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Livelihood: Holding?

Yesterday was spent finishing tax forms, recording last year's livelihood, allowing to contribute to government budgets. This form-filling certainly seems to be an act of 'holding'. It requires relative precision and care throughout the year, is not particularly creative in itself, though one can choose software program, chair, time of day to work and so on. Given the means, one could hire an accountant, but that would still require some holding of and tending to receipts and other information, not to mention finding the accountant and tending to a relation with him or her.

Financial holding seems essential in any creative endeavor, barring being an heir (and even inheritance means that at some time in the past someone was tending to this financial 'holding'). Generally there must be a material framework within which one can sustainably navigate, with some breathable freedom: at least shelter, food and other basics, allowing to live relatively healthily. Some may prefer to live 'on the edge' materially. I'm uncertain as to how often such a materially edgy state works as a creative base, decades on end, though certainly that exists and offers it's own intensity and wealth in some cases, particularly in societies and situations where really there is no other option.

I have found that many people, whether considered particularly creative or not, can find some gratification in mental calculation and ordering; but long hours of form-filling can also be stultifying at times, for lack of a better word.

I have the good fortune to have all livelihood at present coming from work that is directly linked to and often enriches my research and the things I'm interested in.

Now, during summer break, I have less day-to-day obligations, but some work is still coming in. There could be a temptation to always put this livelihood work in first or last position, relative to research work: It is there with its deadline. It will offer some medium-term gratification, in the form of outer appreciation, intellectual stimulation, learning, financial compensation, development and strengthening professional network; as well as minimal recognition.

A longer term art project; or aesthetics or art writing project, may offer:

- some short-term gratification: the freedom and fulfillment of the creative act itself

- less medium-term gratification and

- uncertain long-term gratification, depending on the accomplishment and results and how this day's creative work, ultimately, becomes part of lifelong thoughts and projects.

Ideal today would seem to be to split the day, allotting some time to non-utilitarian long-term creative endeavors and goals, and some time to the livelihood-bringing, educational, network-developing work. Some days, such as yesterday, seem better given entirely over to one or another endeavor.

If I split the day between purely creative endeavors and more mixed endeavors, in my own case, it seems that the former, more mentally demanding, with countless choices to be made, needs to happen earlier in the day, when my attention is more empty of busyness and wordiness that can sometimes inundate life and mind.


Grid, Oil on canvas, 1m x 1m, 1985

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