Creative Threat: The Seven Deadly Sins, or "Showing My Backside"
One of the greatest threats to creative production is self-doubt, and it is my suspicion (Lord, protect me from the deadly sin of pride and vanity) that one of all artists’ greatest challenges is thought. Thinking too much about it instead of doing it. When we let the questioning overstep the doing, we have lost sight of the ball. Every day, we can’t help but ask questions, of course, and these questions are what lead us beyond vanity to aspire to our personal best. Is it good enough? Is it done enough? Is it smart enough? Is it funny enough? Is it new enough? Will the critics like it? Ask away, but then file away the question marks and bring out the periods and exclamation points. And the hard returns. We shall. We shall!
We do. Period.
A blog is a place we explore unfinished thoughts; a book is where we finish them, yes? I have so many half-filled jars of writing ideas on the shelf today that I don’t know which one to pull down to show you. I am mostly certainly warming up toward that book or books (thanks for joining me in the pre-game stretching, and Jonathan, you might hear from me) but until then, there are observations asking to be written and shared. Because these thoughts are hard, and long, I admit that I tend to avoid the more complicated topics. Continually one of my biggest concerns is being accused of Pride (just who do you think you are, young lady?) and Vanity (just why do you think they care?) and also, a tiny dollop of Sloth (am I really interested in putting in the work to get these thoughts out in a way that matters? And God, that seems hard to make that experience as beautiful in words as it was in real life) and, also, possibly most importantly, the other deadly sins of Anger and Gluttony: THERE IS NO HALF AND HALF FOR MY COFFEE THIS MORNING. Lust, Greed, Envy: Well: Obviously.
This blog, really, is life inside the artist’s production factory. It’s the “How It’s Made” of music, and teaching, and writing. It’s the tear-filled, anger-fed backstage reality show—what happens behind the sequins, feathers, and sparkles. It’s what my friend Lorna calls the Lithuanian “Gazinta” – what “goes-in-to” that pretty stuff you see on the outside. It’s what happens when you turn the fabric inside out: neat seams or loose threads? Is that cool pattern actually knitted into the fabric or is it just printed on? Is it a carefully blocked, persnickety hem stitch or is it just basting?
I have no idea. But here we are. Hi. Allow me to show you my backside.