Yesterday was a very rewarding day. As I mentioned on the blog, I was invited to take a creative writing workshop at my old secondary school for the Higher English class. It's amazing how quickly the period flew by, but I managed to stay present in the now and enjoy the time I had with them. I loved it. The students were more enthusiastic than I anticipated, and seemed taken with the fact I write and perform in their local dialect. The feedback afterwards was positive, and they've gone away with fresh ideas to start working on their portfolios; I'm claiming it as a small victory!
Being back at school (as brief a trip as it was) was a funny experience. The decor has changed a bit, many of the staff who taught me have retired and been replaced with new faces, but on the whole it isn't all that different. Except smaller: the corridors and rooms seemed much smaller! While I have many fond memories of my schooldays, my last year at school was a dramatic one after I suffered a serious accident and was challenged to play catch up on several months of lost time. I had a hearty discussion afterwards with my old English teacher (and Team K supporter) Mrs M about the fact I've now found myself precisely where we both hoped I'd be one day: pursuing writing and performing as a career. When I told her I felt lucky to finally have achieved some success this past year after the difficult periods of hardship I've been through, she reminded me that it has nothing to do with luck at all — it's over 10 years of hard work and trying finally starting to pay off.
It was a good time for me to have this chat. At this stage in my creative recovery on The Artist's Way, I was ready to hear someone tell me that they've believed in me for as long as 18 years, even through those periods when I didn't believe in myself. We also had a chat about the decisions I've had to take since leaving school; the type we're often forced into making and the paths these decisions can lead us down. I try to live life with no regrets, but I do still wonder where I would be today if I'd stuck my ground and gone through with some of the more ambitious plans that well-meaning people in my life advised me against. Despite being independent and strong-minded, I've more than once given up as a result of taking on board other people's fears.
I thought about that a lot last night. I spent the night at my parent's house and had a long walk round the village at night with my dad. Even now I can tell he worries that a career in the arts isn't a sensible occupation to be pursuing, especially when he hears me talk of feeling ready to drop the hours I spend committed to my day job and start taking financial risks with new artistic projects. On the one hand I have a voice of reason reminding me to stay grounded and not let myself fly off on a risky flight of fancy that could leave me in ruin; on the other hand I feel someone else's fears being projected on to me, fears that I've heard time and time again and allowed to affect my past decision making. This is a blurt, one that goes right back to my school days when I was struggling to decide what path I wanted to follow.
So I found myself right back where it all started, trying to make a similar set of decisions in pursuit of the same set of goals. I've taken the time travelling task to extremes by not just mentally challenging my blurts this — I've physically gone back to the places these blocks first started and confronted them. This time, though, things are different. I'm older and wiser, as the saying goes. I've had a taste of success and know writing is not just a childish dream; my potential has now been recognised, opportunities are opening up before me and people are willing to support me. My dad knows I share his fear of risk and ruin, but I can't let it define me any longer. I'm not about to take silly gambles, but I'm not prepared to sit back and let another decade pass by only to find myself wondering "where would I be if I'd given it a go that time?" — no regrets, remember.
It's time to stop time travelling and bring myself back to the future. It's time to ground myself in the present, in the here and now. My name is Kris. I'm a writer and performer. My goal for the coming six months is to shift my work-life balance in favour of my artistic career, to reduce my dependency on a 9-5 job: I will first aim for part time hours to support myself while challenging myself to earn a solid income from my creative talents. This is possible, it is achievable, it is realistic: thousands of writers and performers earn a living from their work, therefore it can be done.
The opportunity is there; it's up to me to make it work.