Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa, where the morning is a little damp and a lot foggy. Just back from the morning run, this thought occurred to me: being a runner is kind of like being an artist. Let me explain.
It's all about niches. By the way, don't you just love that little word? Niche. If you listen to Webster's, then you get nich and it rhymes with rich. If you listen to HGTV, then you get a neeeesh and it rhymes with sheeesh. Sheesh!
We need a snippet of a story to get this writing going in the right direction. Running: I have mentioned before, I am sure, that I try to get a morning run in 3 or 4 times a week. My normal route involves the Raccoon River Valley Bicycle Trail, which also tangents the local elementary school. Now Jefferson is one of those kind of communities where the moms drive their little kiddos to school in the morning. And there seem to be quite a few of them. Do I need to mention that causes a mini traffic jam? And if you are in the area on your morning run--whoa. At every intersection within a five block radius of the school you have a mom carefully stopping for you and hand-motioning you to go through the intersection ahead of her. And then I motion back: no, you go. And then she motions back, no, you go. See? That's the way it is. And then you have the moms backing out of their driveways while still trying to get kids buckled into their seats concurrently while cell phone checking to see if the neighbor kids need a ride also this morning. It's just too much for a semi-serious runner to deal with. Instead, I highly recommend the niche. The Jefferson runner niche is in a questionable place if you are not an early morning person, because you guessed it. You have to get up and out there while the moms and kiddos are still eating their Cheerios or Fruit Loops. But once you are in that niche, you can run unimpeded. You can get there.
"And the artist?" you ask. "That relates how?" Follow along please: we all know, or have at least heard about finding our artistic style. Our artist's voice. Happy is the day/decade/century (!) when it happens, right? What happens when you finally get to happy-land and someone tells you it's not a very lucrative style? That your "find" is the epitome of NOT mainstream art?
Consider this: you could run along in someone else's niche and be impeded in your journey by all kinds of congestion and confusion. Because someone else's niche is not right for you. Or you could run along in your niche, albeit not quite mainstream. You could run steady and unencumbered in the style that helps you move forward, because it's yours. And you could get THERE. Wow. What a concept, eh?