Artists are talking about this all the time but just like every other conversation they are trying to have with mainstream society at large, it’s viewed as irrelevent.
Creative types, we suspect, are supposed to struggle. Artists themselves often romanticize their fraught early years: Patti Smith’s memoir “Just Kids” and the various versions of the busker’s tale “Once” show how powerful this can be. But these stories often stop before the reality that follows artistic inspiration begins: Smith was ultimately able to commit her life to music because of a network of clubs, music labels and publishers. And however romantic life on the edge seems when viewed from a distance, “Once’s” Guy can’t keep busking forever.
Wondering if any “non-creatives” read this story in Salon.com and cared, I read the comments. Quite the trip – everyone’s got their own little pet peeves. I’m honestly a little surprised by the number of people comparing our culture’s glorification of destruction (the military machine) vs. its shunning of creatiion & nurturing (art and motherhood).
“Why should you be able to surving making theater?” I was asked this weekend. “Why shouldn’t you have to have a day job?”
I get it. Everyone is broke. And no one wants to pay for art. Especially in Scranton. So I and my colleagues are struggling to prove that given a little money we could possibly reach our potential as artists — really make something the whole city could be proud of and enriched and stimulated by. The art we are making now is a shadow of what we might someday do. I love the challenge of making something out of nothing. But working all day and all night is hard and, even harder than doing it, is finding other people who are willing to do it with you. With few exceptions, theatre is not a solo art.
We are constantly forced to cut and limit and sacrifice ingredients that limits the full impact of what we know we can achieve.
Writing and making theater is what I do better than anything else, IMHO. Why wouldn’t I want to be allowed to spend my life doing what I am good at instead of something that I’m certainly capable of but … it’s nothing special?
It’s a daily heartbreak. But we endure the pain and the feelings of futility, helplessness, neglect and disregard because we can’t not make. Creating is living. When it stops, there is no longer any reason for me, at least, to be here.