FINDING MY WAY IN THE DARK; what audience does for a freelance artist like me



Getting on stage is a strange job. People often ask me: do you still get nervous? Yes. After 11 years YES, pretty much every time. The stage is a place of the moment, full of opportunity and unexpected outcomes. Plenty of chances to fail, to shine, to connect, to fall over : )

There are risks involved with being on stage, being exposed, being seen.

Risks lead to questions, and questions can lead to doubt. I question myself and my work a lot; I question my direction, my impulses, my ideas. I live a lot of my life in uncertainty. So it may surprise you to hear that I often wonder if I should be storytelling… I think every freelance artist asks themselves this. The odds are against us, no security, no guaranteed income, no known outcomes. Just this mad passion for what we do.

Let me be clear: I love my job. LOVE it. And I often lose my way, and the path of the artist gets dark.

On my worst days I take out the folder. It is crammed with notes, cards, emails, gifts and images. Over the years people from my audiences and workshops have given me things. A key on a necklace, a hand of peace brooch, thank you cards, quotes, engraved wood, totems, talismans, protections, and most of all their words. When the doubts inside my head seem insurmountable I take out these things, and let my audience light the way for me.

It has sustained me again and again over the last 11 years. I did it the other day. I write about it here in an effort to share more of this path with you.

So as the year draws to a close, hereโ€™s to all of you, you know who you are; all of you that gave me cards, that gave me notes, drawings, animations, gifts, words, thank you cards and asked me to keep going.

When I get lost, you light the path up for me, I draw breath and I take another step.

9 thoughts on “FINDING MY WAY IN THE DARK; what audience does for a freelance artist like me

  • We loved listening to your stories at the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, U.S.A. a couple of years ago. I hope we get another opportunity to see you again one day in the future.

    • Hey Jay, thank you for your words. I’ll be in the US in April and in September 2018 at a variety of festivals. Maybe see you there, or further on down the road. x

  • You do inspire me and for that and for you, I am grateful. I think our paths were meant to cross. Please come back to Jonesborough or come to Nashville just to visit!!!

    • Thanks Sheila of the Key.
      I rarely get to go anywhere just to visit…there are so many stories to tell and work to do. Here’s to the good work and the good people x

  • Clare, Thank you for this brave and honest blog post – it meant a lot to me, as a writer and beginning storyteller. I am going to make a “The Folder” for myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m looking forward to seeing/hearing/welcoming you in Ojai next month! Lisa.

    • Dear Lisa Ann,
      glad to hear it. It helps! Also read: Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon.
      See you in Ojai, come say hello.

      • I said hello today! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was so great to meet you, Clare. Your storytelling was brilliant, powerful, and I admired the way you gracefully welcomed and handled our young audience ๐Ÿ˜‰
        Thank you- what a gift to witness and enjoy.
        Ps: thanks for the book reference “steal like an artist”- I have it! Will pull it off my shelf again!

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