I had many people warn be about being a musician. It seems that even my first cello lessons came with this clause, “don’t do what I am doing for a living, you will regret it”. And so I continued with warning after warning following this deep conviction that cello has to be a major part of my life. And that, my friends is how an artist is created. By ignoring all the conventions and warnings of society and doing what our creative self desires, that is an artist. Built into this is the unspoken dictate that “To thine own self be true” no matter what, is part of our job.
Perhaps the artists role in society is to stay connected to that soul, that so many other in their acceptance of what society deems important, and rewards them for, have forgotten or buried. And then the real rub is we are here carrying these forgotten gems, carrying them for the enrichment of the culture and sometimes without any real gratitude or financial reward.
Then people turn around and think the artists is some kind of selfish, idealistic creature for wanting to “do what they love” for a living.
As if we had any choice. As if this urge to create were any less powerful than the urge to procreate or survive.
And so this tender gift of creation, music, art, song, dance, poetry that flows out from some deep place is not only some enviable talent that gives us artists a life”doing what we love” but also an infant screaming to be fed, bathed, held, loved and nurtured. And without the support a new mother hopefully usually receives. It isn’t as if we flow around in silken robes painting in some half trance state while the world throws us money. Well, most of us, that is. The hard work of the business end of art is relentless. After 10,000 minimum that it takes to master an instrument, it takes 10,000 hours more to even begin to create a career.
If only I could throw a baby shower. Invite all my friends and family and get gifts. People could hand down their used music, like baby clothes, pass on advice about the first few years.
I look at my female friends who have had children. I envy how easy they gather support. And when the baby comes, everyone oooohs and ahhhhs and everyone wants to hold him/her.
What if these woman has to fund raise to pay for their hospital bills. What if they had to first convince everyone that yes, having a baby is a good thing, a valuable thing. What if they had to work at helping people understand their baby, why they felt they needed to have it, why they felt the urge to bring this being into existence?
If I am a young mother with my music, than I am a ghetto mother. Fighting for the very survival of what I cherish, against all odds, and without the over all support of a culture. How can I change this? How can I gather support around me? How can I not be at odds with a culture that places such a low value on my baby? And how can I not be bitter when all I have know is hard work with little reward? How can I stay open and connected to beauty, when the challenges of my profession require such strength, courage and hardness?
It is no wonder that the drop out rate is so high in my profession. And the rate even higher for those who have survived but have lost their soul in the process, become nasty, mean and competitive pimps and whores, territorial and bitter. And then that is the legacy we pass on to the next generation.
I vow to do everything in my power to stay centered in my passion and love as I move forward. I am grateful for the support I have been given and hope that more will come.
Please forgive me if I am angry, bitter and hopeless at times.
And when my CD child is born, I hope everyone will celebrate with me.