I’ve made some important decisions lately; some of them are about starting something and some of them are about stopping something.
Have you ever quit a group, not because there was anything wrong with the people in that group, but because you didn’t like who you were becoming in the context you found yourself in? I just deleted myself from the Swapbot site, where I’ve been swapping artist trading cards for the last few years, for exactly that reason. I was getting too worried about whether or not I got a heart when swappers rated my card. I began to feel angry–sounds silly, doesn’t it?–and of course that took all the fun out of my reason for joining in the first place–making artist trading cards. It’s a little like that old Marx brothers joke–“Doctor,” one says, while perched on an examining table, “It hurts when I do that.” (Lifting an arm or a leg, something simple like that). The doctor whacks the patient on the head and says, “Well, then, don’t do that!”
Me: Doctor, it hurts when I spend hours making an artist trading card and the other person gives me a low rating.
Doctor: (With accompanying whack on the head.) Then don’t put yourself in that situation!
Oh, the freedom. I had no idea how much all this was weighing on me. I can make artist trading cards for the original reason–because I love it. And now I’m off to do something I love even more than art–writing my new book.
Thanks for lending an ear.