Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Permission to make something: Happen

Todd McKie

I have said this before and I never get tired of saying it: you only need permission from yourself to own your life and do what you dream. Which is to say: you don't need permission from anyone but yourself. If you want to paint or write or dance or make music or play baseball or be a doctor or lawyer or baker or even start your own business, then do it. It is not about being good enough or even good at all; it is about doing it. That is what "just do it" means, of course, but I think it gets lost in the context of advertising.

This morning this little boy I know said "I am awesome" after a stint of boogie boarding. It is a funny thing. It is also terrific. You figure if he can always feel that way he will be ok; that he can weather what life throws at him, land on his feet, and even flourish, which of course is what you want. By all means, have a good opinion of yourself, and make sure you deserve it. The world is not always kind to those with strong self esteem, but then, the world isn't always kind, period. And that's the point. The world would like you to be a slave there for its bidding, whatever that may be. Keep your high opinion of yourself and you just might preserve your liberty. Those who don't like you for it be damned!

As soon as you give up your high opinion of yourself then you are vulnerable, ripe for the bidding of others. As soon as you store your light under a bush, someone else will steal it and use it for themselves. No one tells you this. Instead they would have you believe that the most noble thing you could do is lay down your life for the cause: THEIR cause!

Of course you are selish not to do their bidding! Selfish you! Now who are they going to get to do it, whatever it is, donkeywork or dreams, their donkeywork or dreams! But don't surrender! Don't buy into their logic or rhetoric or false morality. If you want to be a photographer, then be the best photographer you can be even if it means being the worst photographer on the planet, whatever that means!

We pass through this life but a short while; let your light shine!

I like to paint. Always have. It is a curious thing. I did it whether I could afford to or not. It gave me a way to process my experiences. It also gave me an opportunity to make something happen, to make a little magic of my own. Something alchemical or even, forgive me for saying: creative. Creativity is stripped of meaning these days, maybe has been for a long time, but at the bottom of it is the idea of making something happen, or just making something period. That is why I am generally reluctant to sell the things I like; I'm still trying to figure out what happened: what I made. That's why it makes perfect sense to me that an artist's work sells after he or she is dead.

Own your life. Accept the consequences of doing the thing that makes sense to you, the thing you love. The people who love you will love you for it. Be awesome!

A few posts back I had a less than sanguine moment. I was coming down with something. I lost my faith. I lost my faith in art and in myself. I had let myself spend too much time in the company of people who would have me do their bidding. Too much time in the company of people who didn't love me. I almost cut my hair!

-- Post From My iPhone

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