Friday, March 04, 2011

The Balancing Act: Artist Vs. Acupuncturist

One of my hopes for this New Year was to allow myself the time and space to be an artist again. My muse had gone on a very long hiatus when i began putting all of my attention on my K9 acupuncture practice and business Four Paws Acupuncture

Thanks to the synchronicity of finding The Artist's Way at the library and the perpetual weekly blizzards, my muse returned. I am not sure where she went. Maybe down one of those What the Bleep time continuum rabbit holes. Maybe she stayed in Paris or Coney Island. She never even bothered to send a postcard. And she just waltzed back in like "La de da ...i'm back- could you run me a nice hot bath and please bring a glass of wine?" She does not care about running a business, paperwork, or anything that involves the left brain.

With all the hoopla happening with the unions in Wisconsin, my muse has informed me that she also belongs to the Cult of Nine Muses Union. She has a list of demands. She is to be taken on art dates. Hunting for sea glass trips. Shopping sprees at bead emporiums. Napping with cats. Papaya lunches and good red wine. Her union claims she is to have one full day a week with me doing art. Yes- she is one of those high maintenance muses. I think most of them are. If i do not meet her demands she will run off again- for good.

I love being an acupuncturist. Being immersed in an ancient form of medicine is a form of art. Once i am in that TCM zone it is a lot like being in the art flow zone. I just do not like the business end of it all. It is time consuming and at times very frustrating.

Technically i do not get overtime for putting in 50 hours a week working on or at my practice. I do not have office staff to answer calls, confirm patients, run errands, write the e-letters, blogs, books, classes, research dog food and products. Arrange house calls geographically. My imaginary secretary, Mrs Merriweather does it all. She looks a lot like an older version of me with coiffed white hair, cat eye glasses and a strand of pearls. She wears gloves with a Jackie O pillbox hat. Very polite on the phone but cusses like a sailor as soon as she hangs up. I think she has a flask in her purse too. She loves to work and volunteers to come in on weekends and holidays. I think she must have lived through the depression. Always worried that if she stops working something bad may happen. (Perhaps she is a mixture of 12 years of catholic school combined with 5 years of working at Bethlehem Steel?)

Mrs Merriweather and the Muse do not seem to hit it off. They cannot be in the room at the same time. One makes a mess with beads, yarn and feathers while the other is trying to print out patient forms and returning calls. One dances around the kitchen wearing harem pants with bells, while the other is researching the latest dog food recall. The Muse wants me to retire Mrs Merriweather. Send her off to Florida to play canasta with grey haired old ladies. While Mrs M wants me to ship off the Muse back to where ever she sprung from. There must be a compromise as both must stay for now. (The thought of Mrs Merriweather retiring is very appealing. The Muse is way more fun to hang out with- but she does not contribute to the financial side of things - yet...) There is that hope that the Planet Calamari Etsy shop will someday become a prosperous business. I am not willing to be the starving artist again. I have done that gig way too many times in this lifetime.

So i am at the point where i must decide how to make time to be the artist again while running my acupuncture practice. I am on that tightrope one bad step and i fall with no net to catch me.

From the kitchen i hear my Muse is screaming over the sound of Sly and the Family Stone's Dance to the Music "Jump and the net will appear"

It is a blessing that Mrs Merriweather forgot to wear her hearing aid today.

1 comment:

Pamela Caughey said...

I LOVE your blog! Wow, Ms. Calamari--all I can say is you are one heck of a computer guru! I would LOVE to know how you got all those cool images (like cell phones) on the right hand side of your page, but you probably are a computer engineer or something! I would be happy with just my facebook and etsy link--is that easy? Anywho, thanks for joining my blog, and now I can follow you! Appreciate the link--looks like an awesome site. Like you, I want to feature members and their stores, tips, etc.

One other thing, once you make a treasury, do you just add the link, and all the pictures appear, or do you need to upload each picture from the treasury?? Thanks again; only answer IF you have oodles of extra time, which I know you don't! Pam : )