Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Call Me Crazy ...

I'm thinking of designing a sweater coat. I want it to be something with the coziness of an old fisherman's knit sweater,

With the style of Alexander McQueen,

With the ribs of Kokosalaki,

And the funkiness of Adam + Eve,
(the one on the girl in the corner, right?)
I want it to be the sort of thing you could wear over leggings and Chelsea boots the way some terribly chic French woman might throw on a mid-thigh-length sweater and belt it and make it look fantastic, I want it out of chunky yarn on big needles, and I want it yesterday. The thing is, the yarn will be costly and the process long, or at least not short, and I've got an Icarus shawl on the needles doing strange things that I can't really figure out and an Annie Modessitt silk corset languishing on the bureau for the want of a few buttons and, at an absolute minimum, a pair of socks and a pair of opera-length gloves that should be started for friends' holiday presents. I'm also tempted to say I've never really designed anything before. However, the truth is I hardly ever knit anything as the pattern dictates and I did actually design those fingerless gloves from a couple of posts back.

Apropos of all this, the Yarn Harlot has a wonderful, rich, and thought provoking entry today on her blog (as she so often does), and I intend to learn from it. The truth is, I'm going through -- or should I say pushing myself through -- some professional stuff that really falls into the same category of taking yourself/not taking yourself seriously. As wonderful as being an artist is, being a professional artist can really suck. All the stuff you need to call on to be great at your art tends to run perfectly opposite to all the stuff you need to call on to be great in business. So it's all too easy to end up sitting around with a lot of unexpressed art inside you, a frustrating day job, not much money, and no ideas on what to do to change that. I've recently reached out to some people -- ok, they reached in to me -- to get some ideas about how to make things different. Part of what I'm seeing is just how I get in my own way, and trying to change that, my little lambs, is one of the hardest things I have ever done in a life that has not exactly been devoid of hard things by anyone's standards. However, Stephanie's post is so right on, and how are we knitters or women or artists of the type that don't so easily take ourselves seriously -- or perhaps it's more about giving ourselves credit where credit is due -- ever going to see a change in the world if we don't effect that change ourselves? I can hardly expect John Sayles, for example, to cast me in his next film if I can't, with total confidence and professionalism, introduce myself to the sort of people who might know people who know Sayles or whose work is on the caliber of Sayles'. We can't expect women to earn the same as men do for the same job if women don't believe we're worth it and ask for it. It's that little voice that says 'but of course I don't really mean that I could be in a film directed by John Sayles' that I have to quiet. Or just tell to bugger off. Because, why not? Why would I not -- talented, accomplished, and professional actress that I am, who has logged years of training and hard work, who works on her craft nearly every day and works in her craft with some regularity -- why should I not be in a film directed by one of the best film makers of our time? Who do I think is or should be in these films that is somehow better or more deserving than myself? Not that we aren't all wonderful and deserving, but that I am so no less than anyone else.

Ok, the truth is, it was still hard for me to even write that. But that's what this time is about -- transforming. So I'm going to design the sweater coat, I'm going to call the contacts I need to call about the next steps in my acting career, and I am going to value my own work and my own worth. May we all do the same, with love, and in a way that serves.


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