Working the Dream
I spent years interviewing hundreds and hundreds of people, asking them all sorts of questions, especially wanting to know what job they would love to have, if they could choose any. The kind of 'what' or 'who' do you want to be kind of question. I always dreamed of me being in the other seat, being interviewed for a job I really wanted. Although I wanted to make my own job up. Complex yet Connected.
During the time between 'redundancy' and school, I spent many days in Abney Park. And quiet frankly all I wanted to do was work there! And have festival of some sort...
I'd walk past Cheadle Green, daily, and all I wanted to do was have a fun-day on it and utilise this beautiful space!
Yet I was in the stage of deciding what path I was going to take next. Who did I want to be. What did I want to do. How was I going to create the job I wanted.
I love all the weird and wonderful things about the world, and if it's anything to do with art, history or magic I am in!
So while I'm in Abney, 'deciding' my fate. I said aloud all the things I wanted to do. I knew what I wanted, and I still know what I want. And right now I find myself in the midst of it all. Everything I wanted to be is blossoming like spring. Seeds planted and watered every day. That means carrying on with life, while persistently striving for that goal. Working hard. Shooting for the moon. Stumbling, then learning. Growing and getting wiser. Reflecting and letting go.
I told the 'universe' or whatever greater source is out there, that I wanted to work in Abney park. I wanted to hold festivals on the Green. Create community events and connect it to the roots it came from. The more I learnt of my own history the more I wanted to know about everything I knew around me. Who walked on this ground, who built our libraries, who saved our parks. What did they not have time to do. What can we do next?
Deep down all I've ever loved more than any kind of fundraiser, is my art. I can't and won't give my art away unless I feel it's worth my while, as you can get quiet attached. For charity, different story, I'm honoured. If I could draw on bridges, pathways or school playgrounds, again I'd love too, wouldn't even want a bean for it.
But finding a way to become an artist, when you've spent a lifetime telling yourself 'where's art guna get me' hasn't proven easy. Yet by making art for cause, I had been commissioned to replicate my work and deign something original. Honoured, not even the right word. Yet extremely close.
So apart from fantasising about these bonkers ideas, I went out of my way to find out how I could make all this possible..
After my friend politely pushed me into a lovely gentleman and urged me to speak with him, I mustered up the courage to share some of these ideas with the Cheadle Civic Society.
Along with many many wonderful meetings in Costa. My favourite was with a man named Phillip Gould-Bourn. He reiterated my vision of this job I wanted to create and that was it.. The planning began. What started as a fun event, eventually gained a concept, objectives and more goals to achieve.
My daughter loved Katy Perry. And even though I wasn't in touch with the real girl, I told my daughter I would do my best. Why not. This is the only party where you can say yes, all your friends can come! Even though I'd organised many in house events, I'd never done one at this scale. But hey. I was living a dream. And during a stressful, yet amazing period of time, I ended the evening with my girls watching the 'pretend' Katy Perry light up the green with her magic.
What I've learnt in school has been unreal. I am such a geek and I love that. I remember so much there's barely a conversation that goes by I haven't quoted someone, date and all et al.com lol Yet this meant I now knew what I had to do, second time round, and so on.
With the overwhelming journey of reading/writing for a degree, the kids, bless my Nona, leaving my home, my job, everything to a point of rediscovery, there was many times I just wanted to give up, on all of it. I enjoyed what I was doing but all I was doing was working at it all while my life rearranged itself around me. I clung on to the stress of studying and organising these events and kept going because if I stopped then what. Then nothing. Just plod, settle or what, carry on. Yea. And that's exactly what I did.
Fletcher Moss said fill in the Gap! Do lots of work. Ok. So roughly speaking I've prob on a roll done what 50 pieces of art, read over 100 books, too many articles and online stuff, I've attended meetings of all kinds, some fun some not so. Endless days and nights at the computer, random days out to buy bales of hay, view a bus, listen to rehearsals like Cheadle's version of judges houses, buy 100 pumpkins and have a reason for it, connect it to absolutely anything I can think of in a history weird or wonderful way and boom, Bob was definitely my uncle! Haha
My Nona was my hero. She always told me to believe! And if you believe it can come true. I believe I'll end up an old lady with my own version of Glastonbury, Buses for Bob, Events you name it. And as bonkers as it all is it frickin brilliant. I want a job that get me excited where I'd do it for nothing, do it everyday and work at it even when it gets hard, because nothing comes easy my dear, nothing. But what sure is possible, is anything at all.
Alan once said.. (Lol) (yes I'm quoting Alan) 'You can't pull a bus through Cheadle!' with a yea you're mad, whatever kind of look. I said, 'watch me!'.
I'll never get bored of pulling buses, but trust me when I say. The next bus I pull will be my own. And yes, obviously it will be called Bob!
Over the last year I had the pleasure of working with some amazing people! I feel like naming them all, but maybe I save some of these acknowledgements for a book, as this started as a Facebook status, and already turned into a blog..
I knew by the description of this guy called Andrew Frazer I would get on with him, little did I know 12 months down the line we'd join forces with Helen to create Cheadle-Get-Connected. Adding more to the pan, but such a delightful mix. A community interest company with an overall vision of a brighter future for all. What more could I ask for. More work. Preparing to launch. Launching in the build up, designing logos, organising events, and spreading acts of random kindness, to gradually show where the phrase 'Rome wasn't built in a day' came into plat.
Half and hour after finding my nan, I got a call, unaware and in panic I answered. I had just been offered my first commissioned art job! What! There was only one person I wanted to tell, but she had gone. It was time. Things were about to change yet again.
After house searching for a while, torn between the do I leave Nona now, or stay a few more months, or stay til the end. I didn't want to hear her last breathe, yet I will always find comfort in the fact I was here till the end. But how can you stay in the same house now. What seemed like a gift, an accidental viewing turned into the house we were offered and move into this weekend.
I spent last summer, pretty much broke, feeling the anger towards having to pay more for childcare so I could work, than it was worth the guilt of leaving my kids. To stay off and enjoy the time, and learn what to do without money, and feel the benefits of ways many don't get to experience.
Karma and its seesaw then decided to get me a holiday job, at my kids holiday club. The dream of eventually fitting my work around my kids, in some sort of creative club - TICK
What, you mean I'm technically getting paid to look after my own kids. Is this genius or what.
Then comes a further piece to the puzzle. Something I just didn't see coming. A job at Abney care home. But I did HR, not caring. Yet I did and I was. I joked I gave my nana over 365 baths. And that aside I did anything I could to help her, when I could. Giving her the opportunity to watch her great-grandchildren grow before her life came to an end. I used to joke, I should of been a carer coz I feel like one. And the day after she passed, I was told of this job. To organise activities, events and connect the care home to the community.
The surreal feeling of the funeral, made the interview slightly strange setting, yet an amazing feeling of home. I drove in my favourite park, the park, that park. I met some wonderful people, had coffee, answered the questions, talked and talked and then she offered me the job. There and then. Like I think I may of done that once or twice, and because I didn't wanna let that person slip. I drove out of the park and drove over the road to the cemetery. Yes ironically enough, my Nona and my grandad opposite my favourite park, the place I wanted to work, the place I was about to work! I wish I could of told her in person, but she knows, I know she knows.
So to conclude. Lots of crap, lots of good times, lots of learning. Persistence. Life. It's cycle. The seasons and its natural way of doing things, gradually.
This week I have been offered 3 jobs, as well as my promotion with the civic society. I'm going to work with children, the elderly, and the connect them together and celebrate the circle of life! And, after having to be told by my own daughter before I could believe it for myself.. I am an Artist. I also recently found out that I am a poet and I didn't know it!! 😂😂 ..with my first published poem out next month👏🏽
So I finally get to play house in my own home again, I have jobs coming out my ears, despite the part time, not so huge salary kinda issue still to fix with time, I am somehow balancing these voluntary jobs with normal womanly duties and raising my little ladies to be as amazing as possible, and I am dam crazy enough to think I can change the world. Maybe not the world, but I'll try for community.