L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Yesterday, May 15th, was the seventeenth anniversary of my employment at Powell's Books.  Which is absolutely unfathomable to me.  I can't grasp what seventeen years looks like, what it feels like.  So much has happened in that time, but it also seems like that time hasn't passed at all.

(I guess I don't really understand how time functions.  I can't ever really pin it down.  I tend to be just a bit late for a lot of things, almost on time.  Though I nearly always make deadlines and appointments, it often feels as though there's some "higher power" making sure it all lines up for me.  I know some people speak of the passing of time as being an illusion.  That the past, present, and future exists, plays out, concurrently.  Maybe some sense of that concept rattles around in my brain and causes my vagueness.  For me, time floats.)

May of 1995 was also the month I began my career as a professional artist.  While the number of accumulated years still eludes my comprehension, as regards a professional artistic career, at least, seventeen years means something to me.  It means that I've worked hard, made a bunch of art, struggled a bit, learned a lot.  I can say, yes, I am an artist.  A mid-career professional artist.  That's who I am.  That's what I do.

For all of these seventeen years, being an artist and working at Powell's have been the twin aspects that were always the main focus of my attention. But in the last few years there's been a sharp change in the balance of that focus.  It's as though I've always had two lenses, and I would look from one to the other and back again.  For most of this time, my hours spent at Powell's got the bulk of my attention.  I put so much thought and energy - not always wisely deployed - into that environment.  And the view from that lens was always brightly lit and in focus.  By comparison, I was never able to see as clearly from the art lens.  My plans for advancing my career were always of the vaguest nature.  And I never had the time or energy to make enough art which, in turn, always sabotaged any plans I might have made clearer.  I always knew that in order to get further with my art career, I'd need to find a way to recalibrate my focus.

Thanks to some good counseling and working to get clear about what I really wanted to do with my life and career, and thanks to the perfect timing of the Artists Wanted award, I was able to go down to part time at work.  Which changed everything.  Now the balance is much healthier.  When I look through that day-job, part-time-work lens, things look fairly vague.  I can see it for what it is and give it its due, but it doesn't suck me in anymore.  When I look into the lens of my art-making career, the focus is sharp.  There are so many paintings to be made.

I don't know when the lens that represents Powell's will cease to exist.  Beginning, middle, and end aren't always easily distinguishable for me.  It's that time thing, I guess.  But any way I look at it, I'm grateful for the seventeen years so far, what they've taught me, and where they've lead.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely. The float of time has brought you right where you should be. Congratulations.