My new business cards arrived yesterday and I'm very pleased with them. They have an American pattern on front (my current favorite to make) done in subtle white and brown with hints of yellow and pops of bright blue all marbled on this funky chocolate-brown paper. On the back is a New Jersey ripple pattern in bright yellow and green, peppered with cool spots of light blue. Soothing on the front. Energetic on the back. I think it works.
It feels weird to give oneself a business card, let alone a title on that business card, especially that of "artist." When I worked in Corporate America, I always took on a title or was given a new one when promoted. In either case, I didn't have a voice in naming what I did...and that never bothered me. It was just work, after all. Unlike many of my colleagues, who always seemed obsessed about their titles, I used to say my employer could call me Monkey Doo-Doo Big Butt Face, as long as they paid me well and paid me on time.
But this right now...this is my LIFE. I didn't quit my job seven years ago so I could go on to being MORE Corporate America. I quit my job so I could do something that is A PART of my life, part of ME, not separate from them the way my first career was. I struggled FOREVER to figure out what to put on the masthead of this blog so it should come as no surprise that I was absolutely freaking out about what to call myself on my new business card.
For a long time, I felt that "artist" was a title that should be bestowed upon one, not taken up. You don't get to call yourself an artist the same way you don't call yourself a "hero" (even if it's true). Perhaps that's the Midwesterner in me...I'll take another piece of humble pie, please. I told this once to my friend, Christine, who looked me right in the eye and asked, "Why can't you call yourself that?" She wasn't asking a rhetorical question. She seriously was baffled. And I had no answer for her.
But another reason I had a hard time coming up with a business card title is because I don't like to be labeled. More specifically, I don't like to be pigeonholed. If I call myself an "artist," does that mean I have to give up my "bookbinding" self or my "chef" self or my "conservationist" self? I am all these things too. How do I choose just one title/label without feeling like I'm abandoning all the others?
That's when I decided to add "and so much more" to the title of "artist, marbler, writer." It gives me a little (or a lot of) wiggle room, some space for me to continue to explore myself and what I want to be when I grow up (whenever that will be). It also is an homage to my favorite way to describe myself: while I'm not really good at any one thing, I am a little bit good at a lot of things. And I wouldn't change that for the world.
I think Christine will be okay with that.