I am not an artist.

I was reading Chris J. Davis' post "Emptyness" today and it made me want to say something about art in my life.
Chris said, "I see the world through the eyes of the artist again, and dear God it scares me to death. "
That fear is, in my mind, a fantastic thing. It's so hard to know who you are, and even harder to live the life you want in your heart of hearts, but when you find it and go after it, the terror is a fulfillment in itself.
I am not an artist. I am, on my best days, a talented craftsman. I am a tinkerer. I take ideas that exist and try to make them fit into my life, and to be just a bit better when I can. I combine that which already exists and make something new out of it. Occasionally, when I am very, very lucky, my craft crosses the line and becomes art, but it does that of its own merit, not my own. I'm not trying to come off as modest or self-effacing. I'm proud of who I am. I'm proud of the skill that my craft requires. There's a quote I use in my sig file: "A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral." (Antoine De Saint-Exupery) The person who can envision that Cathedral and communicate that vision, is an artist. But it is the Craftsmen who actually turn a rock pile into a cathedral.

Try to figure out who you are... artist, craftsman, scientist, laborer, explorer, anything. And then be that person. Even if you have a job that pays the bills, that doesn't have to be who you are. If you have a job you love, and go home from every day feeling proud, you are lucky, because you have found who you are, and have managed to make that your job as well. But if you have a job that is just a job, don't let it become your identity. If you are an accountant, but every day when you get home, you make collages from magazines, then you are not an accountant, you are a collagist. If you are a police officer who writes potetry on your napkins at lunch, you are not a police officer, you are a poet. If you are a painter of portraits, but in your spare time, you tend a plant that grows in your apartment, you are not a painter, but a gardener. You can be who you are, regardless of your job. Be who you are and enjoy it. If you do that, you will probably enjoy the other things in life just a bit more as well. Even your job.

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