I’m going under the knife today. Nothing too serious, a day procedure, though it does involve a general anaesthetic. To be honest, the most stressful part is trying to figure a to-fro from the hospital, being alone and carless in this country as I am. And I’ve got a lot of work to do when (and however) I get back from the op – with a re-write due on a play, a funding application pending deadline and a rake of bills and repairs due on my Budapest flats as well as organising for a dinner party tomorrow (yes, I know it’s dumb timing but it’s the first time in my four years in Norwich that I’ll have my aunt and uncle in town for the night so don’t want to miss the opportunity of having family around).
Coincidentally, it was this same aunt who once told me that if you put a red circle round a date on a calendar it attracts other happenings like flies. And these stressful moments often make me think about the career I’ve chosen. And the sacrifices I’ve made for it (see alone and carless mentioned above).
I have made a lot of sacrifices, that of a family for instance, and the chance of financial security (considering I have no independent wealth or spousal support, nor do I stand to inherit anything at any stage in my life). So, yeah, at moments like this, especially when facing a surgeon’s knife, one does start to ask one’s self why one does what one does…
I do it for rather selfish reasons, rather than the altruism of contributing to society. I do it because writing gets me happy and, to some extent, keeps me sane. And my writing is the only thing that never lets me down. People will disappoint, I’ll let myself down sometimes, but my art is there and constant and always offers solace, comfort and a new trip with every project. And not having family, my stories and plays are my kids, they’re me passing it on to you. Such reasoning will probably not make sense to most, but it will to fellow artists. We do it because that is what we do and who we are, and we want to do it well and because in the end, our art is always worth it.