Thursday, December 23, 2010

'The Culture of Support'

After re-reading my post and reading your comments, my brain is dangerously activated. I'm finding that in my current situation, I'm having to really think hard to figure out and discern my direction, as it does seem that I am getting a bit overwhelmed. I think Anonymous sparked several issues that are relevant, but failed to examine the whole picture, but we often do that, its human nature. I am overwhelmed with the protective nature of those who really do know me, and am touched by your support. I am also amazed at your ability to reason and articulate how each one of you are effected by what is an important dialogue. We all clamor to be understood, but it takes lots of work to really understand someone else, further, it takes lots of work to lay a foundation to be understood. So much of my point yesterday is that we are becoming increasingly polarized in the fragmentation of language and meaning as it pertains to our lives and actions. I work hard at my writing, because there are so many tools that I can use to create a forum for understanding, and for me, its important for my survival. I write to stay alive and keep myself from a self-destruction that I have no control over, unless I can honestly write and think about it. It has its own language as well. Man has and always will have a dark side, and there are some who seem to have it in large quantities. If I can write about it, if I can look at it and see it in words, I can find a place where I don't have to act on it.

The trajectory, the history, the experience of a human being's life is not simple. We are a society that places so much emphesis on winning and being successful, it can become the context in how we understand or interact with someone else. The last three years have been a really important part for me in learning that, because I've noticed such an ebb and tide in my interactions with people depending on what my latest score or condition is. If I'm on a hot streak, I hear the voices becoming louder, if I'm maintaining, the voices are less apparent, if I'm down right down and out, the voices become either authentically supportive or critical, or they disappear. Honestly, however, I've noticed that I've somehow been able to garner a group of people in my life that would support me in any condition. That is an amazing accomplishment, that tells me how real the people in my life really are, and that is where the grace in my life lives, in that support. I also find it invigorating that most of you are also individuals who are not relegated to one specific language, or if you are, you are open to ideas and thoughts that maintain your independent integrity. I am grateful for such a broad culture of people that have an interest in being supportive of me. Thank you.

I also found it fascinating yesterday that my cousin, Cheryl, was writing about the same topic that I was, and we were doing it without any knowledge of each other's thoughts. If you find her blog, 'Directions 4 Retirement', you will find an eerily similar essay. While I'm on the subject of Cheryl, let me just say that she is a person who is uncommon in her understanding of people. I've known her my whole life, we know each other's history, and maintained a relationship through all of it. Unbeknownst to her, she is one of those rare humans whose understanding goes beyond human capacity. Without her unyielding support of me, I may not have been able to sit here writing. 'Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in the right circumstance.' Proverbs. If ever there was a person who has a gift for saying or doing the right thing at the right time it is her. She seems to have found that perfect balance between service/support, while at the same time knowing how to fill up her own cup for our benefit. I have a deeper understanding of grace because of her. I'm amazed at your influence in my life, Cheryl, its uncommon, unconditional, and so very deep. Your writing on the subject yesterday was so full of affirmation and wisdom. Thank you.

As for criticism. I remember so many days when I would wake up and find that the criticism of my work had found its way into the newspaper. I've written about this before, so I won't go into detail, but it is devastating, and its personal, whether you would like it to be or not. Its one thing to find criticism in a comment in a blog, its quite another to find it in a major newspaper. There are lines and words that haunt you, eat at your self- esteem, and seek to destroy you. I'm not kidding. If you have made a choice to be an artist, and your work is being presented before the public, you are fair game. If you built houses, imagine how it may feel after you finished a house, and put it on display to sell it, and the 'house experts' decided to write an article in the newspaper about how awful your house turned out. Who would buy the house now? What would people think of your house building skills? No matter how skilled, how well built, how long it took, in the art world, the house experts will take your house down, and they don't care about the expense to you. They don't care that this is a house for people who have no place to live. They want the house that they want to live in. So, 'Forget yourself and go to work' resonates with me this morning, Anonymous. I've build lots of houses. I even built a house that I thought would work to live in. The house experts even liked the house. They said so. But the overages just killed me. I'm hoping that I can live in that house again, but I'll have to find a way to pay for it, and I'm looking, and that does take work.

In the meantime, I work the way many artists do, I start contributing to a community where I can be of service, I look for a studio the way a painter would, I start putting the materials together, formulating a plan. There are times when it looks pretty strange to me, as it must look to others, but I am like a cobbler, whose made and repaired shoes his entire life. As the need for cobblers diminishes, and as the cobbler ages, it’s a scary place, because that is what the cobbler knows. "Why don't you become a computer programmer?" Sidartha says to the cobbler. "Because I am a cobbler," he replies. "There's money in computer programming!" Sidartha says. "Okay, can you tell me how I can become this computer programmer? Can you give me a job and teach me?" the cobbler says. "Go to school," Sidartha says. "How do I do that? (pause) "No, the cobbler finally says, I love to repair shoes." This is a fairly silly analogy, but it works. Its fairly easy for people to observe most occupations and understand how they work, and to understand the experience and skill it takes to manifest a living. It's much harder to understand the artist or writer and that occupation, especially when its not manifesting a very good living. 'Forget yourself and go to work.' Any craftsman, professional, technician, or 'computer programmer' knows that if he forgets himself he will not be very good at his work. It's just hard for some people to understand that writing is also work. For that, you have to place a value on reading and culture…

Thanks again for your wonderful support and comments, they make me feel like what I do—does have value.


Gerry said...

It is no wonder you and Cheryl have such rapport as you are related in 4 different ways. (this could only happen in a little town in Utah) As you are related in 4 different ways to your other partner cousin Camille. This was hard on the rest of the cousins not related 4 different ways. It was not that they didn't get along, they just didn't get along as well as the cousins related 4 different ways.
Now I got that explained I knew you would be impressed by the variety and the writing ability of people who came to your support. I see it all the time, people out of your past recalling the good time they had expressing themselves in your ken (either in the theater company or in theater classes in HS) The very fact that you are so intensely involved in creating your own works has given you the impetus to inspire others to do the same by providing them opportunities too. I am so happy with the idea of a playwrights workshop once again and to realize that is what I have been missing in my creative life since you left. Am looking forward to reading 15 min of my play BLUE Sunday at Chuck's! said...

I am back to working on my monument book...if I get this thing done it will be a monument for me. I definitely tried to 'hurry up and finish' toward the end and need to go back and put in several items of interest as well as events that are done in the year. I kept thinking "that isn't monument" now I'm thinking it is. What does this have to do with you, Raymond? Nothing..except those supporting cousins of yours, already mentioned, are keeping me plugging along. Camille asks questions and helps me see what I've really said instead of what I think I've said, and Cheryl puts it in her manuscript pages and encourages me into work. What more can I ask?
Thank you...for letting me blog on your blog. It's very entertaining.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the message. Great Christmas gift of words.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to hear you are doing Playwrights Workshop again. I wish you the best of success on your new adventures. A. Linda