Thursday, July 30, 2009

Letters to a young poet/writer/actor/artist/dancer/fill in the blanks….

Dear Blog readers.

Forgive my absence. It’s been a minute since I had the opportunity to sit down and write another post. I don’t really have a lot of time these days to blog, but I got tired of looking at the old post “Failure”. That was a little too depressing. LOL. Today I’m feeling much more optimistic but at the same time, much more tired. So far this year I have nothing to complain about, I feel like I’ve been burning the candle at both ends, because opportunities have presented themselves, and I’ve tried to jump on every one. Lately a couple people have written me and asked for advice as far as their career is concerned. That seems a little odd to me because I have had the most unconventional career path, and I am very much still working hard to bring all of it in focus. Still, after receiving four such emails in the past two months, I figured maybe it’s worth blogging about. So I’m turning this into an occasional series,which I’m calling “Letters to a young poet/writer/actor/artist/dancer/fill in the blanks….” I’ll be posting on this topic from time to time.


I always start with this rule because it’s the hardest to tell people. No Plan B. This goes against everything we are taught at school, from our parents, and society as a whole. They tell you to dream, but then always advise you to keep something in your backpocket, have a career you can rely on cause trying to make it as an artist is a crap shoot. And they are right. If you need that security, then go get it. Be a banker, a lawyer, a policeman, but don’t be an artist. If you want to create for a living then do it. No plan B nothing to fall back on. Because this life is hard, and uncertain. You will fail. You will be rejected. You will want to quit several times and if you have a plan B, you will do it. Save yourself the heartbreak make Plan B your path, and do art as a hobby. (Which is totally acceptable.)
People have told me how “brave” I am to go out there and keep doing what I do. “It takes a lot of courage” I couldn’t disagree more. It would be courageous if I had options. I do not. This is all I have. If I’m not making art, performing, writing, creating, then I have nothing. In the next 5 years I’ll be over forty, and all I’m really good at is my art. Because I have forged ahead with no Plan B, I fight for everything, I think my moves through, I work as hard as I can, because for me, it’s survival. I’ve worked several jobs, and been okay at them, and I can always find some side work to pay the bills. That is not a plan B however. That’s just filling in the blanks between gigs, it’s never an alternative career. I know a lot of writers and artist that teach, and I guess technically this is a plan B, but I think it depends on the individual. I think there are a lot of artist who teach to pay the bills. They enjoy teaching, but art is where their passion is. I think there are a lot of teachers who do art. They enjoy creating, but teaching is where their passion is. I believe it’s an individuals choice as to how to look at whether you are engaging in a plan B or just doing what you need to eat.

Disclaimer 1: If you sign up for the no plan B, chances are you will be broke, A LOT. Art is a whole is not a very financially rewarding endeavor. It can be, but most times not. Therefore if money is your goal, make a really good plan B.

Disclaimer 2: I am in no way sittiong in judgement of people who choose path B. Not at all. I think it’s an individual choice and making that choice does not mean that you have nothing to contribute. On the contrary, some of the most incredible art comes from people doing it part time. I am only stating what I have done, and why it works for me.

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