Detractors abound in this world. They are the ones who stymie creative minds more than any government can. They are the sole voice that grab an artist by the shoulders too tightly and shake teeth out of skulls. They travel in packs as well as solo and their judgment is biased by their affiliation with the human race. They afflict many and the world is a lesser place to live, because of them.
The creative process is something that can and should be enjoyed. The end results might not please the whole world, but on the off chance it might please even one person, justification is an attainable goal. One good word of criticism can silence a novel’s length of harsh words and the creative are most likely to have the patience to wait for it.
We make our way thru life and at different times different people come and go. Some we want to hold onto forever but the truth of life is that nothing last forever. In some instances we try to hold on harder and end up destroying the lifestyle we are trying to build. Other times what we are trying so hard to retain becomes the thing that wreaks the bulk of the havoc.
Any artist can level enumerable anecdotes they have had to endure. “Nobody likes that?” “That’ll never get you anywhere in life.” “What on earth made you write that?” “I don’t get it. I don’t like it either.” “Save us the torture and stick with dreaming.” “Honestly? (Insert any derogatory phrase here)” We run the gauntlet of critical attentions that attempt to slough off huge slabs of our souls. Our hearts bear the brunt of fist-like words and our minds re-wire to eventually absorb the damage. We contemplate all possible reasons for what we must endure and rarely get any concrete answer.
Talent is subjective. I in no way consider myself to have any “talent”. If something I do is well received then sure, that makes me happy. But even if it is not, I can still be happy with the fact that I had fun doing it. Those who are the end recipients of an individual’s art become “impressed” by it. They form an opinion and, good or bad, they feel some motivation to share that opine. What irks me the most about such opinions is that I can easily see where some other person, trying their best to create something they believe in, can get discouraged by “detractors”. They may have some reason to keep these critics in their lives but they are denying themselves the true opportunity to shine and denying the world the best of what they are capable of producing.
Accomplished or not, creating without any level of enjoyment is like stealing from your self. Commissioned artists have to have a joy for their craft too. Songs for movies, family portraits, original conceptual paintings, movie post production, there are as many situations as there are forms of art and paycheck producing or not, if enjoyment had no part then, to me at least, it was nowhere worth the effort.
I watch album sales and downloads, hit counts and guestbook posts, comments and believe it or not, lots and lots of e-mails. The sales are the things I look at the least. I’m not getting any younger and the volume of my catalogue is what I enjoy watching grow. From 2004 to the present, eight albums of enjoyment have leapt from my mind and onto plastic. That does not include another body of work that is almost an albums worth that I have yet to properly record and release. Then there’s the material I’ve done as collaborations. It’s not a large body of work but each song is something I consider with pride. If it were not so much fun I’d be happy to sit behind my desk and slowly fade away from this life. As it is, I hope to keep the musical juice flowing for years to come.
With artistic tastes as varied as mine it saddens me to no end when I see some one whose dreams are being stifled. It may be a simple, small, comment, but I know how words can hit. Even what can easily be dismissed as innocent rambling can deflate even the limpest of egos and the art that could have existed, can be silenced forever. Take care you critics, just because you don’t like it does not mean someone else will not.
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