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Too many hats



This is an illustration that I’ve done for a children’s book, but it struck me that it was very appropriate to my life. I am trying to wear too many hats! I am trying to be a writer, a cartoonist, a freelance graphic artist, a teacher, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a gardener, a, a, a — it’s all too much. I keep on trying to figure out how I can take some of these hats off and simplify my life. I don’t feel like I spend enough time on anything. Everything’s rushed, compromised, pushed out by other demands.

But perhaps this is what life is like. Creative time is to be snatched at. Tolstoy wrote at the edge of the family dining table. So did Patricia Grace. Raymond Carver wrote in his car to avoid interruptions. Katherine Mansfield’s journals are full of laments at how little time she is getting to write, how disrupted she is by illness. Perhaps we don’t need great stretches of time – perhaps we only need moments of clarity. I do lots of my thinking when I’m not at my desk – when I’m biking, walking to school, stirring the porridge. 

I imagine what I could produce if only I had time. I question why I’m even trying to produce anything in the first place – who cares? I’m never going to be great. Is it my ego that’s motivating me? Or am I just a compulsive communicator? If only I didn’t feel the need to write and draw – then perhaps I could get a job that would satisfy me. I wouldn’t need to do a hundred things to make ends meet.

Anyway, I’m procrastinating – I have something due today. And on Monday. I’d better get back to it. I want to write a comic for my Mansfield project – I just discovered that the painting that hung my grandmother’s wall, the one of my uncle Jim holding his teddy bear cousin Sandra as a baby, was painted by Edith Bendall, Katherine’s one-time lover. I haven’t seen the painting for 12 years but I can see it perfectly in my mind. It’s a portal. It’s a gift.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. frances hansen permalink
    08/11/2013 12:13 pm

    awwwah, you are GREAT at many things!!! being a guest speaker for one, I am sorry I missed you out at MIT the other week, FX

  2. 08/11/2013 1:44 pm

    Like your comment about needing “moments of clarity” if we can’t have oodles of time.

  3. Drew permalink
    08/11/2013 5:55 pm

    Just resign from your jobs, escape your family, kill your friends, and burn down your garden. Voila!

  4. 08/11/2013 6:27 pm

    Don’t let yourself get pulled down into that “slough of despond”! I found this William Carlos Williams poem today.
    “It is difficult to get the news from poems
    yet men die miserably everyday for lack
    of what is found there.”
    If that’s not a call to arms for all artists I don’t know what is.

  5. 09/11/2013 11:30 am

    Your art makes a difference in my life. I wouldn’t see the world the same way without your perspective, communicated in the way only you can.

  6. 11/11/2013 8:56 am

    Love the hats! Totally understand the overdose of things that need to be done. Before I’ve crossed any one thing off my list I’ve added two more!


  1. #grindspoem—short poems from the spaces in between | lisa jeans

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