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Of fans and supporters

Merriam-Webster defines support as a verb meaning, among other things, “to promote the interests or cause of” and “to pay the costs of” and “to keep (something) going”. My husband of over twenty years does all that and then some. He promotes my art interests every time he talks to someone about my work or gets me new supplies. By working full time, he pays the costs of, well, all of me. He keeps my art going through home-based writing retreats and small doses of encouragement. My husband is my biggest supporter, and I am incredibly gobsmacked that he’s here and not the only one.

My husband, however, is not my biggest fan. Merriam-Webster says a fan is “an enthusiastic devotee” or “an ardent admirer or enthusiast”. He is not devoted to my work, and I don’t think one could describe him as an ardent admirer of that work. As a younger artist, I believed my spouse should be my biggest fan. I thought that if he didn’t Love my work – with a capital L – then my work must not be worth much. I believed that because he was a musician he would innately understand me as a writer. And I spent literal years trying to write for an audience of one: him.

Over the years, he was always honest and never cruel. He would say things like, “this isn’t the kind of story I tend to like.” Or, “that’s a philosophical story and I like adventure stories.” Or even, “reading your work puts me in the awkward position of telling you what I think even when I don’t care for it, so please don’t ask me to do it.” He would remind me that he didn’t know much about art and that I should take his opinion as just that, one opinion. I couldn’t. I didn’t.

Until after 40. If you haven’t turned forty, let me tell you, it is a whole new level. Still, I would adore making my husband laugh or cry or fall in love with a character through my words, but now I don’t need to. I do not write for him. I’ve reclaimed that terrible burden he never deserved and started writing for myself. You’d have to ask him to be certain, but I think this has given him the space to read my stuff more readily and give more feedback.

I discovered that my biggest fan is me. As it should have always been. [Next biggest is definitely my mom, and that’s huge.]

It’s okay for my loved ones to support me in ways other than fandom. It doesn’t subtract from our relationships. It makes them more full, perhaps paradoxically, because I’m set free to write anything at all, and they are free to adore anything at all. The Venn diagram may not overlap, but our hearts do. (How’s that for sappy?)

Keep your fans close, your supporters closer, and art for yourself always.

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The Year of Intentional Living, Part 2

I make few assumptions about you. You, as passersby of this blog, don’t have a predetermined image in my head. So when I write of my goals for 2015, understand that I am simply oversharing a piece of my life. I have absolutely zero fantasies, desires, or aims to push off my goals onto you.

My theme for 2015 – The Year of Intentional Living – focuses on multiple facets of my life, the life I intend to have. My areas of intentional living are based on my life where it exists today. I didn’t look to a book or blog to see where my focus should be. I looked to the life I already have. I examined that life. I looked at my many flaws and all the things I do that set me away from the path I desire.

Then I broke my life into those chunks that I want to foster. My chunks of life might be similar to yours but only by coincidence. I’ll not hold you to my chunks of life and I’ll not be held to yours. And that’s okay. We could be different in a gajillion ways, in everything from personal demons to family of origin differences, from religion to age to what we’ve already learned to what we have left to learn.

We embrace one another’s differences by acknowledging that differences are not the enemy. Consider yourself embraced.

Here is a streamlined breakdown of my theme that I developed in November and December:

Theme: The Year of Intentional Living. This time next year I will be the person I intended daily to be.

Purpose: In 2015 I will live with intention. I will act intentionally to strengthen my everyday commitments to my God, marriage, parenting, body/mind health, career, resources, and socialization.

Categories:

  1. My God
  2. My Marriage

  3. My Parenting

  4. Myself

  5. My Career

  6. My Resources

  7. My Socialization

For each of these areas, I have set goals that can be measured and planned and executed. Each goal has a set of actions intended to achieve the goals.

As you can see, these are areas that matter to me. Now. Once upon a time I had no marriage to include on a list like this one. I had no children. I had no career. But I had other things, other concerns, other areas of growth and development. They were important and I was invested in them, as I am in these areas now.

In the next seven posts, I’ll go into further detail for each category’s goals, necessary actions, and reviews. If you share one or more of these categories, perhaps you and I can encourage one another in our separate goals. If you are wholly different, perhaps you and I can encourage one another in our separate goals. I mean, I’ll be oversharing, and who wants to do that alone?

Welcome to 2015, however you 2015.

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