The chaos of end of summer and quick final trips and beach days are over, and I have a few moments again to write.
On being an artist.
It’s as if you loved hiking, and decided to go on a hike that would last the rest of your life. Only it’s not a predictable, typical hike. One minute you are climbing uphill, enjoying the burn in your quads and the sheen of sweat forming on your forehead, just starting to think about the next spot of level ground and shade where you will stop for a break. And then suddenly, you find yourself unexpectedly transported to a freezing cold atmosphere, standing on a large pool of ice, not only that, but you start to hear suspicious sounds of it cracking underneath you. But thankfully, this doesn’t last long either, and you are quickly back on the mountain climbing with hope in your veins and your destination ahead. But wait, now your mountain peak is a bubbling volcano, and the ground underneath you is melting your shoes away in the heat, and then back to your mountain, and on and on.
But somehow, if you can persevere through all of that, you will have the occasional transport to the mountain peak, and be able to look back on all you have done and feel that euphoria of accomplishment. It is brief, because of course, if you’ve conquered once, you must, MUST do it again. Discouragement is more familiar than you’d like, and success often just out of reach, but it’s power drives you.
My husband, the business guy, thinks we artists are crazy, masochistic even. Not only is it treacherous terrain, but it doesn’t exactly bring in the big bucks. It doesn’t make a lick of sense to the logical brain.
Well, I love it anyway. Today was such a day. I put up a post I was REALLY afraid of. It’s the first dance I’ve done with my three older kids. I know all of the flaws. I know what the thousands of other dancers, both adults as well as little kids, look like that are sharper, more flexible, more technically sound etc. I have friends on my Facebook list who are not only dancers who will know all the flaws, but who are directors and performers of no small reputation. Yes, scared me to post, but I did it anyway.
And something crazy happened, people LOVE it. It brought people to tears. Wow. I don’t know what everyone is doing dance and choreography for, but that is right on the nose for me. I want to move and affect people, and with this piece that I did more for my husband and my local audience, I inadvertently was able to touch more than just that. People even shared my post, which surprised me. Here it is:
So this was really really great. Surprising and humbling and great. And then, just like that, with a simple email, the discouragement hit me really hard. My current project is an ENORMOUS undertaking. I am putting together a collaborative show from scratch about the Holocaust, featuring true stories and reaching out to other groups to get involved, and hoping even to have live music, survivor testimonials, etc. Building the base of dancers needed for it has stumped me, and I’ve had to work through resumes, people not up to par, people who flake out on interviews, times of no response to audition ads, etc, and still only have maybe half of the dancers I need.
So there is that old friend the artist discouragement. Why is it so hard to enjoy that mountain vista for a few more moments? We drive ourselves crazy looking for that next moment, that next view, but we really can’t help it. It’s in our DNA. We will change the world with our creations, but will only enjoy maybe 5 percent of our efforts, and even knowing this, it’s all worth it somehow. I do love it.
But, in line with my above video, at the end of this crazy day of mountain tops and volcanoes, I ended it with teaching my cute daughter a turns class, and noticed at the end a couple of cute boys dancing in the background. Yes, this is what it is to be “dancing mom”, and they make me smile every day. They bring me back to that mountain top where nothing else matters every single day.
And after that cuteness I couldn’t help but join in: