make it work


There is nothing more certain and unchanging than uncertainty and change. – John Fitzgerald Kennedy

It is especially in times like these that we need to look to the spiritual. In art we find it. – Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney

I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out. – Oscar Wilde


Certum ex Incertis.

Certainty out of uncertainty.

That’s the motto of the Institute of Actuaries. And it is the furthest thing from life as I know it.

I was talking with someone who works in a corporate setting about the way the workplace has changed since the economic collapse of ’08  (if you live in my world, or LA in general, it really began one year prior). As he talked about how difficult it was to deal with the unexpected changes that occurred, I explained that while it doesn’t necessarily make it easier, the reality of a life in the arts is that the rug can always be pulled out from under you. And you’re aware of it all the time. All. The. Time.

While I totally reject the stereotype that creatives must fit a certain mold – I know as many artists who could be labeled Type A as Type B – the one thing we all share is a passion for what we do that is so strong, so all-encompassing, that we take on the frightening uncertainty of our work because we can’t live without it. That passion comes with a certain amount of baggage. The kind of baggage that gets lost all the time. All. The. Time.

I think that this corporate exec thought I was kind of crazy. (Maybe totally crazy.)

There are days when the notion of a desk job is like a Calgon moment. A schedule that is consistent and predictable. Don’t get me wrong, I still imagine loads of work, responsibility, workplace drama and frustrations. But I also imagine each day, at roughly the same time, closing a door and walking away. A door that isn’t attached to my house. Work that must wait until tomorrow because, sorry, I’m not at the office right now. And I can shrug and go back to enjoying my weekend. FADE OUT.

For me, the seven days of the week are muddled at the edges. There is no consistent schedule, no punching in or out. Writing deadlines and design jobs and photo shoots are a juggling act, but I love the challenge. It’s the only life I really know. And I love it. Even when I hate it.

My friends Paul and Cariann have fostered this incredible community to champion indie artists, called cargoh. And their motto, which I will henceforth refer to as the motto of the Institute of Cargoh, is one I hold close to my heart:

Diligo quis vos operor quod is mos diligo vos tergum.

For those who don’t use English to Latin translation sites to try and sound clever, it says :

Love what you do and it will love you back.

And I do. All the time. (Well, 99.9% of the time – especially when I can run errands at 10am on a Tuesday when Santa Monica is empty because everyone else is working normal hours.)


2 thoughts on “make it work

  1. Peter Tonguette

    My favorite time to go to the bookstore? Mid-afternoon, Wednesdays or some other day in the work week. It’s a little-known perk of freelancing. 🙂


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