I LOVE the Renaissance Festival. It comes every spring to Fairburn, Georgia and my husband and I always go, usually twice, but the first time is on or around our anniversary. It was the first place we went on a date. I love being surrounded by a different time, by people who craft a life out of passions and art and craft and talent. It's a brave life, or so I think, that they lead. Perhaps they have nine to fives. Perhaps they only do it on the weekends because it brings them much needed joy and respite. But I like to imagine it's what they do all the time. The glassblower will go back to his studio in June and create more wares, sell them via 21st century means, and travel on to the next Renaissance Fair, far, far away. The bookbinder, the candle maker, the acrobats, the hatter, the jeweler: masters at their art. Years of practice, of sacrifice, of failures and successes.
And every year I pause and ask myself: why am I not there yet?
Do I want to live in a festival? Honestly, yes. I think it would be a blast to waltz about in medieval garb, speaking the king's English. But there's more to that "out there". More life, more people, more opportunity.
One year is a long time. It is. 365 days. 8,760 hours. That much time to hone my craft, to get my elbows dirty, to cake the ink on these fingers and nails. And yet another hour ticks by and nothing. Emptiness.
My heart has felt that emptiness for a long time. It's not just the Renaissance Festival that reveals it. It's the articles, the quotes, the lives I see daily who have stepped out in faith to accomplish their dreams, who have persevered, who have fought and bled and died a little just to see the dream birthed.
It's a struggle daily to sit and feel this sense of un-accomplishment, of nothingness. It's hard to show up at family reunions and grin and nod when everyone's talking and asking "So, what is it you do again?". Shuffling feet, looking away, trying to find an excuse to get another plateful and not answer the inevitable.
I long to smile, to greet the question enthusiastically. "I'm a writer and an artist." I'd hand them my card. They would smile, maybe even, wistfully, sigh and say, "I wish it was me." To which I would reply, "It can be! Let me show you how."
But for now, I fight. I ache. I long. I weep. And again I fight and fight and fight. Why? Because it's what I believe in. No matter how many hours I must sit and do the monotonous while dreaming of the great, of the work that will take me to the hurting and the hungry. I fight because I know that to give up is to die. I think I also fight because I know, deep down, somewhere that's sometimes un-mappable, that it's meant to be and if I just keep going, moving on, I'll get there. And perhaps one day, I'll be able to help another struggler through my own stories. That is, after all, what we're here for.
How do you handle the downs of this creative life? How do you keep going? We all struggle and we all triumph. If you're struggling at the present time (as I am) don't give up, keep fighting, and by all means, keep in touch. It's never good to walk alone. ~ do forgive my long ramblings.