Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Fork in the Road; The Razor's Edge

I ran into a couple of artists yesterday. One in the morning, the other in the afternoon. Same thing. Frustrated about their careers. Leon Polk Smith liked to say that if he had to he would pay money to be an artist. The fact is, every artist does pay. They invest money in studio space and supplies that they will never get back.

Stay close to the source. You find God in nature and in life, not in churches. The same is true of art. You have to stay close to the light. Every second an artist spends worrying or obsessing about their career the farther they get from the light. The world is filled with temptations to take the wrong fork at every turn. We compare, we score, we want more. It may be natural, but it's the wrong fork. It is simple math. You do the work. Without the work you have nothing. With the work you have everything that matters. The rest is crap, and it lures us with promises that are static illusions. Visions of grandeur, visions of glory. False evidence that we matter somehow.

Those two artists I ran into are gifted. Art is a gift. For giving. I just wanted to slap them. SHUDDUP! STOPPIT! Quit wasting your time and mine talking about stupid shit. If they could only hear themselves. Sure, they do another kind of math. The exposure game. The more exposure they get, the more chance they have of making it. Never happen. You can't force life. All you get is resistance. Be grateful for what you have if indeed you have some time during the day when you can do the work.

Sharing your work is a blessing as well. It is part of the process. Find ways to do it, but don't be pushy. Let the horse drink when it feels like it, all you can do is get it there. Better to make sure the water is good, clean, pure, drinkable, worth drinking and so on.

That's the deal. The razor's edge. It is not only sharp for a reason, we are supposed to keep it sharp. Every minute. And every choice we are faced with, every dilemma, every spot we find ourselves in, we are challenged to do the right thing, make the right turn, make the right choice, by ourselves, the best we can, with the best tools we have, and our best judgment, and our biggest heart.

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