Never underestimate the bus stop.

On Saturday, the first day of the art festival, the shuttle bus stopped near my booth. My booth was all the way at the end (or beginning?) of a long line of booths. 190 artists, after all. The bus drop off at the entrance near me keeps traffic flowing. I sell more art on Saturday than I sold during the entire festival last year.

Last year, my booth wasn’t second to last of the long line of booths. Last year, my booth was off to the side, down this offshoot of five booths. I chatted with the artists next to me about how to get people off the main drag. I told myself not to feel slighted. Somebody had to be there, and we were near the music and food.

On Sunday, this year, the city makes the festival stop shuttle drop offs at the entrance near me. I don’t hear why, but I feel the effect. Traffic crawls. Many people give up that long walk and turn around several booths earlier. On Saturday, I sold my first piece at 11am. Sunday, I sell nothing until 4pm. The festival closes at 6. Every person who walks into my booth, I say, “I really want to thank you for making it down this far!”

I tell myself not to feel slighted. Somebody has to be at the end of the line. And I was selected to be in the festival. That’s no small thing. And I did sell more art than last year. Not a lot more, but more. And I talked to a lot of interesting people. Not one single person was rude.

It seems that no matter how much success you have, you always want more. Whatever it is that you imagine right now as success, if that imagining came true, do you think you really would be satisfied?

10 thoughts on “Never underestimate the bus stop.

  1. I’ve found that I feel successful if the success I achieve satisfies some internal goal, not just an external one. So, for instance, I felt very successful when I published an article in a publication that meant a lot to me, and not that successful when I published a book that didn’t really express what I wanted to say. Dissatisfaction can be useful that way- letting us know that there is still something left undone, left unsaid. But I agree that it’s also important to acknowledge our achievements along the way.

    It’s just amazing to me and admirable that you have shown your art in an art festival. I can’t even make art, never mind show it, or sell it! But I can see why you want to achieve even more, have even more people see and enjoy your work. It deserves it.

    1. I’ve long been two minds on satisfaction. A good thing it should be, but a block to progress as well. You say it well here.

      And hey, I’ve never been published with satisfaction or without, and I find you quite amazing and admirable too.

  2. I’ve found that I take criticism to heart much more than I do praise. Even the slightest criticism can knock me down, and serious criticism from respected people can derail me for years, perhaps forever. (I’m talking to you, Kuusisto, 20 years ago)

    But I think it’s not about the criticism, or the bus stop. I think it’s about not feeling we are worthy, ourselves. We don’t see it as some guy’s personal choice or bad day or random transit movement, we see it as a sign that we are indeed not worthy, just as we suspected all along.

    How does one get from leaking insecurity all over one’s work to confident and unstoppable?

    I don’t know, I’m still working on it. I practice telling my gremlins to shut up. I focus on positive mantras. I take baby steps towards the things that I really want that I am afraid I am not worth enough to have.

    I don’t know. What do you think?

  3. Well, I always think of the stereotypical lottery winner — the guy who wins tens of millions of dollars and shortly ends up broke and in a federal penitentiary for committing some heinous crime. It’s the “be careful what you wish for: you might get it” syndrome. I always think, y’know, that if I could just make one six-digit score, I could pack away all my cares; it doesn’t feel greedy, and the universe won’t be any worse off for having given it to me, right? But some part of me also knows that success can be a constantly receding horizon.

    Last night, we watched the rather stupid 2012 movie (but hey, it’s JOHN CUSACK). In trailers for the film, they always show these special-effects CGI calamities, like the tidal wave washing over the Himalayas. But the more interesting notion, to me, was that the earth’s crust was rearranged, magnetic poles all scrambled (the South Pole ended up in what we know as Wisconsin), and oceans and mountains reconfigured.

    The point being: I’d like to take that as a metaphor for success. You take off in a plane and after a tumultuous flight become convinced you’ll have to ditch in the China Sea. Suddenly the windshield clears and you realize you’re over the Himalayas instead — exactly where you needed to be. This is all well and good for the people aiming for Tibet but it sort of sucks for the ones headed to Taiwan. I think success probably works something like that… a matter of picking the right destination, and giving it your best… and ultimately, forces which are completely out of your control deciding if you’ll land there or not.

    In your case, I guess the Capital Metro Transit schedule is sort of like the Mayan calendar. 🙂

    1. Life is that tumultuous flight. In my case it wasn’t the Cap Metro Schedule as much as the as the City upset about traffic and changing their mind about what they’d permitted the previous day. That shuttle had been specifically planned as part of festival basics.

      But it is all part of the Mayan calendar.

  4. I’m with JES … 2012 WAS stupid.

    Furhtermore, I’m of a mindset that success will be measured by each of us individually. For me it will likely be monetary, since that’s my biggest need/desire right now. (And most of my life. Okay, all my life.) For someone else, it may be just being published, getting their name on a book cover on the shelves of their favorite retailer. For someone else, it’s the satisfaction of someone besides their family and friends reading their work.

    I don’t know if I’ll be content with whatever comes, but because I am who I am, I doubt it. I seriously doubt it. But, your mileage may vary. 🙂

    Congrats on having a better year than last, and may next see your booth somewhere in the middle of the main aisle where ALL the patrons will shop.

    1. Monetary success would be nice. I look at some of the idiots who helped down our economy and I wonder why a few million wasn’t enough. They make 10 million, they want 100. They reach 100, why not 2? Seems like success is like JES said, an ever receding horizon. I don’t want to be that crazy.

      And I won’t see 2012.

  5. So 2010 was a very good year compared to 2009 – and unlike 2012. LOL

    Success is different for everyone and I think being satisfied with that depends a lot on the kind of person you are. Some people are happy to achieve the goal, then stop. Other people see the goal always just out of reach, always evolving. I think a lot of that depends on how competitive a person you are.

    Then there’s the case of achieving the goal and realizing it wasn’t like you thought it’d be and you just wasted all that time pursuing it. That would really suck.

    1. I think it is great to change goals, get new goals, always be reaching forward–as long as you don’t ruin the world around you to do it. Success at the expense of my family, let’s say, wouldn’t be success at all. And then again, success for one, may be a loss for someone else. Maybe next year I can be in a better location. Someone still needs to be at the end though.

      Ah well. As long as I’m here, there’s always another goal.

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