So – reflections on being #aspie as a self-employed artist

James W. Cook "Storm Clouds  on Nosbonsing Lake"
James W. Cook "Storm Clouds on Nosbonsing Lake"

By James W. Cook

So I get forgetful and sometimes easily distracted, and there are the things I have no control over. Considering being Asperger-autistic and prone to complex partial seizures, I probably by rights shouldn’t even be operating a business. I do skip beats sometimes and I see it later in my own entrepreneurial performance. But I live like that in defiance; I’m not willing to let my “limitations” be limitations. What else will I do at this time and stage in my life?

In 2012 I lost my last job. I was 51 at the time and I thought… Well I made it this far but I’m again without work. What shall we do now? Put yourself out for those boneheads, work hard, be faithful, etc… – WELL THEN GET OFF THE MERRY-GO-ROUND! NOW! Well alright then. I’m going full time full tilt as a professional artist. I washed my hands of all traditional or conventional employment pursuits and erased all of my CV’s except for one I kept for the Arts. The Visual Arts were my first love, it was now my last card … and I played my last card. It has not been a walk in the park but I am resolved to take this whole thing as far and as high as I can take it for the time I shall be until they find me horizontal with a paint brush or sculpting tool in my hand.

The American Dream has been elusive indeed for me in the face of my efforts pursuing it. The things so many take for granted…well for us Aspies we have to get rid of the box. And when you are a square peg trying to fit in all the round holes you get creative making the holes square or the pegs round, or both.

You regular folks “get it” on the draw, we have to “connect the dots” and even then there is no guarantee we Aspies get the right picture, because the dots are not numbered. Not “getting it” means retrying and we might “get it” the second time around, or it could take dozens of retries. There is no pattern even I could identify. There is no predictability. There is no in-between. Some days are worse than others, and I know it can be a test of patience for some who have known me one way or another. This is where our social challenges come from.

At this stage in my mid-fifties, making it this far has brought about a learned wisdom about some all too common features of human nature, as well as countermeasures that were never there in the younger years. But even at this time, I still have my vulnerable moments.

I recognize the need to be entrepreneurial in the type of work I do, and the lifestyle does have an intimidating aspect that will have to take a bit of getting used to. Heck! What else are we going to do?

James W. Cook "Walleye Fishing at Science North Dock"

James W. Cook “Walleye Fishing at Science North Dock”

But life is good and I’ve never been happier or more fulfilled. Business-wise I racked my biggest numbers so far the past few months. I also made a breakthrough at Merveilles de Sable in Gatineau recently, and have been corresponding with my new Quebec contacts. I am now entertaining a career in the ephemerals (ice, snow, sand) for the earning potential and adventurous lifestyle. I made a great new friend there out of the Gaspésie. We hit it off from smile and handshake. Although neither of us had ever met each other, it was like a long-lost friendship rekindled. We have talked about partnering up for traveling to offshore ephemeral gigs.

© 2015 James W. Cook, Multimedia Artist

You can find James W. Cook on Facebook and … painting.

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