Embracing the Starving Artist Lifestyle

I remember about a year ago how I wrote a post saying how I once thought being broke was the worst possible thing that one could be but how wrong I was as I started wising up a bit. Oh no, being broke is not the worst thing that could happen to anyone. The worst thing that could happen to anyone is to be miserable, no matter how much money you have. You can be rich and miserable or broke and content. I know people in both categories.

And that’s when I had an epiphany at work today and happened to think maybe it’s time to take my own advice. Someone royally pissed me off on Facebook and I teed off on them saying how much I hated my job, my coworkers, my bosses, everything about it. Of course, Facebook being the open and public platform it is, I’m sure someone will see it and tattle on me. I don’t list my employer on Facebook but it doesn’t take much to do a LinkedIn search now does it? I’m sure they could find out somewhere.

Alas, I had a moment of clarity just then, given the events of this past weekend. Chances are I will lose my job over that rant, but I’m surprisingly content with that, and it’s giving me an opportunity to entertain the starving artist lifestyle for the next phase of my life. Even if I don’t get fired, I’m seriously contemplating walking away from the stresses of being a staff engineer at a big corporation and being a starving artist.

Now, whatever has possessed me to think of doing something so crazy? Well, I can’t disclose too much on a public blog as I don’t want anyone stealing any ideas, but let’s just say one sleepless night I had a moment of inspiration to write a musical. I’m not the greatest writer, but I’ve written some stuff in life.

So why then would I try something like that?  Well, it just so happens I have a writer friend locally, and a damn good one too. I pitched the idea to her as a collaboration work and she absolutely LOVED it. We sat down to dinner at our digs, ate pizza, drank wine and it took us no more than 30 minutes to bang out a general plot, theme, setting (location and year), you name it. It just flowed out of us. I think we compliment each other as a team too – I bring more of the musical knowledge while she brings the writing talent. Given that, I think we are a killer duo.

Now, things like this obviously don’t come together in a few days, a few months or maybe even in a year or two. That’s why I say I’m almost preparing internally to be a starving artist. Even if I don’t get the ax, I’m seriously thinking of resigning from my job at year’s end and taking a low-stress (but admittedly low pay) job that would really allow me to focus on this project. I’m thinking something like a hotel night auditor – the least busy and most boring shift of a hotel that would have a lot of down time or maybe bartending part-time in a gay bar or something (seriously, the Davy Dukes and/or Meggings could be a hit in those settings) and thus having a lot of time at home. Options like these would give me plenty of downtime to allow me to do research, contribute to the writing, choreography and nail the musical score/composition Given the way we just got on the same page from the outset Saturday night, I really think this is meant to be and it’s a concept that I think could make us household names. Maybe I’m dreaming, but this could be our ticket to fame and fortune (she hasn’t broken through yet herself which is a damn shame).

As mentioned, this is a big decision and I’ll need to sleep on it. I’ve luckily got enough money in the bank to completely pay off my car at the moment (which still has another at least 100,000 miles of life in it – I’m only at 73,000 miles on the odometer right now) and drop my insurance to liability only (as I’d get next to nothing in a collision payout anyway at this point). I’d still have plenty of emergency funds. Student loans of course could be put into forbearance or put into income-driven repayment to minimize my expenses.

Obviously it’ll be a bit of a downgrade lifestyle-wise, one way or another, but what good is living in the lap of luxury if I’m drowning in abysmal misery? I’m so fucking tired of waking up and saying to myself “well shit.” I’m sick and tired of crying myself to sleep every fucking night in horror because I just don’t want to go to work the next day. I’m sick and tired of the headaches, the GI issues, general lethargy and the pain of piles (sorry, TMI, but you probably figured out that’s what was causing my pain last week).

Again, just a thought but this corporate bullshit has got to go. Despite being trained in mathematics and engineering, I’m an artsy type all the way. Maybe this is the break I’ve been looking for? We shall see, but it’s something to chew on. One way or another, something has to change. I’m fucking miserable where I am. I can’t go on like this.

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