Don’t give up your day job – part 1 of a series

Cafe47_1I spent much of last week working at my computer in the Cafe Del Sol in Floyd, where paintings and photographs by local artists cover the brightly colored walls.

The combination of great lattes, warm hospitality, and good friends drifting in and out of the Cafe makes for a relaxed working environment that is hard to match anywhere else.

The Cafe also hosts jazz groups on Friday nights and Spoken Word events which feature poetry and other readings by local talent. This artist-friendly environment is no accident. Sally Walker, proprietor of the Cafe Del Sol, is doing her part to help Floyd, VA grow as a cultural center.

Sally is not only a warm-hearted host, she is also a talented singer. On Friday night she hosted a jazz group consisting of John Winnicke and his friends. Several times during the evening, she came out from behind the counter to sing for an enthusiastic audience.

John Winnicki, on guitar in the center, led this quintet through several hours of relaxed, rhythmic, free-flowing jazz that kept the audience entranced. When they played, all conversation ceased. Their music would have done credit to much grander venues, although they would have probably had to play over loud conversation. In the intimate surroundings of the Cafe Del Sol, their music put people in  a mood of quiet reverie. It was a most enjoyable evening.

So, how does this all relate to keeping a day job? Sally Walker manages to combine her love of music and a desire to make a difference, and she does this by running a coffeeshop that is rapidly becoming one of the most important business and cultural incubators in Floyd.

Friends and business associates meet here every day and their activities impact events all over the county. Deals are discussed over coffee and pastries and business is transacted while you watch. There is a synergy here which affects all who enter.

Artists, musicians, and bloggers rub shoulders daily and are often introduced by Doug Thompson, journalist, photographer, and blogger, who has a talent for connecting interesting people together.

The musicians pictured above are all talented enough to earn a living from their music and some have done so, but they all have chosen day jobs now which allow them to live comfortably and to play together when they wish. They are contractors, chemical engineers, and musical instrument makers by day and locally reknown musicians at night. There is something to be said for keeping a day job.

When you depend on your art for your living, you have to go where you can find larger audiences and hopefully more money. For a musician, that often means going on the road and playing in distant locations. For an artist, that means traveling around the country to shows. Your life is often spent traveling and preparing for performances, rather than living a life that feeds the spirit as well as the body.

If you understand the concept of multiple sources of income, you can broaden your interests and use more of your skills to support yourself. Very few of us are one-trick ponies. Most of us can apply ourselves skillfully to a number of areas that can produce income. I want to explore this area in more detail in future posts, because this can make a huge difference in achieving a higher quality of life.

Any suggestions or comments so far?

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