Tag Archives: challenge

defy reality: be an artist

This recent post from Chuck Wendig’s blog Terrible Minds got to me:

Nobody wants you to be an artist.

It’s for a lot of reasons. Some come from a good place — they think, hey, we want better for you. The life of an artist is hard. Be a bricklayer, a doctor, a ROCKET LAWYER, something, anything. Art is how you lose. Art is how you die. Don’t be an artist, because we don’t want to see you struggle, starve, and go mad.

Some of the reasons come from a deeply cankerous place: jealousy (“why do you get to fritter away your hours MAKING ART and I have to sell toilets?”) or misunderstanding (“art isn’t work, it’s just lazy piffle for lazy losers”) or alien menace (“ART GIVES HUMAN BEINGS HOPE AND IT MAKES THEM MORE RESISTANT TO HOSTILE TAKEOVER FROM EXTRATERRESTRIAL FORCES”).

Some governments don’t want artists because art is truth, even when couched in illusion or deception. Some schools don’t want art because how do you test art, and everything is about the test, goddamnit. Want to get a mortgage? Tell them you’re an artist and ha ha ha oh shit.

Art is a hobby, art is a waste of time, art is a thing you do when you’re in elementary school or in the retirement home. It isn’t a life. It isn’t a career. FUCK YOU, NO ARTING.

Chuck Wendig’s blog goes on to explore where his will to persist arises from. For him, it involves a lot of fierce defiance, a big don’t-tell-me-what-to-do with a lot of cursing. And, I get that, being infuriated by this ignorant culture and the stacked deck that creatives seem to face.

illustrator: Shricka

But what if that “F-you” attitude doesn’t really energize you? What if your art needs to be about connecting and caring? What if you really DO care what other people think?

To some extent Chuck is absolutely right, Nobody wants you to be an artist. There’s plenty of discouragement to go around.

But listen inside: YOU DO. YOU want to create, pursue, invent, explore.

Then get to work.

Forget perfection. You can’t control success. You aren’t anybody else. You are you. It doesn’t matter if anyone believes in you. Let their disbelief charge your batteries.

You can believe in you.

Focus on today. Not tomorrow. Not next year. Make something. Create something.

That’s the place I need to dwell. I want to paint. I live for creating. So, back to work! I have buttercups to paint. It’s great work if you give it to yourself.

Grace is the right word

Next Sunday, July 20 there’s a tribute and benefit concert for my friend and neighbor Grace Griffith, the award-winning folk singer from Accokeek Maryland. It’s also an album release party for Passing Through, a new CD.

Due to the effects from Griffith’s 17-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease, the album took more than two years to painstakingly record; the record’s producer Chris Biondo, who also produced and performed with the late Eva Cassidy, opened his studio to Griffith and encouraged her to work at her own pace. The result is a haunting collection of folk and Celtic material revealing the artist’s soul. Griffith’s soaring vocals are made all the more poignant by her deteriorating physical condition.
from Blix Street Records

Play a song from the CD:

gracefinal

Her producer Chris Biondi spoke to WAMU’s Metro Connection on Friday, talking about what it took for Grace to create this final album. “It took a lot of courage to do what she did,” Biondo said.  PLAY THE INTERVIEW

The July 20th concert features a stellar lineup of musicians, including Tom Paxton, Al Petteway, Debi Smith, Marcy Marxer, Cathy Fink, Zan McCloud, Jim Robeson, Chris Biondo, Lenny Williams, Lisa Moscatiello, Randy Barrett and more.

The July 20 show is at the Birchmere in Alexandria at 7:30pm. Tickets available at the box office or online, here.

Please come out and show your support for this gifted singer and lovely soul. The CD Passing Through will lift your spirits and make you cry (that’s a good thing!). And, it makes a great gift!

What Holds Us Back

I know so many beautiful creative souls, caring people, passionate healers, teachers, creators: women with a deep longing to contribute  to the world. A passion to heal, to love, to nurture, support, to create beauty from their genuine and authentic hearts. And yet we hesitate, procrastinate, talk ourselves out of taking the chances that would move our dreams closer.

And I think know what it is that holds us back.

I’m reblogging this photo from thinkbannedthoughts, who wrote today about the dream she had hidden away.

There are certain passions I’ve had, certain dreams – the ones that meant the very most to me, the ones I hold closest, that I’ve been afraid to live out loud. There are lots of reasons for this. And I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not the only one.

So – in an effort to reach out to anyone else who is on the path that I’m stepping off, I want to take just a moment to talk about some of MY whys. I hid these loves, these passions, these things that make me tearful happy because…

FEAR IS A LIAR.

I was afraid that they weren’t worthy things. I was afraid that if I shared them out loud I would be told that my dreams weren’t good enough for me – that I needed to reach higher, stretch further. That anything that was this easy and brought me this much joy couldn’t be the thing I did, because we’re supposed to WORK for it, struggle for it, suffer for it.

I was afraid that if I took something that brought me so much joy and turned it into a JOB, it would kill the joy and take away the deep down, soul quenching fulfillment that I got from it. I was afraid that if I tried… I might fail and that would CRUSH me. Because… If you fail at your biggest, deepest, truest dream… Well, what’s left? Just sorrow and regret and pain, right?

I’ve lived long enough to have failed at quite a few big things. I still feel some shame, but no longer hesitate to admit this. I’ve fallen down, I’ve suffered setbacks, sometimes pretty serious. But I keep getting back up. And each time, I commit to hiding a bit less of who I really am. I realize that so often I am afraid. Afraid? Of what?

Everything I have done that was worth doing has meant overcoming some resistance, some fear. And facing down that insidious liar, fear is what I need to do, now, and every day.

Recently I posted about Blog for Mental Health 2014. Since then I seem to have this heightened awareness for people ‘coming out’ with who they really are. And as I’m writing this I’m watching videos of the Grammy performances, and its the theme that ties so many of them together.

Carol King and Sara Bareilles sing “Beautiful, Brave:”

“Say what you want to say, let the words fall out, honestly I just want to see you be brave…
You’ve got to get up every morning, with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart…”

Stand up, everybody. Speak out your truth, and live who you really are.

PS: this just arrived in my in-box from 360Soul, and it’s an interesting take on the whole ‘fear’ challenge:

Spring Awakening

Patrise on a Rock

Fifteen years ago I climbed this hill, carrying only a bedroll, a sheet of plastic, some twine and a gallon jug of lemon-maple cayenne water to carry me through a three day fast. Today I am sitting on the rock that I slept on back in 1997, listening to spring awakening the mountains. Here a hawk, there a crow. Further down in a valley, an owl calls, a fox barks.

The wind comes, I hear it chasing along the ridge through bare branches, coming closer until it passes overhead like a wave. Last time I was here it was July, mountain summer sweet and green. I slept in the forest with no roof and no tent for the first time in my life. When the sky showed first light the air began to stir and the sound of birds began, like the wind is coming today, first faint from afar, then moving closer riding the edge of sunrise. Theoretically I knew about this everyday miracle: Continue reading Spring Awakening