Monday, 23 August 2010


No no, not that Crossroads, this Crossroads... you know, where I go down to do a deal with the devil, he gets my soul and I get to play the guitar better than John Lee Hooker ...

Er no, not those either. Just this was the quiet time in the year when I was meant to do some thinking about where the plan is going next. I am miserable at work, stressed and under pressure, and underneath all that, dead bored.

I thought maybe I could retrain as a speech and language therapist to get out of school, and went and did some work shadowing, but it turns out to be same-same, but different. Dealing with people all day long (I am not a people person really. I can't stand people) lots of paperwork, lots of responsibility. Mostly women (a rare male speech therapist told me out of the 400 people on his course, 7 were men.) I don't know if I can stand it.

But really really, the major consideration is that I don't want to. I want to go to art college. I want to take it seriously. I've spent my entire working life being sidetracked from what I want to do by the need to pay the rent and by practical considerations, and it just leads me further and further away from anything I'm genuinely interested in. When I came back from Spain I went for the sensible option & it just lead to 6 years of doing a job I don't like at all.

Seeing as the retirement age will probably be 90 by the time I get there, it seems foolish not trying to spend as much of your life as possible doing something you love, as opposed to getting sucked into the system. Yes I can pay the rent, which is not to be sneezed at, but is that what it's all about?

At the crossroads, it's like viewing two signs, one way points to "DREARY PUBLIC SERVICE" & the other way points to "STARVING ARTIST". Hmm.


  1. "I want to go to art college..."
    Do it!

  2. Speaking as a starving artist, I say, find a way to do it. I'm frequently terrified of the choices I've made, but I also know that, for however long I can sustain it, I'm doing what I always wanted to do, deep down.
    If I can't do it to my satisfaction, I'll switch, but at least I'll have tried, and I can put heart and soul and no regrets into a new career.

    Since graduating I've watched time and time again as male friends absolutely went for it and tried to achieve their ambitions, and female friends went all self-effacing and "sensible". Except for one or two. One of those went back to art college and won a Jerwood a few years later.

    Do! Go!

  3. What B said. Also what she didn't say but exemplifies is that maybe London, one of the most expensive cities in the world isn't the place to do it. How about Berlin? Or from my experience, Buenos Aires? Both much much cheaper to live in and you'd be able to pick up some English teaching work to help fund it.

  4. Plunge. Otherwise imagine how you'll kick yourself with your one good leg when it's death-bed time. Scary, yes?

  5. Yep. Robert Johnson dies at the age of 27.

    Can you dip in and out of supply teaching if times get tight? At least it would become more of a transactional relationship rather than a career choice.

  6. Absolutely you should go for it... which, as someone who keeps finding reasons not to go for it, is advice I feel very comfortable dispensing.This quote always comes close to galvanising me - I like the tone, it just seems more emotionally true than the kind of generic well-intentioned "Follow Your Dreams" advice you see floating around. Plus it was used in a Manics song so, you know.

  7. Do it, do it, do it! As my ex-husband used to say, it's never too late to drop out.

  8. Take the chance to sell your soul now, before a lifetime of 'Dreary public service' drains it from you anyway

  9. Do it! I am already trying to impress upon my daughters the importance of doing something you enjoy. Enjoying your occupation does not make you a bad person, it makes you a happier one.

  10. thanks for your kind words. suddenly had lots of landlady hassle to deal with (me doing landlady stuff for my tenants, not my lovely landlady I mean) which reminds me I have a mortgage & shit and can't go swanning off just yet. But will bear your words in mind, I feel a lot happier now I've given up that idea and can look into something I want to do, even if I can't make a living out of it.

    Also, this: