October 25th, 2006

Day jobs and great artists

Yesterday was one of those (thankfully infrequent) days when I desperately wished I was anywhere but at work in a used bookstore. I had eight solid hours of dealing with scumbags, rich rude cretins, know-it-alls and con artists (here's a first: A walk-in Nigerian scam! Yep, had the chick with the rail-thin junkie physique and the neck brace try to order a small fortune in textbooks, have them shipped somewhere she didn't specify, and offer to pay with a wire transfer - AND throw a tantrum when I wouldn't do it. *Sigh*).

Most of the time, though, I love my job, and I love some of the interesting people who hang out in independent bookstores. I've gotten to know wonderful writers, filmmakers, musicians, and book lovers; some have become good friends.

Here's one of my favorites: John Degatina used to be a regular at the store, and we would chat endlessly about books or news or whatever. One day John revealed to me that he was an artist, and he brought a few of his paintings by. Guess what - they were fabulous. I loved them. What a wonder to find out that someone you see weekly is an artist whose work you adore.

A few years ago John moved to Florida (boohoo), but we've stayed in touch and he still e-mails me some of his new work, and he just gets better all the time. I asked him if I could post one for the rest of you to enjoy, and he kindly agreed. Check out this one, titled "Irene, Goddess of Peace":

I just love the color, the motion, and the delightful sense of humor. I'm sure some art critics would find plenty to dislike here, but eff 'em - I love it (and by the way, John's been selling these on a regular basis, so apparently I'm not alone).

Anyway, you see now why I'm one writer who is in no rush to give up the day job. It ain't the highest paying position in the world (I, for example, will never own a house), but it more than compensates in other ways.