It's National Letter Writing Month, one of the made up calls for attention and celebration that I'm well and truly OK with. Letter writing needs a marketing campaign. And though I'm not so sure that I'm the most qualified for the job, I'm certainly trying to cultivate my habits this year, and with that comes trying to stand behind and carry the torch for the things that are important to me.
My new job fits into that school of thought. This spring and summer I will be an associate at the Naval Cemetery Landscape in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Being involved in natural lands and green spaces is a part of my life that not everyone knows about. It's something that has often taken a backseat as I buried myself under a mountain of paper scraps over the years. Feeling that focusing on anything else would be a sort of betrayal of my most realized dream so far in my life.
But a couple things have occurred to me since I last shared here, one is that New York may not be the best place for me anymore. I love this city with all my heart. And like most love, it verges on irrationality. Meaning, so many of the reasons I am here, are predicated upon people I don't know yet, on jobs I don't have, on passions I feel I don't have the proper time to best express. Essentially I've felt since I came back to New York in 2016, that I should get what I can from this place, because I just couldn't imagine myself here long term.
When people would ask I would always say, a few more years. A couple. And yet, it never meant much of anything except, not yet, but not forever. I didn't truly change the way I was thinking about living in New York, because nothing had really changed. When I leave where would I go? I had no idea. And then last year happened. I blew things up. I quit my job and forced myself to do Shipwreck full-time, at least for 6 months. It was terrifying and alienating, lonely and confusing. And it re-calibrated things for me.
It didn't click how much it had changed things until I read a social media post from an artist I really admire @meeraleepatel who talked about what it was like to move to Nashville from Brooklyn. She talked about the things she missed, being around people of color was perhaps the biggest one, and then about all the things she had gained, mainly an artistic community she said she had never found in her 8 years of being an artist in New York. And there it was. Exactly what I didn't want to admit to myself.
You see, I try not to subscribe to ideas that a city is to blame for something I want and do not have. It feels too easy, too tidy, to simply blame a place for not giving you what you want, when the real responsibility lies with you. There are probably plenty of people here who feel they do have a good artistic community, or an artistic community through the internet that works for them. But just by reading that it doesn't work for another artist who has rose colored glasses for the city like I do reminded me that sometimes things just don't happen. And there doesn't always have to be some measurable reason, and it certainly doesn't have to amount to a person failing.
I also realized that there's more to my life than just what I can make of Shipwreck Press. This is a great time to start pursuing all of my passions. Life doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition. It rarely is just one thing. Even if you move to Alaska to work on fishing boats for the season, that doesn't mean your life is ONLY that. Even then there is room. Room for reading and friendship and education and perspective and communing with dang ol' mama nature.
So I've got it in my head that 2019 will be a hinge year. We will see how this year goes and based on what happens I will decide on whether or not to stay. But just saying out loud that this year will be a decider has already changed so much. First, I have re-categorized Shipwreck a bit in my brain. Shipwreck is my incredible hobby business. My excuse to travel and to meet other artists and makers. To experiment and try new things and push my design skills into new territories. Just this simple re-categorization from, my one true thing, to just one of the many cool things about me, has already re-invigorated me. Because it coincides with the strides I have made on my efficiency. Better organized, better equipped, and now, thanks to my re-categorization, less sensitive to what it isn't.
I've gotten into both shows I applied to on the road both this past weekend in Nashville (which was so fun and such a huge success) and and Austin in May. Shipwreck Circle is steadily expanding and I have exciting changes coming. And I have this new job where I will be able to reconnect to something I love. Nature. And things are feeling much more possible this year, because when I decided to blow things up last year, that was a huge risk. And it is the risks we take that ultimately allow for real change to occur. When we go out for new work or allow ourselves to go into debt. When we bring something to the front of our lives, not because it is time for it, but because we are ready to commit.
2019 is going to be a big year for me one way or another, but I'm certainly done waiting for things to happen, this is going to be a year, when I live my own life and starting pushing the issues. I'm through waiting to see what New York has to offer me. I'm going forward into my life and I'm going to start asking for things. I'm going to start exploring my passions. Dedicating myself to the things I want for myself and making time for the things I deserve. The money I will figure out, once I've established the life I want to live. The relationships, the same.
A place for product updates, inspiration, behind the scenes stuff, and in general a place for mind meandering.