Some friends had a couple of extra tickets and invited us to a concert Friday night. It was a lot of fun. The performers were entertaining, the music loud, and the crowd fascinating to watch. All in all, a great date night!
During one of the set changes, I started thinking about concerts I’d been to in the past. I’ve enjoyed them all, but my favorite concert experience of all time didn’t require an expensive ticket and didn’t take place in a huge venue.
Year ago, I started attending a yearly artists’ retreat at a place called Laity Lodge in a little town in Texas. It is attended by all kinds of creative folk: visual artists, singers, musicians, writers of poetry, prose, and song, dancers, actors, designers…forgive me if I missed anyone…suffice it to say, there was a whole bunch of creatively awesome people. Before I started hanging out with this tribe of creative artist, I didn’t have a artistic community to be in. Even in college, I didn’t hang with the artists. I didn’t feel like I belonged. I’ve since learned so much from them.
One of the things I’ve learned deals with my concept of art and success. I’m talking about my idea of what makes an artist successful. I’d also supposed that an artist became a success when he became known in the world – a visual artist doing gallery shows, an actor on Broadway or on the big screen, a musician or singer on the radio, a writer who is published and on the best-seller list. I’m sort of embarrassed and ashamed that I even thought that way. I have a lot of learning to do it seems.
But back to the concert I was talking about. The best concert I ever experienced was one late night around the fireplace at Laity Lodge. I was walking through the patio area on my way from the studio to my room. Around the fireplace was a gathering of people and there was a whole lot of music going on: guitars, an accordion, singers (including an opera performer), songwriters, and I don’t know what else! It was a spontaneous celebration. Some of the participants are well-known in their field of endeavor. Some are downright “famous”. Some used to play in the big leagues and have since stepped out of the spotlight by choice.
We all had one thing in common. We create. It has nothing to do with the expectation of fame or financial gain (although I don’t know that we would turn down some cash if it were offered). Some are famous. Some are making money. Some are well-known and respected in their field. Most of us will never be known outside of our respective “tribes”. We all have one thing in common. We create.
We want to create. We have to create. It’s not even really a choice sometimes. It’s what makes our lives real. It has nothing to do with an audience or acknowledgement. It just is. It makes us who we are and blesses our community – large or small.
So, here’s to all of the creative people in the world…those I know and those I’ll never meet. Those whose endeavors I’ll enjoy and those I’ll miss out on. What you do – what we do matters.