Artistry and Ego

In my opinion, artists (this encompasses all the arts), walk hand-in-hand with Self-doubt, Self-critic and Ego. They’re numbers one, two, and three on your friends list and they NEVER go away.

Artists, in truth, are solitary creatures. The writer/poet who spends much of their time with a computer or notebook. The artist that works hours Writing_girlon end with brush, hands, camera, etc. The dancer who works alone incessantly in the studio. The actor who studies and memorizes their lines behind closed doors.  The composer/musician with just an instrument and paper. The designer that works solo at drafting table, cutting table, the darkened theatre, a computer. Some may have a team, or troupe, or ensemble, or critique group, but the bottom line is, those of us who strive to express ourselves through artistry, are ultimately alone with our craft.

With the exception of our three friends.

actorThere is always that niggling Self-doubt. What if I’m not good enough? What if they don’t like my story/poem, song, painting, design, performance, etc? What if I never realize my dream?

Or, the nasty Self-critic. It tells  you you’re not good enough. It tells you your story/poem, song painting, design, performance, etc. sucks! It tells you you’ll never realize your dream.

Then there’s Ego, and it can go many ways. Ego can be your detriment:dancer

I’m good enough, there’s no way they won’t like my (fill in the blank). This (fill in the blank) is awesome! It’ll become the next greatest (fill in the blank).

Pride goeth before the fall. You get bad reviews, or your work doesn’t sell, your performance was flat, or others in your craft are disparaging and you get sucked down into a black pit of despair at which time Self-doubt and Self-critic become your BFFs.

Or, Ego can be your savior:

designSomeone liked my (fill in the blank)! If I reach, touch, inspire, entertain someone, even one person with my (fill in the blank), it’s all worth it. I think this (fill in the blank) is awesome, I hope others will too.

Not setting yourself up for the fall, you get mixed reviews, or your work doesn’t sell as well as expected, but does sell, your performance mediocre, but acceptable, or others in your craft are disparaging, but not harsh, and you don’t let it get you down even though Self-doubt and Self-critic are still on your friends list.

Or, Ego let’s you get silly or obnoxious:composer

I’m on top of the world! Take that nay sayers, I did it! Yippee!! My (fill in the blank) is awesome! My (fill in the blank) rocked! OMG, I hope this lasts. What (fill in the blank) do I do next? Can I top that? Can I at least maintain my artistry?

Feeling good and still on your feet. You get rave reviews, your work sells, you get standing ovations, you’re written up in articles, etc., others in your craft are encouraging/supportive/disparaging depending on their own egos, and YES, Self-doubt and Self-critic are still your friends.

artBecause, they are ALWAYS there for the artist.

For me, I’ve gone through all of it. Most of the time privately, because that’s the way I am. However, I can only go so long before it boils over or oozes out. I have a voice that smacks my friend Ego every time it gets out of hand, but that’s another topic. I’m not sure it’s a good or bad thing, because that same voice doesn’t throw down with Self-doubt and Self-critic and maybe it should. I’ve been sharing company with the two of them a little too much lately.

How about you? Do you have ways of reigning in these things or do you let them run rampant? Are these miscreants on your friends list?

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

St Pat's

May your day be filled with love and laughter

and may all your dreams come true

 may it be what you’re runnin’ after

is the best thing ever for you.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona ~ Happy St. Patrick’s Day ~ RG

17 The Paddy Settriskele.2

Ireland’s Shore

Happy St. Patrick's Day!Before I ever visited Ireland, I wrote a poem about it. This was many years before I sat foot on Ireland’s Shore.  The irony of this poem is that it came to me in a dream, and the ending is very much how I felt when I left Ireland twenty years later. My children drew my back to America, but Ireland calls to me still.

 

Is féidir teacht ar do aisling fíor. – May your dreams come true. – RG

Ireland’s Shore

 

Warm fire upon the ocean

Cool stars up in the sky

Arms reach out to enfold her

Draw her near to Ireland’s shore.

 

Strong oak all but forgotten

Ghosts on the barren, rock strewn land

Call her name, but just a whisper

Draw her near to Ireland’s shore.

 

Soft mist entwines the cliffs

The harp sounds low and sweet

Whispers echoed by pipe and flute

Draw her near to Ireland’s shore.

 

Pulsing tempo of the music

Her heart quickens to the beat

Sings to her a song of yearning

Draw her near to Ireland’s shore.

Bards and poets call to her

Their voices plead incessantly

Stir the longings of her soul

Ever nearer to Ireland’s shore.

 

Firm earth beneath her feet

This moment long awaited

Standing on ancestral ground

Finally reaching Ireland’s shore.

 

She feels the ages light a flame

The passion flows, in her ancestral blood

Tales of ancient days

Hold her fast to Ireland’s shore.

 

Bright the dawn, sad the morn

Tears course and tear her soul

She bids farewell with one last glance

So disappears Ireland’s shore.

© Ireland’s Shore – copywrite – RG Calkins 1978

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