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?

Songs of the Season

Christmas notes

Recently I’ve seen several posts, tweets, etc. regarding what your favorite Christmas song is. There are thousands. Songs, versions, artists, and so on. I have a friend that has well over a thousand on a playlist that she starts listening to in November and doesn’t stop until New Year’s Day.

The one song that I’ve seen repeatedly is Silent Night.

It’s a great song, one that most people associate with Christmas. It’s on almost every Christmas album, CD, playlist, school program, and church program. While it’s an old favorite, it’s not my favorite. I’ll tell you why.

Who says the night was silent? Bethlehem was teeming with people at that time. It was a crowded, noisy, dusty town. People were there for a census to be taken. Everyone that was born of the house of David (a lot of people). Also, and I believe this to be correct, it was the time of the Jewish festival of Sukkoth. Big celebration going on.

All was not calm and all was not quiet.

And, if you are a Christian and believe that Christ the Savior was born in a manger, can you imagine the cacophony of beasts in that vicinity?

So, here are my favorites.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  I’m sure some people were merry ’cause festival, remember? I think some of them were dismayed over the census because Caesar Augustus was going to tax them based on the numbers. I know it was written in the 19th century, but this stuff goes on today, has gone on in the past, and will go on ad nauseam.

Oh, Holy Night.  Just sayin’ and, it has a great range for those of us that like to exercise our vocal chords. It also tells it like it is, or was as the case may be (and according to your beliefs).

Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel. This one isn’t just a Christmas fav. It could be a Hanukah song as well. It can also be a year round carol/hymn as well. I love the melody, words, and sentiment.

I’m not bashing Silent Night. It will always be an old standard and it is a beautiful song. My opinion is just that, mine. You don’t have to agree with me or like what I have to say. These are the songs I feel are more appropriate for me.

What is your favorite(s)? Do you have a reason that you like it/them? I’d love to hear from you.

RG

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