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I just finished reading “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It’s an inspiring little book. The last page was a good final call to action:
Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.
Do it or don’t do it.
It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.
You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.
Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.
In 1993 or ’94 in Minneapolis, I performed in a play called “Untold Decades” written by Robert Patrick. It was the first time I played a gay character and also during the time of my life when I was “coming out” to family and friends. Robert Patrick was one of the pioneers of openly gay play-wrighting, and at the time, his play felt monumental. Today, at the CMG Film Festival, my short film screened. Afterwards, the Q&A was moderated by Robert Patrick. I admit I felt giddy, being asked questions about my creative project, by the man who’s writings shaped me during a very influential and evolutionary period of my life. I had the feeling of something coming full circle, or perhaps, just a return to the feeling of something meaningful and intentional. Maybe, the feeling of being on the correct path.
I am feeling terrified of the future. This is a common thread of my life. So much so, that I often find comfort in the terror. At least if I embrace the fear, then I can usually be certain that I will at least be right about the outcome. “Ah-ha! See, I knew I would fail. ” Ah… pay off. I’m right. “See, I told you I would fail. I told you I’m not good enough. I told you I couldn’t do it.” Ugh. Exhausting.
After all of those conversations in my head, I am still not giving up. Thank you for the encouragement I received from my husband last night and from the filmmaker I met at the BBQ today. Here are the lessons I have learned this weekend. Well, actually reminded of… these are things that I know, but must be told repeatly: 1) Be clear on my vision. Know exactly what I am striving for and why. Even if I am unclear on the ‘how’. 2) Ask for help. I will be surprised. There are people who want to help, support, and contribute. 3) Do not give up. Even if things fail, then I will move on to what is next. I will learn from my mistakes and try again. If it is important to me, then I will keep working towards my vision, my goals.
What’s next: “The New 30”. ONWARD!