A friend on facebook responded to a post I linked to on the value of perseverance for artists. (I may already have linked to it here somewhere recently. I can’t remember, and right now I have little inclination to go back and find the context it was being discussed in. Definitely worth a read, though. I’m not opposed to repeating myself if it seems worth doing 🙂 )
She responded to it thusly:
Thank you so much for this Carter! Every single day, I feel like giving up. For some reason, maybe I am the worlds biggest masochist, I keep doing it.
I think this is something most artists are familiar with, at least on the days when the clouds gather and we can’t seem to remember the sunshine. And so often these feelings can make us seem like we are facing the world alone. The shadows obscure the people we share this journey with. It seems like that at times. But we are not alone, and every time an artist you know (or even you yourself) expresses that tiny gloom of defeat, you have the power to help get those clouds moving in the opposite direction. In a network of community and friendship we can say the right words. Its important we do. We don’t have to sit back and ride out the storms in isolation. We can make a difference. Sometimes, at least.
Here’s what I said to her:
Hey Nicole, I hate to think that you are struggling to manifest your art, or that the world seems to punish you for it. Its true, the world doesn’t always get it. But we shouldn’t let the world’s approval be the permission we need for this improbable foray into our imaginations. Its hard to shake that feeling, though, especially when our income so often depends (at least partly) on a connection to the outside world.
My only advice is to keep believing in yourself, and in the integrity of your vision. The haters will always hate. Don’t let that discourage you. Keep at it, keep exploring, and if things go well you will teach more and more people to see the world through your eyes. That’s the best that artists can do. In order to change the world to where the things we value are actually valued by other people we need to educate them that these things are also possible. We need to help them see these things with a curious eye.
When that fails, the fault isn’t always with us. We need to remember that. Don’t give up! Don’t even imagine yourself a masochist. What you are is the champion of a particular kind of beauty. You are the hero of a story that merely has some ups and downs. Remember that it is a story about YOU. Its not a story about the things that go wrong. We can’t control the world. What we can do is present ourselves to it with the honesty of our spirit and the integrity of our vision.
You, Nicole, are an important part of the struggle to find beauty in the world. Keep at it! You may not always recognize it, but there are so many of us that are cheering you on. Know that at least this portion of the world is there to support you. You are not alone and what you are doing does have value to many people already. Don’t give up!