music-lover/reader/viewer takes away from a song/novel/movie/TV show/etc. might be wildly different from the intended message of the artist that produced it.

At times, I was quite stridently reminded of this fact.

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The Answer to the Big Question

Rule of Engagement 3.1

Back in 2002, I decided to take a much more serious approach to my writing and the pursuit of publication than I had to date.  I then began searching for a way to convey this change of status to others in a manner that was both concise and wouldn’t misrepresent the true extent of my skills and achievements.

In short, I wanted to know if it was okay to start calling myself a “writer”.

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The First Rule of Engagement, or “How Routine Can Work Wonders for Artists”

You didn’t think The Rules of Engagement was just a name I gave this blog to make it sound kickass, did you?

Anyone who knows me (which, admittedly, not many do yet by way of this blog, but perhaps, in time, that will change) knows that I love rules.  Seriously.  Someone actually accused me once of taking the proverbial “rule book” to bed with me at night.  It’s hardly something I can deny; I did already out myself on my “About” tab as being fairly left-brained, rational, and rigid, and to quote (or misquote) Popeye, “I am what I am”.  But my love of rules is not because I lack sufficient imagination or ability to think for myself, but rather, I find that when the structure and consistency that rules promote is in place, creativity and imagination are able to flourish.

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