the last two weeks have largely been spent gearing up for this night. funny thing about the title "sommelier": people expect a master sommelier. there is only one level in the eyes of the guest: expert. i'm pretty good but i'm not a master. there's only a few of those in the entire world, actually, and i doubt i'll ever be one of them. my attentions are too divided. my first loves claw and scratch at my heart and mind. its been hard to make myself sit and read about wine lately when i'd rather be reading Joan Didion or Jean Rhys. its been hard to sit down and study when what i really want to do is paint and crochet and snap pictures. i was so much more prolific when i didn't have a day-job. ;)
that's the rub. the thing we were all warned about in art school. the difficulty of maintaining a practice once the full brunt of a full-time work week strikes. its taken me nearly 8 years to feel the strain of it but here it is... i really wish i could just stay in the studio all day. i really wish i could pound these keys for a few hours every morning after i write in my diary and have that be my life.
and i know it's like that for very few people. generally, only people who have paid their dues: finding a way to write or paint or X despite having to hold down a day job. this divided sense of self is part of the apprenticeship, i suppose. a proof of dedication. the ability to stay true to the calling regardless of strain or exhaustion, to go to the studio after work and put in a few more hours before bed, to sacrifice hanging out in bars with friends to go struggle with the work instead, to hone "The Talent of the Room."
walking to the train yesterday to (slightly begrudgingly) go to work, i comforted myself by trying to come up with ways to still make art despite limited studio time. i installed the Blogger App on my phone so that i can make blog posts from anywhere, anytime. i thought maybe i should carry around small squares of paper with me inside my diary so that i can make little drawings and it's always easy to tote along a ball of yarn and get some time behind the hook on the train too. and photography. why do i always forget about photography? how is it possible for me to disregard it as a major art? one of my favorite artists of all time is Francesca Woodman! has the rise of the selfie really hurt my love for photographic self-portraiture that badly? or do i just need to get over myself?
i think of Patti Smith struggling under the weight of grief to be an artist, to find some sort of outlet, for some sort of expression but having no energy or strength after the double heartbreak of her husband's and brother's death. she could hardly summon the energy for anything. she grabbed her Polaroid camera. all it took was pushing down a button and, instantly, she had this little object in her hands. an image she had caught. it wasn't a painting but maybe that old rivalry needs to finally die. and maybe the captured image wasn't always good or what she'd hoped for, but it was something. it existed. she got her Art Fix.