I love reading the acknowledgements in the back of books. I find it a satisfying finish to a novel, especially when I’m not quite ready to let go of the story I have been absorbed by. It is also telling of the process of creating something, that many others are often involved in getting the work to completion either through the physical production; research, editing, reading, or support; often a loving partner supplying the writer with cups of tea and the space and freedom to work.
Contrary to this, one of my favourite acknowledgments is from a book I read many years ago by Lisa Evans in her book Odd Socks. I have a photocopy in one of my journals. It starts –
Despite the efforts of the following:
Lately I have come to realise that books are written not so much because of the efforts of many, but despite the efforts of many. Therefore, here is my list of those people/animals/inanimate objects despite whom this book was written.
This book was written despite the fact that children expect three meals a day…
…This book was written despite the fact that these children, although very lovable, are all a tad faulty and therefore require regular visits to optometrists, speech therapists, podiatrists, dentists, ear, nose and throat guys, etc. And don’t forget the mandatory activities! Tennis, karate, saxophone, swimming, pottery, chess…
…This book was written despite bloody housework – and the bills to pay, washers to replace…
…This book was written despite the ongoing battle for “me” time and all things, like tennis, champagne, good books, friends, family and the occasional convivial lunch, which lure me away from what I should be doing…
The truth! I can completely relate to this! There’s a million distractions and jobs to do before you can ever see yourself getting to do your creative work. It’s not all smooth sailing sitting undistracted working in a studio, it’s a myth!
As a wife, mother, female artist, I constantly feel the pull of other commitments and the commitment to others. My work needs to be made despite the busyness of life, I just need to fit it in where I can.
All this stuff is not going to go away just because you try to be an artist. There is never a right time AND its never too late to start. Nell Painter talks about starting a new career as an artist in her 60s.
The next step is to start cutting away the top layer.
All these steps have been made despite the interruptions!
And for those who still have fantasies that you can spend all day in the studio. Here is a great series What do artists do all day?