Been thinking a lot about what it means to be an artist these days. What is expected of us, how we are supposed to be in the world, and maybe it could be said that being creative is freedom, but this can sometimes manifest in people thinking they have a right to decide how or what you should create. I had some early lessons in this, as I’ve said in a previous post, when I found the courage to evolve a lot of people still only wanted to hear the old work, and see the person I was. It’s a challenge to remain authentic when others perceive change and growth as inauthentic, but what other option is there? Some years ago there was a magazine I really respected but had been rejected from two or three times. I stuck with it, developed the work and they’ve since published a few of my pieces. But, when that first poem was published, my elation was squashed by an unsolicited email from a man asking how I had managed to get my work in there when he hadn’t. He was quite dismissive of me. I couldn’t believe someone would do that. I replied with a bright & breezy message that he was welcome to attend any of my workshops which probably just reinforced his idea that I’m an idiot. People only really see the successes, not the endless failures and rejections we go through. The successes are actually just the tip of the iceberg – we sink that other shit deep down. I’d like to think that I’m someone who takes it all on the chin and just carries on, which I am, but still sometimes with a little cry because I’m not indifferent, the work is my life, it’s everything, how can I not care? We can only be who we are, and hopefully find other souls who see the world similarly along the way. I’m still figuring out how that translates into remaining true to myself whilst making a living, but each year I reach the end, half in wonder, half in disbelief that I’m still here, still writing, still accepting the rejections with a smile, still having some successes, and still creating anyway. 📷 @andyrgarside but I’ve put a bright filter on it which he will hate 😬.