Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Uncharted territory.


I have a modus operandi, which I must stress only means a standard method of operating, not a standard method of committing crimes. I don’t have one of those. Although if I did, it would certainly be a part of that specific modus operandi not to do something so stupid as to discuss my modus operandi in a public forum like this one. Were I a criminal I would like to believe myself smarter than that. But I’m not a criminal. Or maybe I’m just saying that to throw you off my trail. But really, I’m not.

That paragraph got away from me. Where was I? Yes. My modus operandi. The legal one.

I’m often late. I don’t mean that in the sense of tangible presence and moment; I don’t mean that I’m often showing up for meetings and appointments several minutes after the agreed-upon time. On the contrary, I make a great effort to be punctual and usually am so.

What I’m talking about is a present that became past before I could discover it. I am talking about personal character revelations that I arrived at only to find them huffing impatiently and wondering what took me so bloody long. I avoided almost all rock music until about the fourth grade and have since then become something of an obsessive collector and student of the form. I cared little for politics and government until about junior high and now I jump headlong into debates with people whose faces I have never seen.

I spent seven years of my life thinking that I was best suited to a 9-5 office job, with its boring but stable rewards.

It has been nearly five months since I lost my last such job. Unlike the last time I was in this position, I’m not feeling that itchy pull to find another office job the longer I remain unemployed. Instead, the longer I’m away from the environment the more determined I am never to go back there again.

I have worked twelve days in the past five months in an office environment. The rest of the time I have been working as a writer, performer, teacher, marketer, and, most recently, touring coordinator.

None of this is steady; all of this requires hustle, creativity, and a sense of adventure. I’ve been rewiring my brain to adapt to this new paradigm, trying to understand that I’m not actually lost in the wilderness just because I’ve left the road I was previously traveling. It is scary and exciting and I wonder why it took me so long to realize how much more fulfilling it is for me.

In this past week I have taught two separate classes of enthusiastic third graders, negotiated a handshake agreement to send some Neo-Futurists to an exciting gig in another city, and spent some time with one of my favorite theater directors setting up a workshop reading of a new play I’ve written.

I was at a publishing company for three years, an asset management firm for one, and an insurance company for another three. I don’t miss any of these jobs at all. I don’t actually miss the decent health plan and the steady paycheck. I don’t miss the feeling of putting the whole of my effort and intellect towards projects I didn’t believe in. I don’t miss the grim realization that any second now my dissatisfaction was going to be noticed and my services were no longer going to be required by the employer.

I lost my job and something else was given back to me. It’s only taken me five months to notice it.

Modus operandi.

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2009 by in Mental Health, Neo-Futurists, Teaching, Work, Writing.
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