What I really mean when I talk about art appreciation

There is a funny, but chillingly accurate, joke about writers that when it comes to our deepest and darkest fears among them is having someone read our work or having no one read our work. To be true, it’s a jungle out there, folks.

From the bottomless cups of ricoffy that fuel my neuroses during the day, to the dreaded bare refrigerator that encroaches upon month end when I’m sending off my manuscript to every single publisher that will accept work without an agent.

Then slowly but surely, there are the deafening silences from said publishing houses or worse, the rejection letters that though your work has promise it just isn’t their cup of tea. Don’t take it personally, you’re told, but who are you kidding? Of course it feels personal when you’ve poured your heart and soul into something that simply ‘isn’t the right fit’…

If you’re as lucky as I have been, you may have the odd dear friend who plays the role of a patron in many ways by turning up at the house with a pizza and a bottle of wine for two, ensuring that I don’t resort rice soup for the third time that week… Although to be fair I have mastered the art of Thai style rice soup, and a myriad of other cost effective rice recipes! But ya feel me.

So if I may be so bold, think on this when you behold a beautiful painting or read your next gripping novel… The author had to start off somewhere as the artist and though it may be a lifestyle somewhat idealised, trust me when I emphasise that the truth of it all is often far from pretty.

The days of being riddled with self doubt aside, it is a life of constant financial instability until, hope holding, that we make it in this world where so many are competing for an audience, one whose attention we might hold even for  a moment, an audience that will see that little spark of magic in what we do.

Yes, I can work in a robe all day if I so wish. Yes, I am the master of my own hours sometimes choosing to sleep in late, rather cultivating my insomnia to work into the wee quiet hours instead when all the world is asleep. Yes, my work is not unlike a vocation in that there are few other things I would rather be doing with my years than whittling away on this keyboard with an idea that just might work. But as with all things worth doing in life, it is not without its vast sacrifices and far from glamorous realities.

So where you can, support your friends and family who have chosen this alternative lifestyle in whatever way you can from sharing their work and supporting them on social media platforms to rocking up as that delightfully uninvited house guest with a pizza or a bottle of wine for two… You will never truly know just how much this means to them. Knowing that you see them for the majestic gift they wish to bestow upon the world each in their own small way. For is it not the greatest gift of all, to be seen by those you love?

You have no idea what day they may have had, from a gradient of enriched and inspired to downright dastardly depressed and defeated in the face of their art. But they will need you, through it all. To come out the other side and create anew. For you and you and you. xx

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