Today in the magazine rack in the bathroom I found the May 2, 2010 Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times. It was the issue that touts all the films that will be coming out that summer. It lists every major and many minor films being released by the various studios.
As I looked at it and read over all the releases, I began to count up the number of films that actually made some noise; films I had either heard about or seen. I had missed most of them, and I see a lot of movies between TV, Netflix and the theatres.
Realizing how very many films came out and how many of them just weren’t noticed, my thoughts turned to the the 25 CD’s that I’ve released in my time and how they had fallen by the wayside, their release and merit, mostly unnoticed by the general population.
Yes, I have been blessed to always get stellar reviews for my work, but I’ve never achieved that main stream recognition that signals a strata shift in one’s career. I have simply continued, one way or another, to release another CD of my music with the belief that I had something to offer and that my hard work and my talent would be rewarded.
When this didn’t happen to my liking, I must admit, I was a little whiny; a little “why don’t people notice what I’m doing here? It’s deserving of notice and boffo sales, why aren’t I getting the acclaim I deserve?” Yes, I have had those thoughts and though I am embarrassed to admit it, I still have them.
But looking at this list of movies that I didn’t see or even hear about made me realize onceagain what it is to be an artist. I am not alone, doing my best work and not receiving what I think the work is worth. All these people are experiencing that. The cosmos isn’t ignoring us, or punishing us. The cosmos just doesn’t care.
All these screenwriters, directors, producers and actors went into this project trying (ideally) to do their best. They all worked hard, they did the work and they learned their crafts, and they created this work of art that was their film…and nobody noticed.
Their films came and went and on the heels of those films came a multitude more of films, tv shows, documentaries, etc.
And I was reminded once again that as an artist, you do this because you can, you have the gifts and you must because you have the gifts. And it is the doing, the creating, the mastering of your instrument that is your true reward, the money is just extra gravy and if you do good work, the money will show up. Maybe not as much as you had hoped, but it shows up.
As for fame, just look at the tabloids in the check out line at the supermarket. That’s fame. Kim Kardashian is famous and so what. What has she done? What is she contributing to the culture that has any uplifting impact? Any longevity? She’s famous and so what.
You master your instrument, you do the work, you stay focused on getting better; on fine tuning your craft for your whole life. You will find that you are successful and rewarded and glad you did the work.
Now go practice.