A Moment of Pause…

A moment of pause…
You take a deep breath before diving in…
Check you’re in gear before letting out the clutch…
A brief perch on the edge of the sofa…
A weekend…
The rainy Tuesday when plans go awry…
Sit on the edge of the bed wrapped in a towel, before getting dressed…
Standing by the kettle waiting, staring into the garden…

These moments are either accidental, or built in, so why do we feel guilty when it happens on a slightly larger scale?

I’ve not posted here for a couple of weeks, because I’ve been in a moment of pause…

Waiting doesn’t seem to be a productive, busy thing to do, but it seems (to me) to take up a lot of brain space. I try not to worry or over think, but it tends to happen anyway… those staring out of the kitchen window moments particularly… imagining my way through all potential scenarios… the grateful Oscar acceptance speech, or the grace-in-defeat smile and nod…

To protect oneself it can be wise to think of the alternative route to your goal.

Or a different goal.

Anyway… the point of this is that the moments of pause are nutritional. They build resilience, and further, they build a sense of the anti-fragile.

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antifragile)

I have had a certain amount of success with funding. And I’ve had my fair share of failure and rejection too. I have a bit of a bee in the bonnet about artists who pretend they live off their work, and pretend not to have a midnight shelf-stacking job at Asda (or similar). This does nobody any good. Very few of us live off our art. Almost all of us actually gain income from elsewhere. For me, for years it was in education of all sorts, arts and otherwise. Now I’m not teaching (much), I am fortunate to be older, financially stable if strapped for cash quite often. I am a woman of modest requirements, but with an unfortunate expensive paper habit.

My income has come from workshops, sporadic sales and commissions, and the biggest sums have come from The Arts Council (the darlings!), for which I am grateful. But you have to be bloody minded to keep at it.

The next project on my horizon is all about The Tenth Woman. I applied for funding for it last year, thought I had it sussed. ACE thought it over complicated, and once I had stopped swearing and crying and looked at it rationally, so did I. And this is where the Antifragile comes in I suppose. But it takes a strength to do it. I edited, rewrote, and resubmitted it. This actually took months to steel myself to do. I was fragile, but determined. ACE want to give the money out, they HAVE to… so if I want it, if you want it, you have to do it the way they need it done. I know there are blips and glitches with the process, ffs, THEY know it too! But it has to be done. They will help if you ask. Asking can be difficult, accessing the access help can actually be a thing, but that’s a different post that others have done elsewhere…

But I was refused again.

I can be a delicate little flower, but I can also be tough, thick-skinned and I like to think I have insight, and that I conduct myself professionally. A certain detachment is required: they didn’t reject me or the artwork, they rejected the way that I had written the application, in light of all the others on the table at the same time. And they told me why.

So this week I have resubmitted with that information in mind. I know this is a good project, and they actually told me they liked its “innovative artistic outcomes” but one part of the form was weaker. So I dusted myself off, rewrote that bit, and resubmitted. And now I wait with baited breath again. 

I’m writing it here because I think acknowledging failure is a good thing. That’s where the learning happens. If they say yes this time, it will be because I’ve worked bloody hard to get it. For weeks. And if some bloody idiot tells me “oh you’re really lucky!” I might actually beat them.

So now I have a six-week moment of pause…

But it’s ok, because I sold some work that enabled me to order another roll of big posh paper!

If it fails again, I will cry again.

Put the kettle on, and stare out of the window.

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